I started a business with a baby: Karen Fullerton of Chloe’s Mummy

Tell us a little about your business

Chloe’s Mummy sells handmade personalised photo board books for babies and toddlers.  Customers upload their text and photos to make a family photo album for little one to enjoy, a story book of their fun little lifes and all their clever achievements or a special keepsake book for a special person e.g. a “I Love My Daddy Because…” book to be read at bedtime and given to dad on Father’s Day.  I opened for business in Nov 2009 (when Chloe was 2) and have been making my books in my spare room ever since.

What was your job before starting your business?

I have had various jobs including High School Teacher, IT Trainer and Network Manager but was a stay at home mum to 1 year old Chloe when I had my business idea.

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

I handed in my notice whilst on maternity leave as I wanted to spend as much time as possible with Chloe.  It is such a personal decision but I fully believe you have to do what feels right for you and your family and totally ignore any comments from the outside world.

What were your reasons for starting a business?

My desire to spend my days with Chloe but continue to provide the little extras in life for my family motivated me to find a way to make extra money.  Also, as any mum will tell you we are strange creatures of guilt.  Those of us that go back to work feel they should be at home and those of us that stay at home feel like they should be working.  We are all just striving to find the perfect balance for ourselves.

Did you use any childcare?

Don’t use any chidcare but my mum is sometimes called upon for an hour or two to let me make some phone calls or do some last minute orders and my husband is so supportive during evenings and weekends (he also created and maintains my website).  It was fairly easy to manage my time in the first couple of months but since Chloe has stopped her daytime naps I am having to be stricter with myself in the evenings to get the job done.

How did you get your business idea?

I was looking for a personalised board book to give as a gift when Chloe’s nephew was born but couldn’t find one anywhere.  With all the photo gift companies out there I was surprised at this gap in the market so ended up making my own books for Chloe and her friends.  When anyone asked where the books were bought the answer of course was “Chloe’s Mummy makes them” and so my business and it’s name was created!

What were your challenges and how did you overcome them?

Getting appropriate suppliers for the raw materials required to make my books, especially with no contacts in the business.  However, all that it took was a little perseverance and much time on the phone.

What training, information or advice did you need to get started? Did you get this, if so where from?

Needed info on setting up my own business which I got from HMRC and info regarding toy safety regulations and the CE Mark with which Trading Standards were very helpful.

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

Definitely go for it!  If you don’t you will constantly be wondering what if.


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