Up this week on Meet the Mumtrepreneur I’ve been chatting with single mum Ina Doyle founder of bumptobeyond.ie, she has me in awe, she’s raising three beautiful children, she’s a Cuidiu counsellor, a babywearing consultant and runs an online shop from home…
Hi Ina, tell me a little about bumptobeyond and how you came up with the idea?
Bumptobeyond’s ethos is to empower parents to recognise their own and their little person’s needs (parents have needs, yes!) and abilities and trust their responses to them. The one thing I want parents to leave with, whether after a Sling Consultation, Breastfeeding Class or when just picking something up from the shop, is summed up by this feedback from a client: “I left my consult with you not just knowing how to use my wrap. I left feeling more confident as a mum.”
I offer workshops and classes around breastfeeding and babywearing and stock goodies that go with it and that tie into a responsive and sustainable living ethos: ergonomic Baby Slings and Carriers (all fairly produced), reusable Sanitary and Breastfeeding Pads, Fiddle Jewellery, colourful cotton Kids’ Clothes and other little goodies for growing families.
When I had my oldest here in 2007 I felt like an alien with my slinging and breastfeeding – and lonely in general, overwhelmed and anxious as a new mum, with no close friends. Through an online forum, I met other mums with similar interests and got involved in what was to become Babywearing Ireland. I started up a sling meet and sling library here in Dundalk in 2008 and set up a breastfeeding group when I was pregnant with my 2nd little person in 2009. I have a background in and passion for Education and really enjoyed the difference I could make in supporting parents as a peer supporter. To be able to give more, I decided to train as a Breastfeeding Counsellor with Cuidiu and as a Babywearing Consultant with Trageschule UK and set up bumptobeyond in early 2012 – just service based then, with ideas for a parent-child café.
Between the sling and breastfeeding groups I was facilitating as a volunteer, interest in slings was growing, so after my third little person was born I approached local baby businesses to see would they stock ergonomic slings to make them more accessible for local parents. None would. I also kept bringing back kids’ clothes from Germany for friends and clients on their request, so – in a bit of a “let’s work this out as we go along” ad hoc move – I added retail to proceedings in 2014 when the wee dude was six months old and my marriage beyond rocky. None of the brands and very few of the products I started off with was stocked in Ireland at the time.
What has been your biggest challenge starting-up?
Being a one-woman show. Trying to grow a business on your own while working, running a household and raising three small people solo can feel lonely. It has meant learning to reign in my enthusiasm and ideas and not get deflated by others living what I’d like to achieve. And getting the word out is a challenge for me, I’m utterly crap at blowing my own trumpet!
How did you fund your business?
I started off with my personal slings, my Foundation Course with Trageschule and my first doll were birthday and Christmas presents – I’m really easy to “buy” for, there’s always conferences and workshops I want to go to! While it was service based, the business didn’t get any cash injections, it needed to pay for its own set up and up-keep. When I added retail, I took what little savings I had and my very generous granny matched them with a contribution! That paid for a very modest start-up stock and it’s been organic growth from there. It makes for slow progress, with a lot of planning, juggling, DIY and make-do. And the need for paid jobs too.
How do you juggle childcare?
The older two are in primary school, the little dude goes to a wee playgroup one morning a week. Up until July, I was childminding 3 mornings and I teach private grinds. I co-parent with the kids’ Dad and he’s now usually here with them Saturday late afternoon to Sunday night. And that’s when I usually work: When the little dude goes to bed in the evening and the older two amuse themselves when they are all away one morning a week when their Dad is responsible for them. Worktimes change all the time, depending on life and other work. I try to take one night a week off … We do some jobs in the studio together, like stock take, unpacking and sorting stock, packing orders, post office runs, which they enjoy. The odd time the square babysitter makes an appearance and some mornings wee dude and I can be found at the kitchen table, each with a laptop and notepad 🙂
What are you most proud of since setting up bumptobeyond?
Having made a difference in families’ lives. Doing it on my own and against all odds. All the learning I’ve done along the way (the advantage of being website admin, creative director, accountant, manager, PR etc all in one!). That the unpleasant parts of running a business (admin, bookkeeping, marketing – argh!) haven’t defeated me yet. And having handled things in a way that if they did, the kids and I won’t be paying off debts.
Thank you for that question, I’d never thought about that!
What words of advice would you give to other mums who are thinking about setting up their own business?
Don’t do it backwards like I may have, take advantage of the courses and supports offered and plan properly before going ahead. And give yourself financial space. If it means starting slow while keeping other paid work going, do that. If you are in a position to borrow and pay for services and advice, do that.
What’s next for you and your bumptobeyond?
I’ll get myself a clone who has my passion, drive and vision – and a head for business… Did I mention lotto?
The BIG vision is an inclusive and financially accessible parent and child center based on a Responsive, Sustainable Parenting ethos, with workshops, classes, clinics, treatment rooms, a family friendly café and a shop or two stocking goodies you wouldn’t find on the high street that ties in with this ethos. Lotto, anyone?
In the more realistic, nearer future, I’m working on some ideas for a new blog series, support services, and workshops. To me, the front of house, hands-on “with parent” support is the most fulfilling and meaningful element of running bumptobeyond.
And finally, where will I find you?
You can find me on over on our website, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
If you’re an Irish mammy in the baby business and would like to take part in Meet The Mumtrepreneur pop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.