Inspiring work at home mums and dads are the reason this site exists and Anna-Lee Kewley’s story is a great example of someone turning their creativity into a successful business. Anna-Lee has beaten hundreds of others to win several awards, most recently a NatWest Venus Award for Dorset. Only fifteen prizes were handed out and one went to Anna and her company BabyMoo’s which offers baby clothes with personality. Anna was the worthy recipient of the Bournemouth Town New Media & Online Business Award and is a real advocate for the benefits of social media for business.
BabyMoo’s product range is humorous and stylish and gives parents a wide range of different choices to those found on the average high street. Here we’ve had the chance to get to know Anna and her business a little better.
Q: Having read your story we’d be interested to hear more about how you managed to start your business with just £230?
The £230 was gathered by selling unneeded items from around the home on eBay, This £230 was really just used to import my first few small batches of stock, I built the first website myself with a website builder, from there I taught myself the basics of SEO (search engine optimisation) and used any free marketing that was available such as social media.
Whilst pregnant with my son I had built friendships via a baby forum, fortunately these friends were supportive at the beginning to spread the word to their friends, Replenishing stock was done little & often, this helped me to see what was selling well & gradually build up the best sellers to larger stock orders.
Q: What do you find most challenging about working from home?
Honestly? Probably Facebook! It’s far too easy to just nip on to pass 30 seconds whilst waiting for the kettle to boil & suddenly the 30 seconds has turned into 30 minutes!
Other than that it can be a challenge to get people to respect that you do WORK from home & as anyone that works in an office/ shop/ factory, you are not free for them to drop in unexpected for a chat or to pop out to meet them for a coffee.
I can only advise to be persistent here & make sure you tell people that you are working & can they call round when you are not.
Q: What do your children think about your work?
They don’t! They’re only 2 & just 4, Rhys says “Mum doesn’t work” & Mia is too young to really understand what work is.
Q: How much time of your time at work is dedicated to getting your name out there? Many self-employed mums struggle with the marketing side of things so it’d be interesting to hear your thoughts.
I don’t think I can really put a time to it, it changes with the needs of the business, but it is something I do pretty much daily. Many new & micro businesses think marketing & immediately think that you have to throw money at marketing, this is not true. There are tons of ways to market yourself for free:
- Word of mouth & recommendations
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
Far too many work at home businesses are relying purely on Facebook & anyone who does so will know this is getting harder, If you are doing so what would you do if Facebook closed tomorrow? Do you have any other way of contacting your established customer base?
Another thing I see over & over again by small businesses is failing to market direct to their target market, By target market I don’t mean something as loose as women, really drill it down to your perfect customer, I could go on here in detail but I’ll leave that for another time!
Q: What was behind your decision to work from home?
I didn’t really have a choice, We couldn’t afford for me to be a SAHM & putting Rhys in childcare & going back to my full time job would mean I left work every day with only enough for the bus home! My partner works shifts too, so getting a part time or evening job that was totally flexible would prove a mighty challenge!
Q: What would you tell anybody thinking about becoming self-employed or working from home?
Do it! However make sure you plan & research everything first. I spent 4 months planning & researching all laws before the business launched & also don’t expect to be able to take a wage immediately, I didn’t take a wage for 18 months.
Q: Obligatory Silly Question: Name three things you’d take with you to the hypothetical desert island that everyone seems to get sent to in interviews.
A potato, I could then bury this & grow more potatoes & have a supply of food
A solar powered iPhone (I don’t think these exist but this is hypothetical!)