This week for my Mums in Business series I’m delighted to be interviewing Ellie who created Wild Tribe Heroes and has written three books. These books are very topical at the moment as we as a nation and world are trying to reduce our single use plastic consumption preventing our oceans getting clogged up with the nasty stuff. The first book is about Duffy’s escape from eating plastic, the second is about a puffin who gets tangled up in balloons, and the third is about a whale who finds himself in trouble with fishing nets.
Ellie has written these three books whilst looking after four children who are involved in the business; helping out with beach cleans and coming up with new ideas. With plastic being very much in the forefront of everyone’s minds these books are a brilliant way to educate your child. Ellie has created an amazing resource for parents so much so that she has had a personal letter from Prince Charles. For more inspiration, and to find out about the books and Wild Tribe Hereos, read on…
Tell me a little bit about you, your background and Wild Tribe Heroes?
My name is Ellie Jackson and I am an environmental children’s author and mum of 4 children. I have a strong love of nature instilled by my parents from an early age and I love to see my own children following my passion. My family and I have recently moved to Cornwall from Australia where we lived for the past 8 years. Whilst spending a year on a tropical island my children and I witnessed the most wonderful turtle called Duffy being released back into the ocean. It was extremely moving to see this beautiful animal racing towards her home after spending a year in the Turtle Hospital. My 5 year old daughter was asking lots of questions about why Duffy hhad needed rescuing and so we went to the Turtle Hospital to find out the answers. As soon as she was told Duffy had eaten too much plastic she wanted to clean up the beaches as every piece of rubbish she collected she felt like she was saving a turtle’s life. She became the inspiration for me writing my first book Duffy’s Lucky Escape based on the true story of the turtle we had seen being released.
The book took two years to develop and I was lucky enough to find an illustrator in my mother’s group. What I found particularly interesting about this was that I had known this mum for the last 9 months since our son’s were born and yet I had no idea what she did before becoming a mother. All our previous conversations had revolved around babies and I find that very telling that as soon as you are a mum, your previous life almost becomes lost in the immediate minutia of day to day life with young children. It was so exciting to find such a passionate and talented artist in our small group of 8 mums – what were the chances of an author and illustrator being unexpectedly thrown together like that! We took that as a very positive sign and worked very hard juggling children and babies to bring the book to life.
The book have been published for just over a year and in that time I have written two further books, together with educational teaching resources. I was incredibly proud to receive personal letters of congratulations from Sir David Attenborough and Prince Charles – they both arrived on the same day and I distinctly remember dancing round the room with my children – I am not sure if they understood the significance of the letters but they enjoyed it all the same! The first book follows the story of Duffy who eats too much plastic, the second book is about Marli the puffin who gets tangled in balloons from a balloon release and my latest book focuses on a whale who finds himself in trouble with fishing nets. To order signed and dedicated copies of the books please visit www.wildtribeheroes.com.
I am now on a mission to get the books into every primary school in the country to inspire all primary children to unite together to make a difference in tackling the problem of ocean plastic and I am working on Crowdfunding projects for each region of the UK. I have so far reached almost 500,000 children in schools through my books into schools project. This project works on local business sponsorship or Crowdfunding to provide all schools in a town or city the books at the same time. The children are then inspired to organise their own litter picks or beach cleans, to work towards becoming Plastic Free Schools or Eco-Schools and most importantly you have thousands of children writing letters all at the same time to local businesses asking them to stop their use of single use plastic such as straws. This is working so far in Cardiff, Aberdeenshire, Nottinghamshire and Pembrokeshire and the effects of this combined approach have been very powerful to see. Witnessing the impact the children are having in changing the adult’s attitudes I hope to be in a position to fund the books to schools overseas in countries such as Indonesia, India and Kenya very shortly.
How do you balance the business around family and childcare?
The daily routine of life with 4 young children has definitely been a struggle to fit in around the business, especially as my husband and I both work from home. The challenges of having an office space on the landing of an open plan house has been difficult and resulted in not much work getting done during the day – I think at one point we were putting our children to bed at 6pm so we could have 5 or 6 hours quiet work each in the evening. The downside to this being of course that the children would want to get up at 5! I would definitely say it has been a team approach by our whole family – my children are involved in lots of aspects of the books – from sounding ideas out, to helping do beach cleans and litter picks, coming up with new resources and they also physically help run the business by helping move boxes of books around the house, packaging up and posting books out and are always willing models for social media posts.
What’s your top tip for Mums who are thinking about setting up their own business?
I feel I have been incredibly lucky throughout this past year with the amazing people I have connected with on this journey. I am not only an author but I am a passionate campaigner for the environment and work on many projects in my local area. Through the books I am also able to reach out to many other individuals and organisations around the world to offer advice and support on achieving success on environmental issues in their communities. It is these connections which have helped shape my Books into Schools project and allowed me to reach so many children in such a short space of time. My absolute best advice for anyone considering setting up their own business is to reach out to others in a genuine manner and start the conversations. Be open to ideas and when you have the chance to engage with other passionate people to take the opportunity with both hands because it can be so incredibly inspiring – to them and you.
Thank you so much Ellie for letting me interview you and feature you and your business on my blog. You can find out more about Wild Tribe Heroes on the website, and the social channels: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Mums in Business series just drop me an email: email@example.com. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: Little Beau Sheep, The Individualist, and Debbiedooodah