This week on my Mums in Business series I’m delighted to be featuring Jane who founded Vista PR; a PR company that brings brands and families together. Jane set up the business after escaping the rat-race of living and working in London. I loved reading Jane’s very honest and inspiring story which is very apt for International Women’s Day yesterday. Jane has never been afraid to hide her children from her working life, nor been afraid to hide that she is a Mum. So if you’re looking for inspiration and how best to balance family and working life, then read on.
Tell me a little bit about you, your background and Vista PR?
I’ve worked in PR for 21 years. I have a degree in Communications studies and started as a graduate trainee at H&K Strategies in the consumer brands team. Over the years I’ve worked on big grocery brands, such as Ariel, Lenor and Bold, Napolina and Knorr, auto brands such as Vauxhall and Triumph motorcycles and retail brands including B&Q and Jet. I have also had lots of fun working with Chessington World of Adventures and the London Eye. Vista is a PR company that focuses wholly on the family market. Our clients are companies and brands who want to connect to parents. We are based in Banbury, in local communities in the heart of England. Which I think gives us an edge.
What were your drivers and motivations for setting up Vista PR?
Having children. I think that would ring true of 98% of ‘mumpreneurs’. I was pregnant, living in London and thought, I can’t bring my baby into this manic, overcrowded, polluted city. We left just before my first was born and rented in Oxford for a year. Then while pregnant with my second, we found a house that was perfect for us. I’d always wanted to run my own business and there was an outhouse that with a little TLC could be great for an office. By the time my third was born, I had started Vista and she just slotted in to my day-to-day. Feeding her while taking calls, wearing her while writing and taking her to meetings. I once presented a pitch while my client cuddled the baby! My opinion has always been, if you don’t accept that I am a mum then don’t work with me. Actually, along the way. I have found more men accepting of this attitude than women. I wore my baby to a Women in Business awards event and lunch. The reception wasn’t overly warm. I never went back.
How do you balance the business around family and childcare?
I don’t hide anything from anyone. I have three girls who are totally exposed to how hard I work. I try to be a good role model to them and I am very supportive and vocal on the benefits of mothers in the workplace. I attempt to be kind to myself, I try not to let the work take over and I have learned never to mix the two. Making lunch for two toddlers while taking a new business call is NOT a recipe for success. But also I refuse to miss a sports day, nativity play, assembly or parents evening. As I am flexible to myself I give the same flexibility to everyone who works with me. Flexible hours, working from home, whatever we need to do to help each other with this crazy juggle of working parent life. We’re all in the same boat.
Since setting up the business what’s been your biggest success to date?
We won an award for a campaign we ran for Start-rite. It was a smart strategy and provocative creative with a planned and sustained media sell-in. We worked so hard and to watch it come to fruition and watching our message spread around the world engaging parents as far as the Philippines was extraordinary. But really, there are mini successes every day that I try to take a moment to reflect on. One of those is getting my kids up, dressed, fed and to school on time. That’s an achievement.
What’s your top tip for Mums who are thinking about setting up their own business?
Be kind to yourself. Be realistic. Success doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll take some knocks, but keep smiling, brush yourself down and keep moving forward. Remember, you are strong enough and you are good enough. Know that we all doubt ourselves. I have two quotes that are framed on the wall of the office that serve as a daily reminder. The first is from Winston Churchill: ‘Success consists of going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm’. And from Abraham Lincoln, ‘Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.’ And finally, find your total escape. Mine involves loud music and a room to myself.
Thank you so much Jane and Vista PR for taking part in my series, it was lovely to interview you, and I wish you the best of luck in the future.
If you would like to be part of my Mums in Business then just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in my series: Bare Biology, Amicable, and KW Photography,