An Interview With

Steph Douglas


Don’t Buy Her Flowers

I’ve been following Steph on Instagram for a while now, because I think she is an inspirational Women in business and I love her honest and relatable posts about Motherhood.

Steph is a mother of three based in Richmond. She launched her business ‘Don’t Buy Her Flowers’ in November 2014. DBHF is a thoughtful gift company selling gift packages for anyone needing TLC, including birthdays, get well or bereavement, or just when someone needs cheering up, as well as corporate gifts. The thing that sets them apart is that all their packages are about encouraging the recipient to take some time for themselves, whether that’s with a hot drink and epic biscuits or curling up with cashmere socks and a good book.

So i’m thrilled to feature her today on Mama Tribe. Read her interview below…


Don't Buy Her Flowers


Hi Steph,

Tell us about your career journey that led you start up your own business

I went straight from University to working in regional Government communications, then moved on to national campaigns like stop smoking and education. I then went to EDF Energy to run the London 2012 sponsorship campaign. I loved pulling teams together and integrating all the different elements of a campaign – from digital to media campaigns to PR to internal comms. I went back part time after each of my first two maternity leaves, but after the second one it felt different and I just didn’t have the same drive for that role, and I was struggling with how we were going to juggle the pick ups and drops offs. At the same time I couldn’t shake the idea for Don’t Buy Her Flowers – it just seemed so obvious. So it was a perfect storm and I had to do it.

What sparked the idea for your business?

We started originally as gifts for new mums as the idea came after our first baby, when I was inundated with well-meant bouquets. I was on the sofa feeling weepy and leaky and it struck me as bonkers that the go-to gift for new mums is another thing to care for. It turns out there are many occasions when people could do with some TLC and people want to let someone know they are loved. Starting a business felt like a massive leap – I had a good job and salary and no idea about business – so I started a blog first, writing honestly about motherhood and relationships. It really took off and that gave me the confidence that if people related to the blog, there was something in the idea of new mums finding it tough and needing TLC. I quit my job and launched six months later.

Interview with Steph Douglas

What challenges have you faced as a startup and how did you overcome them?

I think the biggest ones in those first couple of years were mental ones – not knowing what success looked like, never feeling done, feeling like there was so much to do and never getting on top of it and just doubting myself a lot. I had to learn that you are never ‘done’ if you run a business, and you need to pause and recognise the wins as otherwise you burn out. The challenges now are different, and more about the responsibility of having a team and people that rely on me to keep this business growing, knowing when to invest in new people or ideas; I’m learning constantly, and have been for five years.

How do you manage the Mumboss juggle?

Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t! There’s no easy answer. My worry is that women are just doing more – we have all these opportunities that our mother’s and grandmother’s didn’t have, but we haven’t quite worked out the balance at home as in most cases, women still do the majority. Which means we’re all exhausted and a bit resentful. It’s changing and it will change, but we’re not there yet. So I think we have to go easy on ourselves – noone is going to look after you as well as you can look after yourself. We’re just often a bit shit at it.

Interview with Steph Douglas

Finding ‘me’ time as a Mum is hard, how do you make time for yourself?

I think I’m getting better at it as I get older because I worry less about pleasing everyone. I know who I like, which friends I really care about and who I want to focus time on. And I also know when overwhelm is setting in and what I need to do – which is to pull up the drawbridge and hole up with just my little family with no plans and no visitors and get a nap in. We just had a week of it at Christmas, going for walks, watching Star Wars, eating all the food and early nights. It was epic. I got given a spa voucher at Christmas and I’ve just booked a spa day on my own. I am so excited about it – I’ve never done this before but I think I’m going to love it.

Whats your favourite business tool / resource / app?

Do business podcasts count? If so How I Built This with Guy Raz and Conversations of Inspiration with Holly Tucker. I love listening to people talk about their business stories. You realise how long and how much work they take – the overnight success stories are actually few and far between.

What advice would you give to anyone setting up or growing their business?

Don’t try to do everything you did before and run a business on top. I think women do this a lot – running a business is a massive commitment, especially getting it started. So take some stuff out – beans on toast is fine, your social life can take a hit, if you have a partner they can share the load. But you can’t just carry on, adding in.

Interview with Steph Douglas

Mama Tribe is all about community over competition. Are there any great businesses you want to share with the Tribe, or Women in business you think we should be following?

@Homemilk – it’s an interiors accounts run by my friend Emma. She noses around real people’s homes and is also excellent at interiors without being nobby about it. @fleuremery is an excellent story teller, especially around start ups and championing women.

Thanks so much Steph, it was so great to hear a bit about your business and motherhood journey. Danni x

Follow Steph and check out her business …

WEBSITE : Don’t Buy Her Flowers 

INSTAGRAM : @dontbuyherflowers        

INSTAGRAM : @steph_dontbuyherflowers 



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