What women want

Mother’s Day is a special day for all mums around the world. We talk to three women who seized the opportunity to run their own business while being a mum at the same time.

Sarré Guille, Her Hands

You left your corporate career to start your own business. Can you tell us more?

Her Hands has been born from my dream to create a ‘global village’―one where mums can buy beautiful products for their little ones that support another mum from a vulnerable population to provide for her children.

I had the idea for the business a few years ago while on maternity leave. I spent my 20-year corporate career growing businesses and I really wanted to use those skills to grow a business that levels the playing field, even if just a little.

But I didn’t actually launch it until early 2021―initially Covid forced me to pack the idea away (who in their right mind would leave a stable income and start a business during a pandemic?!). Ultimately it was the lockdown, and the forced focus on ‘the things that matter’, that was the push that I needed to make it happen.

How do you balance work and family with (small) kids at home?

To be honest, I am probably less ‘balanced’ than I ever was when I was working in corporate, in terms of the long hours I work at nights.

But I feel so passionate about, and committed to, what I am doing that it really energises me―rather than drains me, as it perhaps did in the past.

My husband is also an incredible support both in terms of supporting me through the constant challenges and wobbles that come with a new business, and in his support at home.

Can you share some tips for other mums who want to start their own business?

I think it’s to get really clear on why you are looking to start and what will that mean for you in terms of time and financial investment.

Is it really a creative outlet you are looking for, rather than a business? In which case, would you enjoy it more if you build it as a side project?

For me, I want to provide ongoing and sustainable employment to our female artisans, which they have commented is so important to enabling them to provide schooling, healthcare, etc for their children. In order to have that impact it needs to be a business, so I needed to get really clear at the outset on what that means financially and in time spent away from my daughter.

What makes mums successful in business?

While there is still a long way to go, I think we’re coming into a really exciting new era where women generally are recognising the importance of bringing their whole selves to business.

We have realised that we don’t have to fit in to the previous way of doing things, and that bringing―and embracing―our feminine to the table is critical for the change we are all working towards for our world.  

And that’s really powerful.

What’s your ideal Mother’s Day and what’s the best advice your own mum gave you?

My little girl is only four, so it’s definitely a hand drawn card and morning cuddles in bed.

My mum always said, when in doubt, put on a big smile. It’s true, a smile shifts you into the right space to tackle even the biggest problems.

Avi Pullen, Pullen & Co

What was the inspiration behind the launch of your business and how do you balance work and family?

My inspiration is ultimately my family and our new home. Before starting the business, I had a full-time corporate job, but since having our second child during the pandemic, I realised the value of spending time at home, watch my kids grow and take good care of our home is what makes me happy. With this in mind, the business idea came around. We launched in June of 2021.

Good and consistent time management is important for us and a well-established routine. I work whenever the kids are resting or sleeping during the day and do work at nights as well.

What are your top tips for other mums who are looking to start a business?

Take risk and believe in yourself. When I became a mum, I never imagined I can do things beyond my imagination. This made me braver and more confident that I applied on creating the business that I love.

I think mums can do anything. Our nature is to flourish, to love and to take care of people closest to us. What we do and what we are in our household reflects what we do in business. It’s all about loving what you do and never stop.

What does the ideal Mother’s Day look like for you?

I’m very lucky to have a wonderful husband to spoil me every Mother’s Day. I love going out as a family, visit local businesses, enjoy a good coffee and good food.

Best advice you’ve been given?

My beautiful mother-in-law, who’s been on my side since becoming a mum, inspired me to always be kind to myself. Motherhood is not a walk in the park, there are plenty of difficult days, but we always get through it.

Tori Brelsford, Warren hill

Tell us more about your business and what inspired its launch?

We officially launched just after Christmas in 2018. When Flynn and Jaxton were younger there weren’t many neutral baby accessories on the market. Everything was quite noisy and bright. We couldn’t find anything that went with our style and that we knew could transition through baby, toddler and young infants.

A lot of baby items were also designed to be part of a nursery with typical cartoons and colours, but we wanted pieces that we were proud to have in our living room too… Our play mats were born from a genuine need for high quality, neutral play mats as they just weren’t available to buy.

We’ve recently launched our family floor cushions which again came from wanting something like a play mat to lay on with our kids, but with extra padding… so we got a couple of 1m floor cushions made up for our living room and we loved them. We try to have blinkers on to what other businesses are doing and as we are our own target market, produce products that we would like in our home.

How do you balance work and family with (small) kids at home?

Hmm this is a struggle. I don’t think we do have the balance worked out to be honest. We have three kids, two-year-old Lily, four-year-old Jaxton and six-year-old Flynn. Paul is partner in this business and he helps out a lot. The phase in the children’s lives right now is very busy and I’m a mum first and foremost. I have a couple of days free when they are at kindy and school, so I try to get as much done as possible and then bits in between packing during their lunch times or rest times.

We always try to be as responsive as possible to our customers but sometimes real life things are just more important―we do start quite a few emails with ‘so sorry for the late reply’ and we just hope that our customers understand we’re not a large team and sometimes your email may not be answered straight away because I have to go grab my four year old son who has just climbed the back gate and is standing on it like karate kid.

Why do you think so many mums are successful in business?

I think having a baby disrupts the routine of normal day to day life and maybe it’s in those times that you pay more attention to opportunities that arise, that and if we can survive pregnancy, giving birth, and raising a little human, business is easy, right?

What does the ideal Mother’s Day look like for you?

Ideal Mother’s Day would be very simple, a coffee and morning down the beach with the kiddies and Paul. That’s where we are all happiest.

Best advice your mother gave you?

I think to be kind is definitely something she has taught me. She also has always showed us her emotions when she’s happy, sad, etc. And that all emotions are ok. We’ve cried happy together and sad tears together and we both are very connected in that way. She is my best friend.