This week on my Parents in Business series I’m delighted to introduce Zoe who has not one business but two: Ohana Comms and Aloha & Coffee. Ohana Comms was set-up when Zoe was made redundant, and Aloha & Coffee is where her passion truly lies and it is currently her side hustle.
I am completely in awe about how Zoe manages two businesses, 4 kids and 2 dogs. She’s definitely a superstar, and to find out how she does it read on…..
Tell me a little bit about you, your background, Ohana Comms and Aloha & Coffee?
I’m Zoe, mom of 4 kids, aged 4-14, and wife currently living in Sutton Coldfield, UK.
I left school at 18 and fell into a job to pay the rent and 16 years later found I was still there, having worked my way up the corporate ladder. It was all I knew, it was my safety net and it was easier to stay than look outside the bubble to the ‘what if’. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t fulfilled, I lived for the weekend and the evenings.
Being made redundant in 2013 gave me the kick to consider other things. While on honeymoon in Hawaii me husband and I decided we wanted to make a difference in the world and vowed to follow our dreams and set up something for ourselves, and our family for the future. The idea of Ohana Comms was born (the name meaning family in Hawaiian).
Ohana Comms is a creative comms partner for luxury travel, hospitality and lifestyle brands who want to tell their story. We help brands come to life. We cover traditional PR, branding, communications, consulting and sales and marketing as well as influencer campaigns and connections. No brand is too big or too small, everyone has a story, some are just waiting to be told
The other arm to my business is Aloha & Coffee, my heart, my love. I’d always had an interest in health and fitness but always believed it wasn’t a viable career path. During my maternity leave I was fortunate to be in a position to complete my level 3 personal training certificate and a diploma in sports and exercise nutrition. It opened my eyes up to a new world. My path eventually lead me to yoga as a tool for managing anxiety and stress and I then did my 200hr yoga teacher training which lead me to where I am today. I teach yoga classes, private one to ones, corporate yoga and international retreats I have been fortunate enough to partner with some amazing brands and I continue to promote the message that health and wellbeing is for everyone. Although this is my ‘side hustle’ at the moment, I have big plans to expand this area of my business- watch this space!
How do you balance the business around family and childcare?
I get asked this question almost daily! 4 kids, 2 dogs, 2 businesses. My husband also manages 2 football teams. How do you do it? Is the most asked question I get and my answer until last year was I just do! To some degree that’s still the case and if I stop and think about it too hard it may consume me.
We are very structured in our morning and school time routine and have always brought our kids up to be this way. Mornings could be quite chaotic getting 4 children all to different places but they are actually quite chilled out.
I start the day before everyone else and take a little time to stretch, breathe, maybe do a little yoga and write in my journal. I strongly believe starting the day this way sets everything up for the day ahead. I’m not stressed, anxious or het up and that filters down to my children.
Working with clients all over the world means we are reactive pretty much 24/7. The recent natural disasters in Indonesia meant my husband had to work on Christmas Day, producing press releases and communicating with our clients and the public to ensure that the right message was communicated but that’s a small price to pay to run your own business.
It can mean unsocial hours, it can mean holidays often get interrupted but it also means we can be there for school plays, for football matches and for milestone moments in our children lives.
Sometimes I start the day at 6am, catching up with emails and setting my to do list for the day, then do the school run, come home and deal with the tasks for the day and this allows me to log off for a few hours when the kids get home then I can log back in during the evening when they go to bed. Running Ohana Comms with my husband and working with a team around the world means we are always responsive, always active and always open for business.
Since setting up the business what’s been your biggest success to date?
Being in business 3 years on is our biggest success. We started this business with a dream to change the industry and we’re still going strong and growing year on year.
We haven’t just told the stories of the brands, hotels and clients that we work with but we’ve had direct impact on their businesses and their growth aswell. From winning awards in their fields to featuring in top worldwide publications, we’ve been there every step of the way with them.
What are your top tips for parents who are thinking about setting up their own business?
Go for it! It doesn’t have to be all or nothing and it doesn’t have to happen overnight but you have to make a commitment and you have to go for it! I wasted years and years thinking what if and I was too scared to dream but I finally met someone (my husband), who gave me a little push and opened my eyes to the world and the rest, as they say is history.
Remember your why. It’ll get you through those hard times. It’s not easy, it’s not pretty, and it’s hard work with long long hours but it’s worth it. If your business is based on your passion you have your motivation and driving force right there. Ohana Comms was setup to make a difference and that drives us every day when we see the difference we’re making.
The same with Aloha and Coffee. Every person I reach be that in person at my classes, via my social media or via my blog, who comes back to me and says thank you, you’ve changed my life, is my driving force, my why.
Thank you so much Zoe for letting me feature you and your businesses on my blog – you really are an inspiration to others.
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: Hesford Media, LioBites and Wholey Moly.