March is the month where we celebrate many things including Mother's Day and International Women's Day so I thought it appropriate to feature some inspiring mums and we'll be showcasing them throughout March - hope you enjoy the "March of Inspiring Mums" series!
Today's interview is with Lesley Bambridge, mum to a 9 month old little girl and the founder of We Mean Business | London, a Marketing Consultancy who "make big brand marketing accessible for startup budgets". She is passionate about supporting women in business (the 'We" in We Mean Business stands for Women & Entrepreneurs!). Lesley is also the founder of Storyfied – a place where innovative startups and founders can share their stories to a wider audience to help them get their brand out there. She lives in London with her family.
1. Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the job you’re now doing?
I used to work for big corporates and FMCG businesses, but after 15 years of building and managing some of the UK's largest household brands such as Ferrero Rocher, Aquafresh, Lucozade, I found I was looking for a new challenge.
So I set out to bring the exclusive marketing techniques of high-profile businesses to startups and entrepreneurs, helping them to cut out the need for big agencies and teams when they don’t have the cash, but ensuring they are building brands that will last, and putting marketing at the heart of all they do.
I’m passionate about helping those who want to create something for themselves, and I also love brands and the challenge of finding the right audience and the right ways of getting them excited about new products and services. I’m also passionate about supporting women in business, which is why the 'We" in We Mean Business stands for Women & Entrepreneurs.
51% of the UK population are women, and whilst here are almost half a million new start ups created each year (SFEDI report) and the no. of female entrepreneurs has risen by nearly 10% in the last 2 years (Office of National Statistics); still only 19% of business owners are female (RBS, Women In Enterprise Report) and only 26% of FTSE 100 board members are women. Although this figure has grown from 12.5% in 2011, there is still a long way to go to reach gender balance (Women on Boards, Davies Review 2015).
I have made it my mission to support women & entrepreneurs who are running their own business to ensure that these figures continue to grow. My marketing consultancy and marketing mentoring services are able to provide a network of experience, support and advice to compliment women in business and help ensure these figures continue rising.
Tell me one interesting fact about you?
I used to work on Kinder Surprise so I got to choose what toys went inside!
Please can you share 3 tips for managing the juggle of motherhood, life and business?
As a relatively new and first time mum, I found everything I went through quite tough and work actually was solace for me as it helped me to regain my identity and find balance.
To be the best version of me I know I need to work. It’s nice to get out, be your old self, and remember that you had a whole career and life before this tiny little bundle of love came along and rocked your world.
I want my daughter to be proud of me as she grows, and I want her to see her mum a strong female role model who works hard to achieve what she wants in life. But finding the right balance can be a challenge, as whether its work or being a mum, you always want to do the best job you can.
My tips would be:
1. Don’t feel bad for having a life outside of your family – You had a career, interests, hobbies and a social life before you had kids, don’t let this go by the way side now, and don’t feel guilty for putting yourself first from time to time. It’s much easier said than done I know, and you miss them when you’re not with them, but having more to talk about than nappy contents or what food they ate today is worth it, and so is your sanity.
2. Have a childcare plan in place – whether its family, friends or paid for child care, make sure you feel comfortable with the plans you have when you have to leave your child and go to work. This takes a huge weight off your mind and you can focus fully on work, before returning to work as mum.
3. The flexibility of working for yourself is great when you have a child, and so use it to your advantage. Being able to work remotely means we can travel and make the most of the time we are not working as well, and we get to see the world and not be tied to one place – well until school starts! This year we have left our flat and are going travelling for months at a time which is really exciting.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give a new mum?
Nothing I could ever say will prepare you for it, being a mum is literally the starring role of your life. But you are going to be brilliant at it, and it’s your child, so always remember that your way is the best way.
And if all else fails, Peppa Pig is a life saver!
Colour can make a real difference to our mood - what’s your favourite colour? And how does it make you feel when you wear it?
I’m not adventurous with colour at all, but I love beautiful blues as it makes me feel calm and light and breezy, and dusky pink is a new favourite at the moment.
What’s your favourite activity to do with your family?
I love taking my daughter swimming as its something I want her to feel confident with as she grows, its great fun, and she has a huge nap afterwards which is an extra bonus!!
What do you like to do for some me-time?
I like work as it gives me a lot of me time, but if I have a free afternoon then a spot of shopping or a date night with my husband is always a treat.
Lesley, you are one inspiring lady - not only dedicating your business to women and entrepreneurs but managing this around your young baby is amazing. Thank you for sharing your story with us!
If you're looking to grow your own business or need some advice on marketing, then Lesley at We Mean Business London is your lady. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn for tips and inspiration.
If you've enjoyed this interview, make sure you check out our other "March of Inspiring Mums" series here