Mum Preneurs

Reporter: Andrea Burns

Carina says “I think I'm a better mother for running a business and I think I'm a better businessperson for being a mother” They've been tagged mum preneurs... women with kids who've also given birth to businesses that are making a motza.

Kristy says “I have all the power I make all the decisions; I decide ultimately how big I want the business to grow” Her husband and her daughter are just two of Sandra Boyle's 120 employees. “I like to think people think wow she's very successful and she's done it all herself”

In five years, the Perth mum has turned a business she started in her spare room, into a nationwide operation with a fifteen million dollar turnover. “Predominantly in this business it's all run by males but our shopper, for wild cards and gifts is a female shopper so I thought I can put myself in their shoes and chose product and choose the design of a store they would be happy to shop in” Named in BRW's top fifty female Australian entrepreneurs, Sandra says the multi skilling that comes with being a mum was good training. “I think the grounding that you have, no sleep and short nights and trying to juggle children and making sure the house is clean and there's food in the fridge, juggling all that is just an extension of the business cos you do exactly the same”

Carina says “that first year we sold 2000 wraps, the following year we sold 35 000 wraps so it just snowballed” Snug as a Bug baby wraps were created as a diversion by Corinna Herbert to help her battle post natal depression. “I wanted to be at home with my kids but needed something other than breastfeeding and nappies to talk about” Corinna started with polar fleece wraps for babies. Just three years later, she was named Telstra Young Business woman of the year. “I won it alongside other business women who had huge corporations or worked for huge corporations and it was like I felt like the little battler, little aussie Mum that had done something and I think it was good 9:23 It just shows that ordinary Mums can do extraordinary things“ The company now supplies over five hundred stores in seven countries. Sleeping bags, booties and a few clothes have been added to the range, but it's the wraps that are the company's core business.

With a new Superman movie set to blast off later this year, Corinna has cracked the massive Canadian and American markets, signing a deal to produce Superbaby wraps in sunsmart fabric. Corinna's employees are other mums from her children's' school. Work fits in with all of their kids' sports days, and school assemblies. “If their kids are sick they have the ability to either change their hours around or bring their kids into work. We have facilities here so their kids can watch TV or have a sleep and things like that. It was important to me to build flexibility in so that they're happy”

Lisa says “some people just want a quick fix and they know where to get it, they know where to get the goods, they call me and I come through for em” Lisa Robertson's been coming through for sushi lovers for a few years now. California Rolls were just the start for this California girl now calling Perth home. As the company name, Sushi for Youshi suggests, you name it, Lisa will make it, in sushi. “We also have westernised a little bit by adding things like crumbed calamari and sweet chilli, satay chicken and satay prawn, smoked salmon with cream cheese, avocado and caviar” A mother of three, and caring full time for two others, Lisa says the business was born out of a mid-mum crisis. “It's where you get to the point where you've been a mum for so long that you think that's all you can do and that's all you can do. if you've got an idea and you've got a good heart and you're honest and you deal with people on a real level, they'll help you”, husband Paul and daughter Ally regularly help out. So Paul does this mean you get sushi for dinner every night? If I like, it's always available what's the best bit of Lisa doing this business? Both of us get to work and share responsibility of the children

Lisa says “you know, people are constantly telling me it's the best they've ever had and eventually I had to start to believe that and I thought well, that's all right cos I did that” What do you say to other mums out there? Go for it, don't take yourself too seriously, but if you have a good idea and a good heart, you'll win every time.

Fairly new in business, Kristy Bekkers knows she's not the only mum who thinks her children are brilliant artists. Where most homes have junior art blue tacked to the fridge, Kristy's business is making them into permanent canvas masterpieces. “I had in my head one day I'd love to do some children's drawings myself and market those. As my kids got older and they started drawing themself, I thought well why not let the kids be the artists have their own art in their rooms, so I just played around with some ideas and that's how it all came about” With a husband working in IT, Kristy had the computer equipment. Six months on, the new business is already in the black. And as her kids grow, so can her company. “My ultimate goal is that I'll open up a gallery and sell these in a gallery and it will be my full time, everyday job”

Four women... four booming businesses. And they all claim they're not wonder women - just mums who wondered if a simple idea would catch on - and had a go.

Corinna says “it's so satisfying cos it's one of my children, it's my baby, and it was an idea that came out of having kids, so it's as much a part of my kids as it is a part of me”

Contact Details

1.Corinna Herbert

Snug As a Bug Baby Wraps

Freecall 1800 113 117

www.snugasabug.info

Or sales@snugasabug.info

2. Sandra Boyle

Wild Cards and Gifts

www.wildretailgroup.com.au

3. Lisa Robertson

Sushi for Youshi - Rockingham

Ph – 0414 862 931

4. Kristy Bekkers

Little Prints

www.littleprints.com.au

Prices - from $77 (small)

Or email – info@littleprints.com.au