Balancing a career with motherhood is tough. Some women say they manage the emotional guilt by separating their professional persona from their role as a mother. Others, namely the new breed of “Mumpreneurs”, have solved the dilemma by setting up businesses at home.
“My business allows me to work at home and be a mum,” says Anna Burke, who founded online jewellery boutique Apache Rose last year.
“I always wanted to start my own business, so I completed all the preparation work when I was pregnant because I had more time to spare. It was all set up before I had my son.”
The 32-year-old, who has a background in events management, is running the business single-handedly.
“The best thing about having a website is that it turns over on its own. I set up a system that I can manage in my own time and I just employ a freelance accountant for finances.”
Natalie Cramer, a former accountant at leading financial firm Deloitte, says she is much happier having left the corporate industry to have her first child. She established Natalie’s Creative Cakes five years ago.
“Once my daughter was born I stopped working. Then came my second daughter and son — so a full-time career went out of the window,” she says. “I couldn’t imagine not being with my children.”
Having received compliments on her homemade children’s birthday cakes, she decided to pursue a career as a novelty baker.
“I’m not very good at doing nothing,” admits Cramer, who runs the website and vegetarian service from her home in Mill Hill.
“Now I always get to be around my kids while working from home.
“I absolutely hated what I was doing before, it just wasn’t for me. Now I’m doing something that I’m passionate about. Who could ask for more?”
Chantelle Teacher, a mother of two boys aged six and four, runs the Chantelle’s Closet clothing boutique from her home in Mill Hill.
“I would never be able to afford retail space now — so this is like a pop-up shop,” says the 36-year-old.
But even with savings on retail space, she says business “can be hard because people don’t always want to buy from your home. They might feel pressure or maybe they want to go to a shop and feel special. The toughest part is no one seems to have spare money for boutique items anymore.”
Borehamwood-based Lisa Rosenblatt, 35, a former account manager at a fashion distributor, founded online handbag business Lisa Bea after taking maternity leave.
“I didn’t go back to work because my office was in the City,” she says. “I wanted to be closer to my son so I could pick him up from nursery. I’m now out and about on my own time.”
But South African Yael Novice, 38, has shunned the online model with her jewellery range sold at schools, shuls and leisure-centre fairs.
“My kids don’t leave school until 3.30 pm — I needed to do something,” says the former personal assistant who worked in the City. “I don’t have the time to launch a website. I’m looking after my kids and don’t want to be consumed by work.”