We started a business with kids: Elise and Gemma of Nurturing Mums

elise and gemmaTell us a little about your business

Nurturing Mums is run by two North London mums – Elise Mendelle and Gemma Frenchman.  We run postnatal courses to support new mums in the early days of their new role, to give them a warm, encouraging atmosphere where they can talk about their babies, and to provide them with information from expert guest speakers to alleviate concerns about sleep, feeding and other important issues they are facing as new mums.  Practical, sociable support is the name of the game!

What was your job before starting your business?

– Elise Mendelle was a practising chiropractor for 11 years.  She has given it up recently to look after her children full time and put more energy into Nurturing Mums to make it a success.  She also previously started up an online maternity shop and later sold the business, and is the community manager in charge of social media for a popular culture blog.

– Gemma Frenchman is a working mum of 2 young children. Gemma has blue-chip experience from Reuters and L’Oreal and went on to set up a private medical business, which she ran for seven years and was her first ‘baby.’ After having her second (real!) baby, Gemma set up a strategic business consultancy, working with growing businesses.  Gemma works with organisations about which she is passionate and Nurturing Mums fits the bill perfectly.

How did you go from your old career to your new business?

At the moment, we run Nurturing Mums on our off days and whenever we get a spare moment, when our children are at nursery / school.

What were your reasons for starting a business?

Postnatal care in the UK is lacking and we wanted to give mums a positive experience, in contrast towhat we had when we respectively had our first babies.  As new mums, we both felt like we weren’t adequately prepared for the challenges that motherhood brought and a postnatal group would have been instrumental towards alleviating some of those difficulties.

Did you use any childcare?

As our children are not babies anymore, we schedule meetings and work around school, nursery, and other work commitments.  Between the two of us, we have 5 children, and it is therefore a big juggle trying to get it all done.  A lot of work is done from our ‘mobile’ offices a.k.a. iPhones and at night over Skype once the children are (meant to be) in bed.

How did you get your business idea?

The idea was ‘born’ after Elise realised one year into the birth of her first child, that she had probably been suffering with mild postnatal depression.  A whole year later! She felt that there had to be a better way to support new mums and the idea for a sociable, informative post natal group came to her.  Gemma joined forces with Elise once the idea was getting off the ground, and they have since run 6 successful courses since November, 2012.

What were your challenges and how did you overcome them?

Challenges occur all the time but we are both very problem focussed and don’t let things pile up.  The most difficult part of Nurturing Mums is reaching new mothers as those early days can be a blur!

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

You can do it! Have a really strong support network behind you and don’t necessarily give up your day job too quickly.  Make sure you love what you are doing, are passionate about your ‘product’ and be prepared to make sacrifices along the way.  Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like a bad mother because you are pursuing a goal and working hard to achieve it – be proud of being a strong role model for your child(ren).

What are your plans for the future?

We envision Nurturing Mums courses in different venues all over the UK – our next venue is already planned for early 2014.  We hope to make them every bit as popular as antenatal classes! We have already successful run a night out, one-off craft sessions, first-aid sessions and are looking into other stimulating activities for new mums to challenge themselves.

Find out more at www.nurturingmumsuk.com

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