The Mum Club Featuring Mama Knows
As we know breastfeeding is no mean feat. It takes persistence, a lot of determination, some seriously sore, cracked nips and an unwelcoming haul of leakage. Not to mention as our kids get older the hair pulling, necklace breaking and face touching. Oh and lets not even start with teething!!! So when we are introduced to a women who has created a brand that helps us mum's out on both these tedious topics we cannot wait to find out more on how she began her journey and how she juggles her everyday life.
My name is Lisa Kelsall and my brand is Mama Knows. We make and sell stylish jewellery for Mamas that are completely safe for grabby little hands and teething babas to have a chew on. Just because you have a baby in tow shouldn't mean the end to wearing necklaces - nobody would ever know that the necklaces are for teething babies rather than being just a stylish accessory! I started thinking about setting up the businesswhen Will was just a few months old and he was starting to scratch my chest to death when he was feeding.
I live in Timperley with my husband, 3 year old daughter, 7 month old son and our two bengal cats. I've lived in and around the Hale, Altrincham, Timperley area for 16 years now after starting my first legal job at an Altrincham firm.
I am most at home on a white sandy beach listening to the waves with a cocktail in hand! Although since having kids I haven't been to that kind of 'home' for a long time! Now, I'm most at home snuggled up on the sofa with my eldest watching a Disney film (probably Frozen for the 1000th time!) whilst the baby naps.
I am a brand owner, designer, web designer, maker, packer, poster, account manager, sales, admin, social media manager and everything in between! I am also a solicitor by profession and have been qualified for 12 years. On top of everything else I am a Mum which is the most important of all of my jobs although it is the one job that I still feel a complete novice at. I am sure the term "winging it" was made especially for me!
Things that keep me awake at night...at the moment it is definitely Will, my 7 month old. He had just started sleeping through but is now teething terribly. When Will isn't keeping me awake, I am my own worst enemy for staying up late as I always feel that it's a choice between staying up for a couple of hours after the kids have gone to bed to have some 'me' time or going to bed to catch up on the massive debt of sleep deprivation!
When I grew up I wanted to be a lawyer. I watched too many episodes of Ally McBeal and had visions of dancing in the bars every night!
My first steps taken to start my brand were research, research and more research. I spent a lot of time looking at competitors products and websites, noting down what I liked about each, what I didn't like and how my products and branding could be different. I then spent many hours researching domains, web hosting sites, payment gateways, website designs and ecommerce selling platforms. I had never done anything like it before and had absolutely no experience, most of it was done during the all night feeding sessions when Will was a couple of months old!
The hardest part of motherhood is trying to juggle everyone and everything! I sometimes feel that I am spinning so many plates that a few are bound smash. I found the transition to two children really difficult. Everyone says the second child is so much easier as you know what you are doing which is true but nobody tells you about the guilt that you feel for your first in that they are no longer going to be able to have all of your attention all of the time and that they now have to share you with a small, screaming, forever feeding little being!
This keeps me sane...my husband who just gets me completely. We've been together for 16 years and married for 7 years. He knows me inside out and is supportive in every way. He definitely proved he was a keeper the other day when he was in the house and I texted him to say that I was stuck in the car on the drive with the baby sleeping and he brought me out a white wine!
Aside from my husband and kids I couldn't live without my phone. My business relies very heavily on social media so it's important that I'm online. I have my internet shop connected with my phone so I can be alerted when orders come in and when stock is running low and all emails are sent to my phone so I spend an awful lot of time on it which drives my husband mad!
My biggest risk was handing my notice in after my first maternity leave without having a job to go to. I was all set to return to work, nursery place booked, but as the time to return got closer my employers started going back on the hours we had agreed and started being more and more difficult to the point where it felt like it was impossible to return. I didn't have another job to go to, had never not worked and had never been reliant on anyone else for money. It turned out to be the best thing I ever did as I then got job at a firm just five minutes from where I live doing flexible hours and much less stress.
My biggest accomplishment (aside from my kids) is setting up my own business (mainly during night feeds) whilst being on maternity leave and having a toddler and a baby to look after. I was so nervous as the website went live but then the feeling of accomplishment when that first order came in was amazing! I think I screamed and then danced around the living room like a loon!
My best piece of advice is to really do your research into everything such as the best ecommerce platforms that are going to work for you, supply costs, packaging, competitors...everything. Become social media savvy if you aren't already as it will be an invaluable part of your business. If you do your research proper the less expensive surprises you'll find along the way.
I wouldn't have do e anything differently in my first labour as I didn't actually go into labour! Amy was a planned c-section and it was very calm and chilled. I was due for a planned section with Will but he had other ideas and my waters broke 3 weeks early. I went into hospital and the plan was that I would have a section first thing the next morning as I wasn't showing any signs of labour but by midnight I was making horrendous animal sounds with contractions coming every minute! They had examined as couple of hours ago and I was only 1 cm so they took me in for a section in the middle of the night. By the time I got into theatre Will was down in the birth canal and he had to be pushed back up and pulled out and had gone into distress. I wish I had have asked them to examine me before going into theatre because if I had have known he was nearly there I would have pushed him out and and avoided the section rather than thinking I was only 1cm dilated. I feel a bit robbed that I had all the pain of labour without the glory.