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Mumpreneurs: Raising a Family and a Business

Lisa Lessware

Lisa and Philippa, Bshirt Co-Founders, are two mums each with two young children. We have been working on the Bshirt for what seems like years now, even though we only officially launched the brand last month. That’s because, as with family life, the business has taken over much of our free time and resources. But that’s OK. Because we know all our hard work and determination will be worth it in the end.

We’ve had many highs and lows along the way. A big high was launching the brand at Harrogate International Nursery Fair in March of this year. We spoke to retailers big and small about their stocking our product, which they really liked. We were congratulated on spotting a gap in the market and creating a product that really works, and which mums really need. It was also great to meet other mumpreneurs like us. Our partners were left at home looking after the kids (we were initially worried about being away for home from several nights) and did a fantastic job juggling their own work schedules with the school run.

When we returned from Harrogate our first bulk order of stock arrived. Hurray! Time to celebrate! Time to fulfil all those orders! But it was also the Easter Holidays and as self-employed mums, who still aren’t currently taking a salary, we hadn’t booked childcare. So the holidays were incredibly stressful for us as we dealt with the demands of family life and work life thrown together in one big screaming whirlpool. We felt overwhelmed, stressed out, frustrated and irritable. Everyone was so glad to have us back after a week away at Harrogate! No one felt much like celebrating.

But then, something amazing happened. We started selling more Bshirts than we ever imagined! We were selling three times as much as we projected! We were thrilled! Finally, people were getting our product, which has been a work in progress for years, and they were loving it! Hurrah! Eureka! Pop the champagne!  It was our highest moment so far and it felt great.

Until. We realised that if the Bshirt was selling like this that we’d be out of stock within 6 weeks. At which time we had booked a space to exhibit at the Birmingham Baby Show. That meant that we would be exhibiting in front of thousands of pregnant women and new mums with NO STOCK. OMG. We frantically called our factory to re-order more stock but it wouldn’t arrive in time, even if we flew it in. It looks like we won’t be going to the Birmingham Baby Show just yet. But watch this space for the Olympia Baby Show in the autumn!

The re-stock conundrum is actually a blessing in disguise. It’s allowed us some time to reflect on the product and make any changes we might need to before ordering more. We’ve been getting some valuable feedback from the amazing women who’ve been our customers. Every time a woman buys a Bshirt we ask her to complete a survey before purchase as well as after it. We can then use this to monitor her confidence levels while wearing her Bshirt, but it also lets us know how it fits her. Since we are just a couple of mums and not a big clothing designer with a team of people, we have been relying on this feedback regarding fit/function in order to perfect the design so that it works for all bodies and boobs. And there are a few small tweaks we will be making to the next batch. We have been blown away by the feedback of our customers - 87 % of our customers are now reporting that they feel more confident feeding in front of others while wearing their Bshirt! This is what they are saying about the Bshirt:

“Much less revealing than the clip nursing vests.” - Lucy M

“I have used other nursing vests but these are better as you can use under clothes and on their own.” - Rosanna P

“The fit is so great compared to other feeding tops. I love how comfortable my Bshirt is and I don't need to worry about feeding.” - Liz B

“Discreet and fashionable...it’s not obvious nursing wear and reasonably priced! This is my only specialist feeding wear.” - Claire D

“I am pleased with the quality as it means I can wear normal clothes to feed in. Also there isn't loads of extra fabric.” - Kate F

It allows me to wear more of my pre pregnancy clothes.” Rosanna P

So despite the highs and lows of this rollercoaster ride we are on, we are delighted with the response we’ve had to our product and we might just even be able to pay ourselves the living wage by the end of Spring. A mum can dream!

Thank you to all of our customers and friends for supporting us, we are a small business and we are doing this for our kids and for yours. We are putting our heart and soul into making the Bshirt a success. With your help we can improve breastfeeding rates!



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