Last week we attended the first birthday celebration of Mum's The Word in Clapton, Hackney. Mum's the Word is an exciting new network for Mamas run by sisters’ Natalie and Laura based in Tunbridge Wells. Living in Kent myself, I was absolutely ecstatic to hear of a Mum's network near me, one with a huge range of events from supper clubs to business focused talks where I could meet likeminded mums.
In relation to this event they interviewed me on how I currently make it work with running the business and raising a family. As this is a topic I have talked about before and often the most asked questions by people in the industry, I thought it would be beneficial to publish here for anyone that is interested in an update, now nearly two years on after I started the business.
Mama Meets... Laura Williams, Founder of The Modern Nursery
This weeks Mama Meets is with the gorgeous Laura Williams, founder of The Modern Nursery and mama to Alba (23 months) with baby number two due later this year! In less than two years Laura has gone from working at British fashion giant Burberry, to bringing up a baby and building up a hugely successful business. Founded in late 2015, The Modern Nursery is an online social hub of all things modern and chic for your nursery and playroom, aimed at contemporary Mum’s with newborns and toddlers. In a short time, the business has gained a massive Instagram following of nearly 44K, largely due to the lifestyle focus on Laura and Alba following her journey building the business and surviving Motherhood at the same time.
What time did you wake up this morning?
6.45am, Alba gets us up when she wakes so I never set an alarm anymore!
What was your very first thought of the day?
That I love my morning cuddles with my little girl, and that I need to do my morning Instagram post!
What are your 3 essentials for getting up, out and at 'em?
Being organised the night before (I always schedule what I’m am going to talk about on social media at least the night before), eat breakfast (!) and make sure you have a clear and concise list written out in order of priority, try to stick to it and only do what is written down.
Describe a typical working morning.
Alba goes to nursery 2 days a week so if it is a nursery day then I drop her off and start work straight away in the TMN head office that we built in my garden. I will start off with emails, check in with my warehouse and then start on big projects like new product launches, guest blogging, Press, financial forecasts and social media strategy. I have an employee Clare who arrives every day at 9.30am. She takes care of customer service, makes sure the warehouse runs smoothly and does my book keeping. I could not live without her! If Alba is not at nursery then I tend to work on the go from my phone, when she naps, and then as soon as she is in bed at night.
Your perfect local lunch spot would be...
The happiest moment in your day?
When I’m with Alba and we’re doing something that she really loves, she looks up at me for 5 seconds with this look in her eyes that says “I’m having such a fun time Mummy” and gives me a really big hug. It makes all the juggling worth it.
The hardest moment in your day?
When I have to juggle, there is an urgent situation with TMN and I have no option to put the business first. This can mean cancelling play dates, and putting her infront of Paw Patrol. I hate it but no one else is going to sort it out for me and the business is my second baby after all, it is just the reality of trying to make it work. Deep down, I know that Alba is always content and if that happens, I will always try and make it up to her e.g take her on some extravagant day trip the next day – that’s mum guilt for you!
#1 tip for juggling work and family life?
Be realistic and allocate time. I have to work every day whether I have Alba with me or not, so if she is with me, I will set myself an allocated time to work, a time to do social media posts and a time to also put my phone away. When I need to work, I tell her “Mummy is working now” and try and teach her that that is just the way it is for us. She does understand and if I have my laptop out she says “Mummy working”. It makes me proud that she already has that respect for me working and understands that it is important. I hope that I’m teaching her valuable life lessons. When I hit the limit of time I have set myself, I stop, put my laptop and phone away and wait for the next window to work: lunchtime, a nap or when she is in bed. You can’t do it all, you just have to allocate time and do your best.
Most overused word of the day?
“No”. Alba is turning 2 next month and has started to test those toddler boundaries, she is very adorable but very cheeky with it!
Once the kids are in bed I...
Make dinner for my husband and I and then start work again. In the first year of running the business I worked 7 nights a week and never took a break, I was so committed to make this business a success. Now that TMN is established and I do have more help (an employee and a warehouse) I do take Friday night’s off and sometimes even Saturday night’s. It is important to me to spend alone time with my husband but he does get the raw end of the deal, I’m pretty lucky in that I married the loveliest, most understanding and supportive man on earth.
Top 3 local gems?
I love mooching around the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells, visiting independent stores such as Le Petit Jardin and Trevor Mottram – anything Interiors or Gardens and I’m sold! We often go to beautiful parks around Kent like Knole Park or Emmetts Gardens. I also love the seaside so a trip to Whitstable is always top of my list!
Best piece of advice for fellow Mum's...
If you want to set up a business and bring up children at the same time, and you have the passion and determination to make it work, you can absolutely do it. Be prepared to work all the hours you could possibly imagine, never have a real holiday again and constantly feel torn in your priorities, but you will feel more fulfilment in work and life that you will ever get working for someone else, and you really do get to spend more time with your children.
First two photographs by Katrina Campbell for Mums The Word.
Second two photos by Emily Gray Photography for The Modern Nursery.
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