I’m always really pleased to have someone else’s perspective on the blog, particularly when what they want to share is something so interesting. Kate Bell is the founder of two companies; Fate Promotions and Zipusin. Her journey to running her own companies and therefore (in her words) having the ability to “design her own days,” is incredibly inspiring. Over to Kate…
Finding the balance between working and being a Mum is something I know a lot of us struggle with. My two girls mean the world to me, but I have always had career ambitions which I didn’t want to give up on when I became a parent. I’m incredibly fortunate that my husband is willing to put up with all of my crazy ideas and my stubbornness not to give up on them! Pursuing my ambitions, whilst also being a full time Mum, has made me learn just how little sleep I can get by on and my life is now the epitome of not enough hours in the day!
When I was made redundant in 2004, the immediate reaction was an onset of panic; what I was going to do? How was I going to fix this? How can I continue to support my daughter? Mid panic attack I did the thing I nearly always do in extreme situations, I called my Mum. In typical Mum style, she reassured me that everything happens for a reason and her words stuck with me: ‘It’s fate’. The next day I started my first company, Fate Promotions. My oldest daughter was just 2. Making the decision to give up on job security and instead opt to work for myself was obviously a massive risk and not an easy choice to make. But my Mum’s words really struck a chord with me and I took that risk.
Failing at this simply wasn’t an option.
9 years later, I was still sleep deprived and there still weren’t enough hours in the day but I had managed to find a good balance. Working for myself, I could manage my own hours and work my meetings around family time. I could pick my daughter up every day from school and stay home with her when she was sick. Starting my own business was such hard work, but the struggle was worth it. I could spend the time enjoying all aspects of my child growing up – something I wouldn’t have been able to do if it weren’t for Fate.
The Mumpreneur in me wasn’t quite satisfied yet though…
In 2013, after years of trying, we were finally expecting our second child (that story is a whole different type of blog post). I had just splashed out on a Berghaus jacket so that we could make the most of living in the New Forest and get outdoors as a family. Honestly, I didn’t want to spend money on a maternity coat that I would only use for a few months, when my baby shopping list was long enough. Having looked everywhere for a product that would let me keep wearing my new favourite coat through my pregnancy, I discovered there were none on the market.
I designed a panel to use to expand my jacket so that it fit around my bump, and would finally stop me from stealing my husband’s coat! My mum (she has always been a key player as it turns out in all my business ventures) then knocked up my design on her sewing machine. Wearing this panel made life so much easier! It zipped into my jacket and when my daughter was born it meant that babywearing was so much easier – there was no need to layer up and both over heat! It kept her close to me and warm inside my own jacket, there was no more faffing when I went into shops having to strip off several layers and end up carrying a whole wardrobe… now I just unzipped my jacket.
Going out and about using my new design I was stopped several times by people asking me where I had got it… This led me to pursuing the business idea, and lots of research later (I never knew there was so much to know about zips!) I was able to properly design and create a panel which is breathable, waterproof, patented and award winning.
So now I am running two of my own businesses with a teenager and a toddler (and my husband as the third child!). The balance of work and family life is ever changing. As the companies grow the demands on my time are different, but being a mumpreneur you have to be able to shuffle it around and make your day how you design it. It has never been easy and at more time I can count, I considered throwing in the towel, but the support of my family has always seen me through. My daughters and husband are my inspiration, and I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s fate after all.