You and Toby are both passionate about sustainability in the fashion industry, and ensuring that Tiny People is run as sustainably as possible – how does this play out day-to-day?
Last year we switched to the biodegradable shipping packaging, which we use for as many of our orders as we can. We try to look to brands that are also implementing these measures. Some of our labels will now ship to us in biodegradable packaging, which we like to encourage everyone to do.
We also make sure that we only ever work with brands that, their processes are as sustainable as possible, that they are ethical, and their clothes are manufactured to the highest standards, from a humanity perspective as well as what’s being produced.
What are the biggest challenges of running an ecommerce store?
There’s so many. I think the importance of marketing doesn’t really get spoken about enough, but behind the scenes, the amount of time and effort that goes into that is huge.
And being able to communicate who you are without having that tactile element, you don’t have that physical store where people can actually come and see the colours that you’re going to put on the wall, the music or the sensory things, so being able to communicate that in different ways through your social media, the colours that you put on your website, and how you display your website, becomes paramount.
How did your career aspirations change after becoming a mother?
So, to rewind,I studied commerce at uni – I did an accounting and financial planning major. I then worked for an accounting firm for four years, then worked for an oil and gas company for 10 years in the finance department as financial controller.
I’ve always been quite driven throughout my career and wanted to achieve certain things, but that changed when I had children. When I went on maternity leave with my first child, I realised that going back to that role wasn’t going to quite work, because it was a lot of hours and a lot of travel. So I started to look at opportunities for something I could do from home.
I started my own online children’s boutique, but I realised fairly soon, just after I had my second child, that in order to be successful you needed to be on a much bigger scale. And then Tiny People came up as an opportunity to acquire, and that’s how we ended up with Tiny People.
How do you wear both your ‘business owner’ and ‘mum’ hats at once? Any tips?!
I think everyone finds it difficult! I don’t think there’s any one-size-fits-all answer; I think that you just need to be flexible. And it really depends on what age and stage your kids are currently at, which is obviously constantly changing. I definitely work around my 18-month-old’s schedule, so when he’s sleeping I will get a lot more work done than when he’s awake. I prioritise making sure my children have been out and about, and done something during the day, mealtimes and things like that.
I find it’s still possible to work, I’ve got a good support network with my husband, so we are able to balance it between us, I think quite well, hopefully! I think having an outlet, which happens to also be a business, definitely makes me more balanced as a mum – I hope!