In our special Mother's Day feature we talk to five women who combine motherhood with running a successful business. This week it's Emma Lovell, founder of CoziGo.
What was the inspiration behind the launch of your business and when was it launched?
My daughter was just five months old when I decided to take her to see my mum in the UK for the first time. It was an awful flight as Aimee didn’t sleep the whole time and I remember telling my mum that I wouldn’t do that again in a hurry.
Sadly, during that visit my mum was diagnosed with a life-ending illness and I took the difficult decision to relocate and look after her. During that year, I flew from Sydney to London and back four times… each and every flight was terrible as Aimee was unable to sleep during the flight.
The airline provides you with a bassinet, but it is directly under a TV, right next to the toilet where people gather the whole flight and subject to the distraction of passers-by, overhead reading lights and cabin lights. It’s difficult to remove these distractions in order to get baby to sleep.
I searched for a product to help overcome these difficulties to no avail. It was after my mum passed away and I started to heal that I started to doodle pictures of a product that may overcome this problem―and there the journey started!
What challenges did you face trying to get your business up and running?
There have been so many―what I have come to realise though is everyone’s business is full of challenges. It doesn’t mean you’re bad at business…. It’s all about how you overcome them that counts.
My biggest hurdle came before I had sold a single product―my first bulk order arrived and was complete and utter rubbish. I lost $25k and to add insult to injury, I had to pay to have the stock destroyed. I think a lot of people would have given up that day, but I worked out where I had gone wrong in the process and put procedures in place to make sure it never happened again.
How do you balance work and family with (small) kids at home?
Running your own start-up with young children is no mean feat. There are times when you feel like you’re not doing your job properly because you’re looking after your children and then when you’re looking after your kids, you’re abandoning your business.
I always remember why I am doing this…. I work passionately, but I work to live and if you miss out on the joys of your kids whilst establishing your business, then it’s not ideal. So, striking a balance, whilst difficult is essential.
You must schedule family time in the same way as you do work time. I have had to outsource a few of my mummy duties in the same way I’ve had to outsource aspects of my business. The upside is my kids have grown up with CoziGo and even at seven and 10, are very passionate about it. Even when Aimee was just six years old, she was asked what she wanted to be when she was older. She proudly said “just like mum, I want to run CoziGo when she’s too old to do it”!
What would be your top tips for other mums who are looking to start a business?
First of all―be brave! You rarely get anywhere in life by constantly playing it safe, so you will need to take some risks but try to only make well calculated risks. Set a budget but be prepared to double it and if you set a time limit, be prepared to triple it.
Do your research and make sure others think it’s also a good idea. Find yourself a mentor, research people and ask them to help―you’ll be surprised how generous some successful people are with their time.
Why do you think so many mums are successful in business?
Women in business are tenacious and find it difficult to give up. They are good at multi-tasking and in this day and age―we back ourselves!
What does the ideal Mother’s Day look like for you?
Breakfast in a cafe, a walk along the beach with my kids, flowers and cuddles and a homemade dinner with wine. Bliss!
Best advice your mother gave you?
Believe in yourself because you can be or do anything you set your mind to and don’t forget to smile. Smiling makes other people happy.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
In business your level of effort doesn’t always reflect the reward, but keep focused and you will eventually reap the rewards. Don’t EVER look sideways―instead focus on yourself, your business, your family and your friends. Not always in that order―change up the order so everything has their day of being your top priority.
What can we expect in 2020?
This year is looking to be a year of survival―strange things are happening with bush fires, floods and the coronavirus. We are all facing unprecedented challenges that require focus and calm. So you’ll find me with my head down, focusing on business, family, friends and community.
Make sure you check out our digital Mother's Day magazine. Click here to read it now!