Interview with Lauren McLeod from Cool Mum Clothing
Lauren McLeod is a 20-something mother of son, Bowie, and founder of Cool Mum Clothing. Lauren is passionate about sharing the importance of women not losing themselves in motherhood, body positivity, choices in birth, and normalising breastfeeding. Her mission is to encourage mothers to be themselves, love themselves, and enjoy themselves while raising their babies.
1. What is your Why? What motivated you to get into business?
In my transition into motherhood, I wanted to hold onto myself as a woman and not lose myself in motherhood, becoming “just a mum”. This started with clothes. I didn’t want to sacrifice my personal style in favour of mum-life-friendly pieces during pregnancy and breastfeeding, which brought to my attention the lack of pieces available for young mums who enjoy a fun wardrobe. And so Cool Mum Clothing was born! Plus, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset (I used to play a funny game called “the business game” with my dad when I was a kid) and never enjoyed working for other people. I also knew that I wanted to stay home with my kids, rather than putting them in daycare, so I had to find a way to be able to do that and still make an income.
2. What are some of the challenges/obstacles you have had to overcome?
I think my biggest challenge has been figuring out where to invest in order to grow my business. I have wasted way too much money on advertising, which I wish I had spent on things like business development courses and events, but you live and learn!
3. What did you worry about most when you started your business?
I worried that the business would fail (or just never take off at all in the first place) and I’d become a laughing stock. I’ve always worried way too much about what other people think of me, but now I just keep doing me and remind myself that as long as I’m doing what makes me happy, that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter if some distant relative or acquaintance (or even a close friend or family member) thinks that what I’m doing is “wrong” - it’s none of their business anyway!
4. How do you find the juggle of kids and a business?
When I first started, it was pretty easy to juggle business and family because Bowie was a baby who would sleep in the pram while I worked at a cafe, or was happy to crawl around in his playpen while I packed orders, but now that he’s nearly two, it’s a lot more challenging. The only time I get to work is when he’s asleep, so I need to really be productive and organized during that time so I can get as much done as I possibly can.
5. How do you prioritise/block out work time when working from home?
Nap time = work time haha! I try to do as much work as I can while Bowie is napping in the afternoon so I can wind down after he goes to bed, but sometimes I’ll be up until midnight working. Not going to lie, I’ve used The Wiggles as babysitters so I can get some work done, too! You’ve really gotta do what you’ve gotta do sometimes - that’s the reality of mumpreneur life. Every now and then I’ll get the opportunity to escape to a cafe to work, which is absolute heaven! At the end of the day, though, Bowie comes first. If he’s teething or cranky or just needs his mummy, work can wait. That’s the beauty of being your own boss!
6. What has been a game changer for you in your business?
Without a doubt, the amazing women in business I have connected with. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, but when you connect with others who are in the same boat, whether online or in person, it really helps get you through the tough times and know you’re not alone. The unconditional support from my family and friends has been amazing, too. Even just a simple, “you’re doing a great job” from my husband or a friend gives me such a boost!
7. What do you think is the biggest barrier most ambitious mums face?
I’d say self care! Mothers have enough on their plate as it is, so when you add a business on top of that, it’s so easy to completely push ourselves to the side and go days without showering and hours without eating or peeing. We’ve heard a million times before that we need to look after ourselves before we can look after anyone else, but the reality is that it’s so hard sometimes! Self care is something that we need to consistently and mindfully work on prioritising because otherwise we will burn out and be no good to anyone or anything.
8. What tips do you have for other mums wanting to start a business?
If you’re going to start a business, make sure that it’s something that you’re 100% passionate about. Our time is precious, so make sure that you’re spending you time doing what you love (and housework - no one loves doing housework).
You can find out more about Lauren and Cool Mum Clothing through these linkd
Thanks Lauren! Here at The Healthy Wallet Project we want to have real conversations as it is so easy to look like you have it together on the outside even when there is so much turmoil happening on the inside. Thanks to these amazing mums who have shared their behind the scenes for helping me get the real talk happening.
Are you looking for a community of like minded mums who are combating their financial stress by taking back control of their finances? Come join us at the Savvy Saving Mum Community