Celebrating International Women's Day 2023 with our Manchester Mumpreneurs
In honour of International Women’s day 2023, we asked a few Mumpreneurs exhibiting at The Baby Show with Lidl GB Manchester Central to tell us what International Women's Day means to them and what it's like being a #GirlBoss in the baby-business industry!
Read more about Shauna Hallmark, Lynda Harding, Lisa Bottomley, Christine and Louiza's journey to building their businesses and the phenomenal role models that inspired them.
Shauna Hallmark, Founder, The TOT Loft
Tell us a little about yourself and your business.
Tot Loft is a platform for parents to rent, lend and sell their baby gear.
What inspired you to start this business?
As a fan of fashion rental platforms and an avid Airbnb-er, when my daughter was born last year I couldn't work out why there wasn't anything out there like it for all of the wonderful (and quite pricey!) baby gear that we use for such a short time. We built a platform for parents to make money, save money and live sustainably.
What was it like starting a business for the first time?
Mildly terror inducing. With an 11 week old baby and moving back to the UK it seemed like a terrible time to start a business. But I couldn't sleep thinking about it, and in my gut I knew that I couldn't live with the 'what ifs' if I didn't give it everything I had.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
A day to celebrate the powerhouse women in my life and be proud of my achievements in life. As women I think we can often be guilty of putting ourselves down. So for me, IWD is a day to cheerlead the incredible women in my life, but also give myself a little bit of that cheerleading too.
Who is a female-role model who inspires you?
I have been so lucky to have some incredible women around me that inspire me every day. My magical Mum, my utterly brilliant Mother-in-law, my unbelievable friends that lift and empower each other everyday no matter what path we are all taking. But I have had a low-key girl crush on Witney Wolf-Herd for years, the business she has built whilst empowering women across the globe is truly something special to watch.
What advice would you give to other women who are looking to build their careers?
It's okay to put you first sometimes, your kids will thank you for it later.
What are your future plans for your business?
The big dream is to be everywhere. Imagine hopping on a flight to the USA with your family and knowing that you can rent a steriliser, bouncy chair, stroller, cot and more from a wonderful family nearby when you arrive. Not only lightening the load, but connecting families across the globe with all the best tips on what to do with your family when you are there.
Lynda Hardy, Inventor & Founder, Sweet Dreamers
I’m Lynda, the inventor of Ewan the Dream Sheep and the founder of the Sweet Dreamers brand.
The inspiration to develop Ewan came from struggling to settle my sixth new-born to sleep. After countless sleepless nights, I hit upon the idea of inventing a product that would not only help soothe restless babies and toddlers but also promote the formation of healthy sleep patterns, so that all the family could benefit from a good night’s rest.
Launching Sweet Dreamers was exciting, challenging, costly and extremely time-consuming, bearing in mind I was doing all of this whilst importantly being Mum to a young family of six! Combine that with no experience of developing a product or knowing anything at all about retail - it could seem that the whole idea was all pretty “pie in the sky”! But, I had a vision and I knew I could achieve it and that’s what spurred me on, combined of course, with my incredible role model: my Mum! Even though she has now sadly passed, she continues to inspire me - her strength, commitment, support and ability to see the positive in even the most stressful situation, have inspired me to strive to achieve my dreams. It’s what I hold close to my heart and tries to emulate. Sweet Dreamers has grown into very much a family affair with three of my children now playing a major role in the business - which I love!
If you’re looking to build your career, I would say play to your strengths and build it around what you love. As for Sweet Dreamers, I plan on continuing to grow and establish the business as a trusted and innovative family brand that is synonymous with getting a great night’s sleep.
Lisa Bottomley, Foudner, Baby J's
I’m Lisa, Partner to Simon of 17 years, mum to Jenson aged 8 and Ruben aged 3.
Baby Js was started 8 years ago this month. I knew I always wanted my own business but didn’t know doing what, then one day when Jenson was 8 months I had a light bulb moment and Baby Js was born. What started as a small side line selling amber anklets has grown into a successful established brand of baby gifts and accessories.
My biggest inspiration was my mum, as a child I watched how she always worked hard even juggling different jobs to provide the best for me. Life wasn’t always easy for her, but she had a fire in her, a strength and determination.
For me international woman's day is about celebrating the strength women have, be it to overcome hard times, juggling multiple modern day pressures and all whilst having the ability to pursue dreams and goals. When women support other women to do this amazing things happen.
Christine Buchanan and Louiza Rademan, Co-Founders, Oh-Lief Natural Products UK Ltd
Oh-Lief Natural Products is a sustainable, eco conscious, family-run company.
Founded in 2010 by sisters Christine Buchanan and Louiza Rademan who grew up in a household where the words natural & organic were valued principles. Christine found herself questioning conventional products while pregnant with her first baby boy. In her quest to find a skincare range to use and not being satisfied with using products containing harmful ingredients, Oh-lief was born!
We create handmade COSMOS Soil Association Certified Natural & Organic Skincare and Sun care products for babies, children and their families that are kind to the most delicate skin and the environment. Handmade with love from organic cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and beeswax to nourish the way nature intended! Our products do not contain any harsh chemicals, artificial fragrances, petroleum, parabens, artificial colours or nut oils.
In the spirit of giving back every purchase of Oh-Lief Natural Products made contributes to the Greenpop organisation, together we plant indigenous trees every month to restore ecosystems and empower environmental stewards through forest restoration, urban greening, food gardening, and environmental awareness projects.
For us at Oh-Lief Natural Products UK Ltd International Women’s Day represents an opportunity to intensify women’s voices in contexts they aren’t usually heard. A day we should all pause, reflect, and celebrate what women have achieved as a gender and to remind ourselves to continue to actively uplift, support and motivate one another (regardless of gender). By working together, as one community, we can achieve equal representation and a voice in male dominated environments. Our role models start with family, growing up with a strong mother and surrounded by sisters.
To see these #GirlBosses in action, visit the Baby Show with Lidl GB Manchester Central, 14-16 April 2023!
Get two standard adult tickets for only £16* & a free goody bag for The Baby Show with Lidl GB at Manchester Central.