This week for my Mums in Business series I’m delighted to be interviewing Sarah who created Little Beau Sheep; a business that creates unique and cute laundry care goodies and items for you. The business is named Little Beau Sheep as all the wool used in the laundry balls is sheeps wool, and each laundry ball looks like the breed of sheep from which it came from. I would love one of these to chuck into my tumble dryer to make my clothes smell as fresh as a daisy.
Sarah has an amazing business here and I can really resonate with her reasons for setting it up; to be there for her girls and to never miss that sports day. Her one key of piece that I fully agree with is to just to do it. If you’ve got an idea, go for it and keep on refining. This sounds spot on to me and you can read my full interview with Sarah below.
Tell me a little bit about you, your background and Little Beau Sheep?
Little Beau Sheep celebrates the very best of British wool with a unique range of natural laundry and body care goodies. From fabric-softening laundry balls to skin soothing lanolin balm, everything we do brings to life the natural wonders of wool. Along the way, we’re on a mission to be kind to the environment with plastic-free packaging, as well as flying the flag for local farmers and their flock from our HQ in Ilkley in the heart of Yorkshire.
To make the laundry balls and soaps truly unique, they are crafted to look like the breed of sheep from which the wool has come from. I initially tested the water on the online marketplace Etsy and my sheep are now available on the company’s own e-commerce website and a growing range of retailers nationwide. The ever-expanding range of sheep-centred goodies are finding their way into laundries and bathrooms not only in the UK but overseas too.
Before entering the wonderful woolly world of Little Beau Sheep, I was Marketing Manager at HSBC. The role gave me a fantastic insight into how business works and getting your product to market. Swapping finance for fleeces allowed me to channel all the good stuff I’d learned into doing my own thing on my own terms.
What were your motivations for setting up Little Beau Sheep?
In a word: motherhood. With perfect timing, I was mum to two lovely little girls at the same time as being in the in the midst of a major house renovation. Long story short, we were living as a family in a compact and bijou flat whilst our house was undergoing major re-structuring. As any mum will tell you, laundry plays a large part in your life when little ones are on the go. Getting said laundry dry without a garden added to the task and I was forced into using a tumble dryer. In an effort to speed things up, I invested in off-the-shelf plastic dryer balls. Besides being unbearably noisy, they broke and just added to the world’s unwanted plastic problem. As an avid ‘felter’ I put my skills to work making a softer natural alternative using wool – and Little Beau Sheep was born : )
How do you balance the business around family and childcare?
It is definitely a balancing act! I tend to make the most of the mornings once I have dropped off my girls at school and get to the Post Office before pick up. This leaves me the afternoon as family-time and I usually catch up on a bit more work once they have gone to bed. The flexibility is priceless. The best thing is knowing I can always be there for my girls and not need to ask for time off to go to a class assembly or sports day. The flip side of course is not knowing when to switch off, especially as I work from home, you definitely need to be disciplined otherwise it can completely take over. That said, I wouldn’t swap for anything!
Since setting up the business what’s been your biggest success to date?
I was delighted to be recently announced as a Rural Business Awards finalist in the start-up category. Even to have got this far seems amazing when I look back to how things started out when I was struggling to get my children’s clothes dry. Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. I think this type of recognition is particularly rewarding when you work for yourself. I had been used to the corporate world where there are appraisals and performance reviews to celebrate achievements, so I am looking forward to this opportunity to celebrate success and I even get to buy a new dress!
What’s your top tip for Mums who are thinking about setting up their own business?
Just do it! If you have an idea for a business, give it a go. Don’t wait for perfection, just get the idea out there and test it on a limited budget to see how it works. Then refine it as you go – otherwise you may never do it and you’ll never know!
Making the leap from employee to entrepreneur is a big and sometimes scary move. So it’s important to surround yourself with a supportive network who understand what you’re going through.
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Mums 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: The Individualist, Debbiedooodah and Wonder Adventures.