The Most FAQ
Posted on August 16 2016
Since I started Mère Soeur I’ve been asked countless times how it all came about, how it happened, what inspired me etc. These questions are usually from women just like me, newish mamas who are shit scared of leaving their babies to go back into full time employment, ladies who want to use their creativity to enable them to work from home and fit it all in around the little ones and people who have a great idea but aren’t sure if it’ll work or be worth their time or if they even want to put themselves and their ideas out there for the whole world to see.
The thing about creating something entirely your own is just that, it’s your own. It’s you, putting yourself and your work out there. It’s raw and it’s scary. A bit like motherhood really. If that isn’t enough to put you off then maybe the financial strain of it all will be. I mean, it’s not easy to smash it as a so-called Mum Boss and start building an empire when you’re on standard Statutory Maternity Pay, right?! (who the F*CK can live on a sniff over £400 a month?).
Maybe it’s the abundance of people already out there living your dream and making it look SO easy while you’re still wondering how to get a logo made or what colour envelopes to use. Perhaps it’s the endless perfectly curated Instagram accounts belonging to a multitude of flawless, creative, achingly cool humans who all seem to be undoubtedly more talented, considerably more enabled and infinitely more successful than you will ever be?
Well, basically, SHUT THAT VOICE UP. Shut it the F*CK up. Right NOW!!! I’m not joking.
You do not need a background in PR, a career in marketing or branding, a degree in design, or anything else actually. You just need to give a shit, Like, really give a shit. If you are putting out something you believe in, something that is 100% you, something that is authentic and honest then chances are you won’t go far wrong. At the very least you will have started to scratch that itch.
Before I became chief pink parcel packer at Mère Soeur I was chief bath bomb appreciator at Lush. I had no idea what a tax return was and had never yes NEVER used a spreadsheet or photoshop. I definitely had a lot to learn (still do) but all the tools you need are out there. I promise you that much.
I moved back in with my mum when River was 3 months old, hundreds of miles away from baby daddy. I knew I didn’t want to go back to work and miss a bunch of baby firsts and all day hangs with River. It just wasn’t going to happen. A powerful concoction of stubbornness and being terrified of leaving him gave me that drive to make sure I could be financially comfortable (just about scraping by) once SMP ran out.
I guess in my case having a baby young and before I was settled down really worked in my favour and gave me the freedom to go ahead and do whatever I wanted without having to worry about a mortgage and crippling bills etc. I put the first batch of totes on my credit card and hoped for the best. Luckily, they sold out pretty quickly (massive thank you to those who bought the first ever Mère Soeur totes, you made this happen!). At this point I had the funds to start making and printing my own bags, every penny from these went straight back into buying more stock and it all snowballed from there.
I didn’t borrow a penny. I don’t even know anyone who has any pennies to offer so I knew it was down to me to make sure this worked. What I’m trying to say is that if I can do it then you can too. I had no actual funds, a tiny social media following and no clue about business or what I was and was not allowed to do when “trading”. What I did have was a fiercely stubborn streak and the motivation to use every spare second to get things done and push everything along day by day. The support of other mamas on IG and their willingness to help was utterly invaluable. Never underestimate the power of a girl gang.
The hardest part isn’t finding the time to work, getting your hands on some money to start up, sourcing materials, creating online presence, making your way through weeks of weeks of receiving crappy samples and feeling a bit lost. Although, that stuff ain’t easy. It’s managing to keep that fire in your belly and turn off the part of your brain that is telling you “can’t” make that leap. You absolutely can and there is nothing that can stop you as long as you get access to the right help and advice. Maybe I’m naive but I’m a firm believer in working hard and doing whatever it takes to make it happen. Whatever ‘it” may be."