Hello and welcome back to another week of Mama You Can, a series started to started to share inspirational stories of Mama’s who have changed career direction, started their own business or negotiated a more flexible role to fit in with family life.
This week we welcome Selina who runs the business Elderflower & Delilah. I’ll hand over to Selina to tell her story…
Mama You Can: Selina from Elderflower & Delilah
Hi, I’m Selina, mum of two boisterous and strong willed little girls; Esmé aged 6 and Annie, 4 (let’s just say I haven’t raised wallflowers that’s for sure!)
Establishing Elderflower & Delilah with my twin sister Sam, came by pure accident rather than design. After enjoying 10+ years of working as an Art Therapist and Community Artist, I can’t say that my work was ever dull or that I had lost my passion for it. But when I was enjoying maternity leave with Esmé, I designed a garment to fulfill my need for easy access for my ever-hungry breastfed baby, which allowed me discretion and comfort when feeding her out and about. Little did I know that when cutting a piece of fabric out on my kitchen floor (very shoddily I might add) was the beginning of carving out a new business and career for myself.
For me, the idea of beginning this business, so different to what I had worked as before, felt overwhelmingly big and too large a project to take on alone. For me, it was a natural collaboration to work with my twin sister, who, like me, was breastfeeding her first born too at the time, and had experience in developing businesses for online platforms.
After deciding on our branding and naming our garment Feed® (does what it says on the tin!), we got to work through late night face time calls with me based in Liverpool and her all the way in Sydney Australia, fitting around midnight feeds for me and early morning rises her end. We spent months agonizing on every decision made, from fabric choice to the cut and shape of the garment. We reached a point when we realized we would need more mamas informing our choice on these decisions, so we began the arduous task of compiling a focus group of mamas feeding babies of all ages, singlet’s and multiples. This group, helped to develop the garment further, discovering it’s uses as a maternity garment, accessible breastfeeding as well as a sun/wind protection over baby carriers and buggies, creating Feed® 3in1 as it’s now known.
I took the plunge to work on this venture full time and not return to my previous work when I realized that I couldn’t give a good go of it without my full attention.
I quickly learned that building a new brand with a new product is a huge task, but one that has taught me so much and developed my skills in so many more areas. I still have days filled with self doubt and wonder what the hell I have done? But that’s quickly wiped out by the highs of positive customer feedback and the awards that we’ve received from respected groups like Mumsnet, Bizzie Babies, Project Baby and Little London and recently shortlisted for Smallish Magazine for design and innovation.
Working alone has been the biggest challenge for me, as I am a social being, with that and the lack of paintbrush in hand for my creative expression has been tough. So, more recently I have decided to draw from my creative passions and use the contacts I have within the Arts, and am launching a new Elderflower & Delilah range in February 2017 consisting of mama giftware, branded designed baby grows and an assortment of jewelry and leather goods which has allowed me to collaborate with local artists and craft makers to create a unique collection of mama items, which I am really excited to share with our social media communities.
This venture, of course would never have been possible without the internet. Allowing me to create a virtual shop window through our website, instagram and facebook. Mamas everywhere have the ability to begin online businesses at the touch of a button. Whether it’s testing the market using ebay, amazon or etsy accounts, a business can be begun as a part time lifestyle project before taking the plunge to go at it full time with very little overheads.
My advice to mamas is, GO FOR IT. There are so many great stories of mamas making it work, running businesses from home, around family life and feeling the inspiration to do it whilst on maternity leave. No better time to try it out, have your pad and pen out ready to start your planning during those daytime naps and see how quickly one idea can be realised.
You can find Elderflower and Delilah on Instagram.
Mama You Can will be back next Thursday, until then why not read some of the other stories…
- Mama You Can: Kelly Pike
- Mama You Can: Julie Clabby
- Mama You Can: Claudette Anderson
- Mama You Can: The Baby Service
- Mama You Can: Property Potential Surrey
- Mama You Can: Lylia Rose
- Mama You Can: Amy Blackwood photography
- Mama You Can: Sunita from Lucky things blog
- Mama You Can: Jess Haworth
- Mama You Can: Claire Gillespie
- Mama You Can: Sarah Pool
- Mama You Can: Jo Harris
- Mama You Can: Laura Hollinger
- Mama You Can: Bridget from Bridie by the sea
- Mama You Can: Lisa from What2buy4kids
- Mama You Can: Kathryn from Best Day Ever Party Shop
- Mama You Can: Clare Murthy
- Mama You Can: Fiona Crossman
- Mama You Can: Amanda from Bundles & Bunches
- Mama You Can: Jo Mackay
- Mama You Can: Nicci from Stuffel