Interview with mumsclub founder Jane Hopkins

June 12, 2009 at 8:02 am | Posted in Something for Mum, Work & Life | 2 Comments
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MumsClub

We all have dreams of setting up the next big business, fitting it in around our family commitments and having oodles of time to shop, lunch and lounge.

We caught up with mumsclub entrepreneur and mum Jane Hopkins about her business to get the inside on what the reality of juggling a work life commitment really is.

What is your business?

Mumsclub which is an online business networking club for entrepreneurial mums. We have new business ideas and opportunities, tons of information regarding starting and building a business from home, with specific emphasis on the work life balance and having children to deal with at the same time, which can be quite a challenge! We also have a thriving community with over 800 women. Mumsclub is all free and the support from our members is simply superb.

Why and when did you set it up?

I set it up in 2007 when my little boy was approaching 2. The idea came some months before, because of a need for myself. I needed a new business that I could do from home, I was a single mum and employment wasn’t an option for me as I’d been in business for the previous 8 years so had business experience (although not as a mum!). I felt I needed to talk to other women who were running business around children so I went online to find them but I couldn’t find any business networking forum that catered for women like me, so I retrained as a web designer and set my own up. Other women soon found the forum and in no time at all I had built a community. I added relevant information that I’d found useful and simply kept on adding; both information and relevant services..

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

The one thing all members havein common is that we all want to be in the ‘glossies’, which is notoriously hard to achieve, so I put together our own glossy magazine; the business mum’s journal’.  Although this was a great initiative  it turned into a huge challenge as I had to do everything myself, I designed the layout, the majority of the adverts and sold all advertising. It was tough going as I have so little time, and often have my now fast-approaching-4 year old needing me, so I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to pull it all together in time! But I did and we currently have them in Mothercare stores across the Midlands.

What has been your most rewarding moment to date?

Winning awards are always very rewarding moments; first was the UPS Local business of the year 2008 and then the WOW (women on their way) award in February this year. To me, such an award means my work has been recognised by industry professionals which is wonderful and honouring. But the most rewarding moments are when I meet women, either in person or online, who tell me how much mumsclub has helped them start or build their business. I tend to gauge its success by visitor numbers, so for someone to take the time and want to tell me the success they havehad because of my work is the best reward I can ever receive, after all, that’s what mumsclub is all about, and is what keeps me going when I have those head in my hands ‘oh no can I really do this’ moments.

What three tips would you give to other mums wanting to start their own business?

  1. Be unique & Plan.Once you’ve identified a potential product or service that works for you, make it unique. Whether it’s finding a new use for an existing product, or marketing an established product in a new way…make it yours and give your potential customers a reason to buy from you and not from a competitor. Then, be sure that your idea is viable, the bottom line question is ‘will it sell’ so you need to research the market thoroughly before taking the plunge – ask friends, family and find online forums, where your customers might visit; if you’re starting a baby clothes business, take a look in a mummy forum – you’re likely to get honest opinions from people you don’t know!
  2. Shout about your business every single day
    When you’re starting out, no one will know you exist but there are lots of things you can do to get your name out there, even on a budget. Always keep records and start a mailing list to keep in touch with your customers, to make sure they don’t forget you! Make sure your friends and family know what you’re doing so they can talk about you to their friends, put a banner in your car window and wear a promotional t-shirt wherever you can to spread the word. Have giveaways, competitions and be consistent – keep your name out there wherever you can.
  3. Network network network!
    Online networking such as mumsclub (www.mumsclub.co.uk) is superb and can do wonders for your business, by giving you tips and ideas for improving your business as well as enabling you to meet new customers. You may find new suppliers and even become a supplier to others. But don’t forget about face to face networking, and go to as many local events as you can, as people still, generally like to deal with someone they know. Business Link (www.businesslink.gov.uk) is a great place to start as they offer both networking and training events, but also help yourself. Don’t be afraid to tell people what you do and what you can do for them – you don’t know who they might know so make yourself memorable (in a positive way!) and just imagine how many doors you could open for yourself…

For more fantastic information and advice visit www.mumsclub.co.uk

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2 Comments »

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  1. I just want to say a big thank you to Jane. I have used Mumsclub for all kinds of info and advice since I launched my business 6 months ago. It has been a lifeline!!

  2. Thanks Keira for your feedback!
    Keira is also a mumpreneur – and invented Mamascarf – it’s fantastic breast feeding scarf that allows you to nurse discreetly in public – http://www.mamascarf.co.uk/
    As seen on GMTV recently!


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