Today we're really excited to be able to launch our new Mummypreneur Minute feature for the blog, a focus on the Mums behind some of the UK's most stylish lifestyle companies spanning fashion, interiors, weddings and much more besides.
What does it take to run a business and a household, and what are the stresses and strains of such a life. We hope to uncover some fantastic stories of business, life and family in our new series and hope that you'll come away inspired and invigorated for any challenges you might currently be facing.
To kick off this latest series we caught up with Lettice Hagan, co-founder of kids t-shirt brand Catapult Clothing. With their bright pop colours and catchy one-word slogans, these t-shirts, hoodies and cool beanie hats are a really fun addition to your kids' everyday wardrobe and make really fantastic presents, particularly for boys.
Importantly, both Lettice and co-founder Federica Medina's boys (6 between them!), are fixtures at the design table, each helping to make every piece appeal to customers aged 5-12 years old, a notoriously difficult task! Our favourites are the 3/4 length 'Chill' and 'Awesome' tees and their sleep over zip up bags in green.
Here we ask Lettice about her hopes for the future of the label, how she balances the demands of work and life, and who she turns to turns to for help...
How did the idea for Catapult come about?
With 3 boys to clothe, I was always looking for original t-shirts for each of them to wear, not just so they didn't have to be the same as one another but also so they weren't dressed in the same high street brands as their friends. I felt there was a real lack of choice for boys between the ages of 5-12yrs.
How long did it take you to turn Catapult from an idea into a reality?
Miraculously we got it all up and running in 6 weeks!
Do you work with anyone else? How do you split the roles?
Yes, I have my business partner Federica who also has 3 boys. She is a graphic designer so she makes all our dreams and imaginings a reality. In general, she is in charge of the technical jobs and I am on the administrative side.
What was the big draw towards running your own business?
I have wanted to have my own business for as long as I can remember, to have that independence. It also allows me to have autonomy. I desperately wanted to call my own shots on when I could work and when I needed to be there for the boys.
What's the best part of having your own brand?
The best thing about it is seeing people enjoy it! I derive enormous pleasure from people telling me it's their favourite t-shirt or even better, that all their favourite pieces are Catapult t-shirts as then we know we are doing it right!
And the worst...
Knowing when and how to push the business and in what direction. Setting up the company was the easy part but knowing when to take risks is hard.
How do you fit your work around being a mother to Bruno, Kit (above) and Robin?
The boys have always come first as they have been really little so work usually comes at night or at odd intervals in the day. It's only now that my youngest is in nursery that I can work and make calls in the mornings.
Do you feel you've achieved a good work/life balance?
I don't really know about that - do any mothers ever not feel guilty? Working Mums feel guilty they aren't at home more and stay at home Mums feel guilty they aren't using their brains/education. I think I feel bad that although I work and I am at home, I am not necessarily always giving either my full attention.
What would your tips be for other working mums trying to strike a good balance between work and home life when running a business from home?
I don't think I have the answer yet, I do try to remove myself from the house to work fairly regularly as I can get easily distracted at home.
When you're having a bad day at work, who do you turn to for advice?
My husband Guy runs his own business too so we both have a good rant at the end of the day. Federica obviously is the ideal person as we are both in the same boat. My mother also ran her own business for many years so often has a lot of brilliant advice.
Finally... What are your hopes and dreams for Catapult over the coming years?
I think just to have a bigger market presence so that we can expand the range, and do more online/mail order business.
For more information on Catapult Clothing, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org