Tell us about your business and the services you offer?
After having my children I knew I wanted to start my own business, to have a product but I wasn’t sure what that product was. When my daughter turned three, I starting filling out the record book I kept for her and thought she should really be having an input as she had so much to say. I asked her a series of questions and jotted down the answers then searched for a book I wanted to buy. When I couldn’t find one, I knew this would be my product and this would be my business. I found a great designer who brought the book to life and The Book of You was launched.
Inclusivity is paramount to me and I didn’t want there to be assumptions on how a child’s family was made up so I made sure that the book could be for every child without any gaps. Two years later, I launched The Baby Book of You which is a contemporary version of the classic book but with inclusivity at the very core again. I also didn’t want the book to cause any triggers or doubts so it’s been thoughtfully designed only asking ‘Firsts for this month’ plus there’s room for the element of humour asking ‘My greatest achievements this month’ as well as ‘Your greatest achievements…’. Choosing the colours was one of the hardest decisions but the six bright rainbow colours have been very popular and they all sell well. Customers tell me deciding on which colour to have is the biggest issue for them!
How did you come up with the idea and what motivated you to go for it?
The idea was born from a want of the product and the motivation for me to go for it was being able to be there for my children and be able to run the business around them and their needs.
What is your best selling product?
The Book of You is still the best seller. The baby book has only been on the market for a month but it’s making up over 30% of sales so I have high hopes for it!
What do you love about running your own business and what do you find hard?
I love the flexibility of managing my own time. I love being able to drop my children off and be the one there to pick them up. I love getting the feedback on the books and knowing how much they mean to people.
It really hit me last year on Christmas morning after a whirlwind couple of months sending out hundreds of orders and I was stopped in my tracks with a lump in my throat knowing that all those orders were being given as gifts with so much love and all those children who will have their childhoods captured and one day be able to look back on how they became who they are. The hardest part of running my own business is the feeling that there’s always more that I could be doing. I’ve had to be strict with myself and be present when I’m at home and only be immersed in work when I have my time to work. Not easy when you genuinely care so much.
What kind of BossMum are you and how do you manage the juggle?
Luckily I’m quite naturally an organised person but it does feel like I’m winging it most of the time. After the year we’ve had, I haven’t had the time to spend on the business having the children at home for so long and they’re only little so need all my attention. September has been my horizon for such a long time and it feels good to be here, be able to work and also to be looking forward to the half term. I spent the first day they were both in school/nursery in a daze, not quite knowing where to start but a few weeks in and I finally feel like I’m coming up to the surface.
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
A big lesson I learnt that surprised me was how much the business affected my mood. If there was a day where I had few or no orders, I felt really quite glum and this taught me that actually my business makes me really happy and it’s so worth working hard on to make me feel good.
Do you have a favourite app or work tool you think everyone should know about?
Click and Drop from Royal Mail pretty much changed my landscape. It’s so brilliant and I would recommend it to anyone with parcels to send.
How do you define success?
Success to me is having products that people want to buy, want to give, and want to use.
What is a normal day in your life like?
A normal day for me starts early with the hope I can sneak in an hour of work before the children wake up. The reality is usually that I make a coffee, sneak in to my office and fire up my laptop just before I hear ‘Mummy…”. I get the children ready and we ride our bikes to school, I have a power ride back and get settled in to work whilst breaking to do washing and other bits round the house and I do a post office run three times a week.
I leave again at 3pm to collect them and we usually head to the park for a while before heading home. My husband tries to make it home for 6pm so we can eat together and he’ll bath them while I sneak in some more work. One of us will read to them but they always want a long mummy cuddle before going to sleep. My office is next to their bedroom so they like me to be in here whilst they fall asleep. I usually pack my orders then as they can hear me moving around and then when they’re all done, we usually settle down to relax and enjoy the evening.
What has been a particular highlight for you since starting your business?
A massive highlight for me was when a friend got gifted one of my books as a Christening present for her little one! It really made me believe my product was out there and gave me such a sense of pride.
What’s next for your business?
The next milestone for me would be moving to a fulfilment centre. It’s a massive leap and not one I think I can take until well in to next year but it’ll free up so much of my time to work on the business instead of packing orders. It’ll come with mixed emotions though, I currently love packing each book to send on its way.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice I’ve ever been given is to trust my instincts. Lots of people told me my books wouldn’t succeed because we’re in a digital world but I just knew there were lots of us out there who still like to write things down. I don’t think you can replicate pen on paper for looking back on and stirring emotions and memories. I have a recipe written by my Granny who passed away years ago and I love seeing her handwriting knowing she touched that paper. I also have my 8 year old signature on a doll’s ‘birth’ certificate and it’s so full of sass and flicks, it’s brilliant!
What advice would you give someone who was thinking about setting up their own business?
If you believe in what you’re doing then do it! Take that first step and the rest will follow.
What is your favourite Social Media platform and how has it helped in your success?
Instagram is my favourite. I’m not great on social media so it’s taken me a while to learn to love using it. It’s helped so much in being able to promote the brand and the products.
Who inspires you?
Jacinda Ardern the leader of New Zealand is a true inspiration. She’s real, she cares, and she’s affective.
What was your dream job growing up?
I never really had a dream job growing up and ended up falling in to sales which I enjoyed as it’s very social.
Tell us 3 facts about you…
- I grew up by the sea but now live in London. I
- once got my head stuck in the railings outside Buckingham Palace and the fire brigade had to be called.
- I love to travel and my favourite country is Australia.
What do you enjoy most about being a part of Mama Tribe?
I just love women supporting women and lifting each other up. Running your own company can at times feel pretty lonely so it’s wonderful to be able to connect, find support and give support.
Thanks for giving us an insight into life behind Colour Chronicles Ruth, we have loved learning more about you and your business.