This week I’m excited to introduce Katrina the founder of Me & Maeve to my Parents in Business series, Me & Maeve sells high quality occasion wear for Mothers and Daughters. Katrina started the business after being made redundant, juggling it alongside looking after her daughter, and has since launched her first collection, which is a huge achievement during Covid.
Her top tips are vital for anyone thinking about starting their own business, including taking advice from others, listening to podcasts and getting a mentor to keep you on track. Have a read of Maeve’s story below….
Tell me a little bit about you, your background, and your business?
I was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up with 3 wonderful sisters and a very close family. In 2012 after getting my business degree, a friend and I decided we wanted to travel and moved to London “only for a couple of years”.
Fast forward 7 years and I was married to an Englishmen and had fallen pregnant. I was unhappy in my corporate job at the time but never really felt brave enough to leave the security of full-time work, and to go out on my own. It was when I was made redundant on maternity leave that I had the idea for matching clothes and decided to finally start my own business.
What were your motivations for setting up your business?
When Maeve was 5 months, we had a friend’s wedding in Greece and I was searching for some matching outfits for Maeve and I to wear. After a tireless search everything was either very tacky, unflattering or very poor quality. Nothing inspired me and none of the clothes made me feel comfortable wearing them and made me conscious of changes to my body post pregnancy.
I started Me & Maeve Grace to fill the gap that I found in the search for matching clothes, and to design timeless pieces of clothing for mums and babies. Clothing that made you feel so special together, but also so beautiful that they can be worn apart. Also to have some items that were breastfeeding and bump friendly so that they can be worn time and time again through various stages of our lives.
How do you balance the business around your family and childcare?
This is something that I am still learning as the business grows and Maeve gets older. Just when I thought I had everything under control had a routine that worked, the covid situation struck and pulled the rug right from under my feet.
I do use a daily planner to plan each day, and get up at 5am to tackle some work before anyone in the house is up. It means when Maeve gets up, I am not checking my phone and answering emails and can spend time with her. It also allows me to be super productive in the short periods of time I have to work, and can then still take her out and do things with her when she is awake.
A lot of the time I feel like I am fighting a losing battle as I don’t spend enough time with Maeve or on the business. I do feel a lot of guilt and that I’m not achieving as much as I could be, but I have learnt that family is more important and that I can never get back time spent with Maeve. She has to come first and I am learning to not be too hard on myself if I’m not able to spend as much time as I want on the brand.
What do you view as your biggest success since setting up your business?
I would say launching our first collection was my biggest success to date. It was supposed to launch 3 months earlier but amid in the crisis everything was disrupted. It took a lot more time to get anything done and ended up being a lot more expensive as suppliers had put up their prices. There was a great amount of energy and emotion put into the collection and already we have had such wonderful feedback from our customers.
What are your top tips for anyone who is thinking about setting up their own business?
I would say to read, listen and learn as much as you can. There are so many free resources out there that you can use to self-teach any skills that you feel you may be missing. Multi-task by listening to podcasts and audiobooks while walking the baby in the pram and during nap times.
I’ve also paid for some online courses which have been incredibly helpful and recently found a mentor that’s going to help me grow the business. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and also reach out to people that have gone through the same steps you’re going through. You’ll be surprised at how many people out there want to help and enjoy passing on advice and lessons from mistakes learnt.
Thank you so much Katrina for being part of my series. I have loved featuring you and I wish you the best of luck with Me & Maeve in the future.
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Parents in Business series just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: In Your Dog House Gifts, Munchy Play, and Organised by Charlotte.