Tell us about your business and the services you offer?
I’m a brand storyteller, copywriter and tone of voice consultant. I help brands find the right words to express their offering and create consistent and personality-loaded marketing copy. I’ve worked in advertising agencies for 14 years, on everything from brochures and TV scripts, to social media platforms and direct and digital communications. When I had my daughter in 2018, I encountered many small companies and emerging brands that inspired me. I started to think about doing what I love on a more personal level, and how I could be more effective as a small business that helps other small businesses communicate.
How did you come up with the idea and what motivated you to go for it?
A Forest Grew is actually a line from my daughter’s favourite book, ‘Where The Wild Things Are’. It marks a shift in the story. From this point on, incredible, magical things begin to happen! I think many small businesses are looking for this gear shift moment. They have the idea, the passion and the product, but when they find a succinct way to communicate this with the world, that’s when a forest begins to grow. I had this grain of a business idea in my mind when I returned to agency life after maternity leave, and when I was made redundant a few months later, I had the slightly startling nudge I needed to go for it.
What do you love about running your own business and what do you find hard?
I love being able to work with my clients on a one-to-one basis and hear first-hand what my words mean to them. I sent a website rewrite to a client recently and she replied saying, “All of a sudden it actually feels like me rather than a cookie-cutter version of someone I thought I should be”. And you just don’t get that kind of feedback in agencies. I did struggle with the business side of things at the beginning. I know my day job inside and out. But attracting customers and marketing myself as I would a client, was a whole new challenge.
What kind of BossMum are you and how do you manage the juggle?
I’m a frustrated planner. I wing-it whilst my daughter is awake and plan when she is sleeping! Nursery is starting again soon (YIPPEE) and I can’t wait to get organised and dedicate some real time to my business.
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
That I’m good at what I do. It feels crazy to say that. But every time I press send on a new piece of copy, I doubt myself. In the last few months, I’ve had so much great feedback from clients and peers that I’m starting to believe it! It seems that I’ve landed upon the perfect time to launch my own business. All of my experience and learnings have fallen into place.
Do you have a favourite app or work tool you think everyone should know about?
I’ve recently started using the website Unsplash. It’s a fantastic creative resource for beautiful, completely free photography.
How do you define success?
Success is making this work long-term. A consistent stream of work and contacts would be ideal – I want to be busy! I’ve had a few great conversations with potential clients about a continuous contract and I would love to secure a regular client.
What is a normal day in your life like?
I wake to my almost 2-year old shouting ‘Mummy! Out!’ at some unreasonable hour. After freeing her from her cot, we spend twenty minutes discussing the reason she can’t have pizza for breakfast. Once she’s happily at nursery, I work pretty much solidly throughout the day on client projects. If I’m between briefs, I spend some time writing blog posts to give small businesses help and advice with brand writing. My husband is a creative too so it’s great to have him to bounce ideas off.
I pick my daughter up from nursery early and take her to the park to negate the mum-guilt! And once she’s settled in the evening – time dependant on mood, teething, luck and if the moon is in retrograde with mercury – we’ll eat and watch whatever box set we’re into, we’ve just finished Succession.
I’m from Yorkshire and my in-laws are in Stoke so we spend a lot of time visiting family up north and working from grandparent’s houses, which is great for childcare and endless cups of tea.
What has been a particular highlight for you since starting your business?
I was very giddy about landing my first small business client – who I connected with through the wonderful MamaTribe! I still work with ad agencies occasionally, and it’s great to get involved with a variety of big projects, but what I really want to do is work directly with my clients. And securing my first job with another small brand was a real milestone for me.
What’s next for your business?
I’ve recently created my first free download! A ‘how-to’ guide to help small businesses craft their brand tone of voice, which is live on my website. Click on the Tools page on my site if you’d like to take a look. It’s quite detailed and I share my knowledge on the different ways to figure out your muse, brand archetype and manifesto.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Believe in you. Everyone else does.” This was a really special comment made by another writer when I first launched my website. It stuck with me and gave me much-needed reassurance after my redundancy.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking about setting up their own business?
See the previous answer! I think most people just need to know that someone believes in them. I am a very pragmatic person and I wouldn’t chase a dream that I hadn’t thought through. But I also believe wholeheartedly that you should enjoy your job. As the old Honda ad surmised: ‘Hate something. Change something.’
What is your favourite Social Media platform and how has it helped in your success?
I use Instagram all the time and I often speak to clients who found me on there. It’s a lovely friendly platform for connecting with like-minded people. I love seeing the ‘behind the scenes’ content of fellow business owners who share their family lives along with their work.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by other successful mamas! I love seeing people who have got the work/life balance sussed, even if it’s just for 60/70% of the time. I’ll take that.
What was your dream job growing up?
I actually wanted to be a journalist. I’ve always loved to write. There are some very dodgy first draft teen novels in my parent’s loft that I hope never see the light of day.
Tell us 3 facts about you…
- I’m a curly girl! I’ve just started using the Curly Girl Method to take care of my natural hair and my curls are out in full force!
- I’m mad about fancy dress and always make my own costumes. Previous creations include a shrimp, a tin of shark-infested-custard and a ‘teddy dress’ made from 70 cuddly toys.
- I used to work for a design communications agency owned by Noel Edmonds. He said that he would send me a birthday card but I’m still waiting.
What do you enjoy most about being a part of Mama Tribe?
The support – from Danni, who is an absolute hero, to the Tribers who go out of their way to like and share each other’s Instagram posts. It really makes a difference to know that we are all in it together. I think I’m only just scratching the surface of what Mama Tribe can offer and I’m going to be making full use of all the tools available – you’ll soon be sick of the sight of me.
Thanks for giving us an insight into life behind A Forest Grew Tamsin, we love having you as a Member of the Tribe.