Moshi's, Lego and running a super-successful business
Our Life in A Day series takes you on a a guided tour around the lives of our lovely suppliers: How they juggle family and business? What inspires them? Tips, truths, confessions and more. In our third post, we’re introducing Jennifer Cawthorn, co-founder of the highly successful natural skin-care brand Love Boo.
“Being my own boss is great, Corinna, my business partner and I launched Boo Boo/Love Boo because we couldn't find any natural, effective, UK-made products to use on our babies. We were both on maternity leave at the time from our jobs as magazine editors. We decide to launch a Mummy and Baby range that looked as gorgeous as it was to use, that was natural and made in the UK. That was five years ago, now we're stocked in John Lewis, Harrods, Selfridges and of course, brilliant independent stockists such as Natural Baby Shower."
Here's a typical day
I have my own 8-year old alarm clock in the shape of my son, Thomas, who wakes up around 6am every morning although he has strict instructions not to wake me before 7! My husband, Paul is usually leaving for work at this time and Maisy, my 7-year-old daughter is just waking up. We all shower (with Boo Boo Top to Toe wash of course!), dress and go downstairs for breakfast. The kids are big fans of a four-course breakfast, usually starting with cereal or omelette and finishing with a variation of cheese, fruit and yoghurt or anything else they can find in the fridge. I make do with a cup of tea and a glass of juice to start with but I put a bowl of frozen raspberries next to the Aga to defrost ready for when I get back from school.
Now the children are older, they're pretty up to speed with the morning routine although, there's always a bit of chivving along to be done though and I find myself standing at the foot of the stairs shouting things like brush your teeth Thomas! Find your reading book Maisy! Have you been to the toilet?' I think I'll find it hard to stop doing that, even when they're teenagers!
When we moved from London to Wakefield five years ago, my number one house-choosing rule was that we needed to live within walking distance to school! The walk wakes us all up and we'll have a chat about who's fallen out with who at school and what is the toy-of-the-moment: Moshi Monsters (Maisy), Lego (Thomas).
Fortunately the kids give me a kiss and now run happily into school, for the first two years that they were both at school either one of them seemed to be clinging on to me and crying for me not to leave. I used to look at other kids skipping happily in and wonder what I was doing wrong! My husband jokes that I'm so soft with them, why would they want to go to school! But we've all grown-out of it thankfully.
Once home, I have my raspberries with yoghurt, pecans and honey and make a second cup of tea. Then I switch on Radio 2 (it's my companion as I work alone at home!) and settle down at my desk to start going through emails, I usually get distracted by reading the gossip websites for any celebrity baby news I can pop on our Facebook site. I'm really lucky to work from home, it feels very relaxed, although it can feel lonely when there's no office banter. Fortunately, I have a lovely friend, Nicola who comes in a couple of hours a day to help out with orders etc. and I'm always on the phone to stockists and suppliers who I have a good rapport with.
Once I've dealt with emails, I'll open up our To Do list, because Corinna, my business partner and I live 200 miles apart, we rely on technology to ensure we are working well together, as well as numerous phone calls, we use Dropbox on our computers where we share all our files. Our To Do list grows by the day but without it I'd definitely stray off course. I'll spend most of the morning sorting out shop orders, speaking to stockists and web customers and generally making sure everyone's happy.
I'm always ready for lunch, working alone, I need little markers during the day as an excuse to get up and stretch my legs. Lunch is usually whatever's floating around in the fridge, a cheese and tomato sandwich, leftovers, nothing very exciting. If it's a nice day I'll eat it in the garden and 20 minutes away from my screen. Paul will usually phone from work so we'll have a ten minute chat about our day so far.
1pm to 3pm
The time flies by in the afternoon! I only have limited uninterrupted time because I leave my desk at 3pm to pick the kids up from school. Suddenly, I'm aware of the clock ticking and all the things I need to get done! I may have a blog to write, phone calls to make or label words for one of our new products so I try and keep my eyes off my emails and get my head down, emails make it easy to get distracted! At the moment, Corinna and I are working on some exciting new products, as well as getting the formulas perfect we can spend hours and hours making sure the packaging is beautiful, fortunately, we have very similar tastes so we usually agree.
3pm to 6pm
A dash out of the door to get the kids. Once home it's snack time, homework and, more often than not, either Brownies, swimming or numerous friends home for tea. While the kids are playing, I'll keep checking emails and answering calls, the problem with having a home business is that I can't just switch it on and off to fit in with my routine. If a customer calls while I'm getting fish fingers out from under the grill then I just have to sound as professional as possible. Usually, our customers, especially women, totally understand when there's a bit of multi-tasking going on in the background!
6pm to 8pm
Paul gets home from work and the kids jump all over him and he takes on the role of entertainer (which he's very good at) I'll put some dinner on (something easy like pasta or shepherds pie) and we'll sit down and talk about our day. Then it might be a family game of Scrabble, Paul may play Super Mario on the X box with Thomas while me and Maisy do some colouring-in or, if it's a nice evening, we'll sit outside with a cup of tea while, the kids will play on the trampoline or on their rollerskates and skateboards.
I'm quite strict about bedtime for the children on a school night, it's lights out at 8.30pm. Once they're tucked up, Corinna and I will have our evening phone call. Our business has always worked around our families, for the last three years we've spoken at 8.30pm once the kids have gone to bed – Corinna has a boy and a girl the same age too. We'll plan the next day's tasks, perhaps look at designs of labels on our screens together and talk about orders etc. but it's always interspersed with lots of chit chat too, we were friends for 14 years before we launched the business so we always want to know what's going on in each other's lives.
After work, Paul and I will usually flop on the sofa and watch some telly! I have a addiction to reality TV, Gypsy Weddings, The Voice, One Born Every Minute, I love it all. I always stay up later than I should but usually head off for my nightly bath with Boo Boo Splendidly Soothing Bath Soak at about 10.30pm and try and be in bed for 11pm. Paul has to be up earlier than me so he's usually pestering me to switch the light off, I have a little light on my Kindle so I usually curl up with that on- much easier than a torch under the duvet!”
Thanks so much for sharing this with us Jennifer, good luck with everything :)
Take a look at Love Boo’s all-natural range HERE (we just love the quirky retro packaging!)