I Started A Business With A Baby: Helen Gourley of Miglio Designer Jewellery

Tell us a little about your business

I am an independent consultant for Miglio Designer Jewellery in Central Scotland where I sell designer jewellery and manage a team of almost 40 women up and down the UK.  I sell the jewellery through parties, one-to-ones, events and through my website.

What was your job before starting your business?

I have been involved in a variety of industries since leaving university but my most recent position was as a banking advisor for a high street bank where I sold bank accounts, loans and credit cards to customers.

How did you go from your old career to your new business and what were your reasons for starting your own business?

When I left my banking position to have my daughter (my second child) I was sure that I wanted to return and further my career in the industry.  However, having had her I found I didn’t want to go back to the 9 to 5 grind, running around for school and nursery pick-ups, panicking and scrabbling for childcare during the holiday season and constantly rushing from home to work.  Even though the bank offered me reduced hours I just felt that I would be better off working for myself so I investigated the Direct Selling industry starting with the website of the Direct Selling Association.

As soon as I saw the jewellery in the Miglio collection I knew that it was the business for me – it had a low start-up cost and the jewellery was stunning.  Its versatility also meant that I would be able to keep customers coming back for me – to add a bracelet to a set or to buy an enhancer for a necklace they already owned.  When I first got started I had no idea it would take off the way it has and I certainly never intended to become a manager and have a team!

Did you use any childcare?

To begin with it was really easy – I didn’t need childcare as I worked mainly in the evenings when my husband was at home to look after the kids.  The flexibility is great as I could choose when I wanted to work and just book parties for those dates.  Now that I manage such a large team, it is more of a challenge but I have embraced new technology and use my trusty iPhone to keep me up-to-date with everything!  That means I can get to toddler groups, or be out and about with my daughter and still find the time to keep my customers updated via my blog, website and Facebook pages.  I have found that I need to rely a bit more on nursery but my daughter is three now and thrives in going off and playing with other children.  She’s happy and I’m happy so it works well!

What training, information or advice did you need to get started?

I didn’t need any training when I got started other than some general advice on how to run parties.  Much of it has been self taught, although I have enjoyed local enterprise training which covered everything from improving your sales on how to blog and use social networking to grow your business.  All of this has been free of charge and a fantastic help to my business.

If you could give one piece of advice to a mum of a baby or toddler starting a business, what would it be?

Do it!  I’ve met so many people who ‘umm’ and ‘aaargh’ about getting started but once they do, they wish they’d done it years ago!  If it scares you a little then it’s probably worth doing.  Push your comfort zone a wee bit and you will reap great rewards.

You can find out more about Helen and Miglio Jewellery on her website www.miglio-jewellery.co.uk

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