"You realise just how capable you are"

with Maria Bettis from Slow Style Mindset

Show notes:

Maria has moved from the ultimate corporate jobs at Coutts and Harrods to combining her passions and running her own sustainable luxury fashion business.

Maria’s journey into her business sounds like a really organic process, and shows you the value of sometimes just saying yes to opportunities and working out the finer details later! Like a lot of mums, Maria was looking for a more flexible working life than corporate life afforded her, not least because her eldest, Edie, has autism and other health concerns.

Her business became an outlet during lockdowns (hard relate!) and Maria went from being very focused in her corporate roles to being skilled and capable across many areas, which I think will resonate with a lot of other business owners out there!

We talked a lot about what we share and how things appear on social media. We might be frustrated with our seeming lack of progress in our business, but only we know the balls that we’re dropping. If we do share more “reality”, it gives clients and followers an opportunity to connect with us and our challenges, and often, they are going through something similar. It’s a tricky balance and something that I’m working out myself at the moment!

Listen to the end to hear Maria’s 3 tips for tired mums who want to look great, feel comfortable but also make more sustainable choices.




About Maria Bettis and Slow Style Mindset:

Maria is a mummy of two and business owner leading the way in promoting confidence and conscious style

From a career in Finance looking after HNWs individuals at Coutts, to a fashion career at Harrods turned business owner, Maria is blazing the trail for women who want to leave the corporate world roles to follow their creativity & passion.

Maria’s Links:




Hello. I’m Caroline Marshall, and welcome to Bump to Business Owner the podcast speaking to mums in business. You. I’ll be in conversation with some of the most inspiring women and mothers in enterprise about their journey, how they created their successful businesses alongside raising their children and what that looks like in work and family life.

Caroline [00:00:05]:

Hello and welcome to today’s edition of Bump to Business Owner. I am your host, Caroline Marshall, and today, a huge welcome to Maria Bettis. Maria is a mummy of two and business owner, leading the way in promoting confidence and conscious style from a career in finance, looking after high net worth individuals at Coutts, to a fashion career at Harrods, now turned business owner. I know there will be many women who want to leave the corporate world roles to follow their creativity and passion. If so, this is the podcast for you.

Caroline [00:00:59]:

Well, welcome, Maria. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Maria [00:01:02]:

Thank you for having me.

Caroline [00:01:03]:

Your background at Coutts, looking after high net worth and leaving such a corporate world role at Harrods, I think it’s so interesting because I know so many women and mothers will relate to this. I like to start these podcasts by hearing a little bit about what you did before you started your business. So do tell us what that was like because you had an interesting career.

Maria [00:01:23]:

Yeah, and I actually loved my career as well. I look back and I think, actually, I’m quite fortunate to have done the roles that I did. I did the right roles at the right time, if that makes sense. So I didn’t go to university, I went straight to work and a small bank called Coutts that I’d never heard of and kind of worked my way up within Coutts, which obviously look after high net worth individuals. And I was there a long time. I was part of the furniture. There like 16 years.

Maria [00:01:49]:

And because I love fashion, I ended up being in the sort of creative team. So looking after individuals in sports and entertainment, which was lovely, like, creatives. And I kind of felt like you kind of gravitate towards people that you kind of have synergy with. So I was looking after creative people, which I love. I like to think I’m quite creative myself, but I was helping them with their finances and helping them with something that maybe they needed more support with. So, yeah, so I was in finance, but because I love fashion, I also managed, when I was a private banker, sort of created a bit of a niche for myself in the fashion industry. So I also looked after ultra high net worth individuals in the fashion world as well.

Caroline [00:02:28]:

I bet that’s fascinating.

Maria [00:02:30]:

Yeah, it was amazing.

Caroline [00:02:31]:


Maria [00:02:31]:

I just learned so much. I learned so much. I met so many amazing people. But I think as you kind of get to a point in your career I’d been there so long, I’d only ever known finance and I kind of thought to myself, actually want a bit of a change. So I kind of spoke to one of my clients and sort of said, look, thinking about moving away from finance. I’ve been here so long, I feel like I want a family at some point. I feel like now is my opportunity to maybe have a bit of a career change before my life completely changes. And it’s very weird, actually, if a lot of people talk about manifesting now, but I remember when I was going through this process, I remember thinking, oh, I want to work, like, maybe in somewhere like Harrods.

Maria [00:03:09]:

And I had this vision of myself managing the personal shoppers at Harrods, but at this point I had no connections or anything. And I mentioned it to someone and they were saying to me, that will never happen, Maria. You can’t go from finance to retail. Like, you’re going to have to get another job in finance if you move away. And then sort of months later, this client basically put me in touch with Harrods and they created a role for me there. And then six months later, I ended up managing the personal shoppers at Harrods.

Caroline [00:03:36]:

You definitely manifested that, I’m sorry.

Maria [00:03:43]:

More exposure to the fashion world, really, and the world of style and dressing and what motivates people to buy. Yeah, it was incredible. Like, incredible experience.

Caroline [00:03:56]:

That’s fantastic. And so how did it work? When did you decide to become a business owner? Essentially because you had working for Coots and Harrods are two very corporate roles and I think something to really discuss from that as well is how if you work in quite large corporate companies, that you only focus on your role and then as a business owner, you do everything. But yeah, what happens? Babies or business first?

Maria [00:04:20]:

So I had babies first. So I was at Harrods when I had both my children, actually. I took maternity leave, I went back. I think lots of things shift when you have a child. And I went back to Harrods, there’d been lots of changes when I went back and I loved it still, but maybe didn’t have the same focus as I had before. Very long hours in luxury retail for anyone that works there. And as a family, we were thinking about relocating to the coast and all the stars kind of aligned at one point and I thought, you know what, if we’re moving, now’s the time. If I want to do something that’s more flexible, we might touch on this later.

Maria [00:05:04]:

But my child has special needs and she has a lot of appointments and things. And I got to the stage where I thought, actually, I’ve worked in the corporate world for so long, I could do something that is more flexible. But also I was starting to get more of a passion for sustainability and working at Harrods. Whilst it was amazing, it potentially didn’t align with actually how I was feeling about the fashion industry and style and the way that people shop. I was kind of seeing the extreme ends of it and I was actually finding that I was part of the problem in that part of my role was to encourage people to buy things that they potentially didn’t need because we needed to hit targets. And whilst I had a lot of experience, it got to the stage where I thought, actually, I think for myself, I need to have a little bit of a shift in my career. Yeah.

Caroline [00:05:57]:

And that’s so interesting. Your second woman I’ve had on this podcast who’s come from a fashion background and felt after children, their values haven’t aligned with the fashion industry they once worked in. So when you first started your business was Accentuated Pre-loved, was that right? And so what gave you this idea to start this business? I think there’ll be a lot of women who want to start businesses like that, and so it’ll be interesting how you started the process of going down the luxury secondhand market.

Maria [00:06:25]:

Yeah, so it started actually with a wardrobe detox. So I did some wardrobe detoxes for myself. I do a regular detox in my wardrobe. And then one of my friends said, can you help me with my wardrobe? And we sat down and I talked to her about how to shop better. We went through her wardrobe and she was like, oh, my gosh, this has literally changed my life. She worked in Westfield, in a store, and she was talking to just a customer that came in and the customer was saying, I’m so overwhelmed with my wardrobe. She said, I’ve got a friend who just detoxed my wardrobe. Why don’t I put you in touch with her? I mean, I hadn’t started a business at this point.

Maria [00:07:03]:

And she messaged me, random lady, and said, can you come and help me with my wardrobe? And I was like, I don’t really have a business yes, yet, but yes, okay. I said, I’ll do it for, like, a minimal fee if you give me some amazing feedback if you enjoy the experience. So it kind of started from there and she actually had this amazing house, quite an affluent lady. I spent two days with her. We went through everything. I spoke to her about her shopping habits and I was like, oh, my God, I’m feeling really energised by this because I really feel like I can help people. And I was starting to. I already knew some of the issues, but I realised there’s a way to really make a difference in the way that someone shops with their shopping habits.

Maria [00:07:44]:

And I helped her and it was so amazing and she was so grateful. And at the end of it, she had lots of designer clothes and she said, can you help me with these and I thought, well, yes, I think I can.

Caroline [00:07:59]:

I love that you said yes when you had nothing in place. That’s such a lesson to say sometimes.

Maria [00:08:04]:

Just say yes, I find a way of doing something with them. Because I was like, I can’t see these beautiful I remember there was a Helmut Lang T-shirt, which was like a one off. And I remember thinking, this is not just a T-shirt, this is like a beautiful vintage Helmut Lang T-shirt that I’m sure someone will love in their wardrobe. Loads of beautiful things. So I sort of said to her, well, look, I’ll try and sell them for you. Because she said, because otherwise I’m going to give them charity. I said, no, don’t give them to charity. Someone needs to enjoy these.

Maria [00:08:33]:

So I sold her items and it kind of started from there, really, because then I was in the process of leaving Harrods, wasn’t quite sure what I was going to be doing, but knew it was going to be something with fashion sustainability. And I’d signed up to a personal styling diploma because I thought I’d managed a personal shopping team. I’d kind of done the job, but I didn’t have a qualification in it. So I thought, I’ll just do a personal styling diploma just to have it as my additional string to my bow. So that and the wardrobe detox, I was like, this is a bit of a package here, like helping women, the clothes, the pre loved and the wardrobe detoxes, it kind of started from there.

Caroline [00:09:14]:

Oh, fantastic. What year was that, that your business started?

Maria [00:09:18]:

So it was well, I helped this lady in end of 2019, we moved and then obviously we went into lockdown, so that kind of…

Caroline [00:09:28]:

And how was that for you? Because I’ve been speaking to a lot of women. Did you decide to put it on pause? Were you growing it around children? Were you homeschooling? How did COVID look for you?

Maria [00:09:35]:

How did COVID look for you? Well, we had obviously had the kids weren’t at school yet, so I had both of them at home, so it was quite challenging. But for me, I think, obviously I couldn’t go out and see women. So that part of it, actually. Going out and doing wardrobe detoxes or connecting with people and networking was obviously very difficult. But what I could do was I launched my website and for me in COVID, actually focusing on my business was a bit of an outlet, I think. So every time I had a spare minute or my husband came out of his office, I’d be like, have the kids. I’m trying to launch a website.

Caroline [00:10:14]:

I can relate to that so much.

Maria [00:10:18]:

15 minutes, what can I cram in? So I actually built my website. I started reaching out to people to get pre loved clothing, so I ended up focusing on the pre loved side because that was a lot more easier. I could do that in lockdown, it kind of worked.

Caroline [00:10:36]:

And that’s really good because that leads me on to it, because the women that may aspire to sell pre loved and vintage goods, whether it’s fashion or home items, can you talk a little bit about the process, about how you source and create your online shop?

Maria [00:10:48]:

Yeah, so mine kind of grew organically. So through contacts, obviously working at Harrods and knowing obviously a lot of stylists as well, from doing my diploma, I went out to contacts and said, look, anyone who has things in their wardrobe, can I sell stuff? And gradually people start giving me things and it’s kind of sort of snowballed from there now. And I’m quite fortunate that people contact me on Instagram saying, I’ve got some things, can you sell them for me? I also, if I do a wardrobe detox now, obviously that is an opportunity for me to take items. I live in a really lovely area and there are lots of lovely women here who now know me as someone that can sell their clothes for them. And I think as everything’s progressed, people are a lot more open to clearing their wardrobes out and letting go of things if they’re not wearing them, which is brilliant. So I guess it started small just through contacts and kind of grew from there, really, with marketing and Instagram and the like. It is hard though, I would say, since I’ve been doing the pre love side of it, there weren’t that many people doing exactly what I’m doing back then, whereas now I think there is a lot more people wanting to do pre loved. And there are definitely some challenges for small businesses because there are the likes of Depop and Vinted, which are brilliant because they are a very accessible way to buy and sell clothing.

Maria [00:12:13]:

But for small businesses, it kind of pushes the price down quite a lot on selling pre loved clothing, because on vintage, people sell things for next to nothing. So we then have to justify our prices. So it’s definitely not easy. I think a lot of people think you go into selling pre loved and you just put something out there and someone just buys it. Where there’s a lot of marketing, there’s a lot that goes on in the background to try and get good prices for the client, justify our pricing, but also, obviously market the items to make sure they sell.

Caroline [00:12:42]:

Thank you for being realistic on that because I think that’s I had a conversation with another business owner and the Pilates PT was like, I was listening to it the other day and she was like, I think people just think I turn up to a class and teach it and it’s the same. I think I just get hold of these clothes. So especially you have connections as well that you could use as I did as well, starting my business. So I think there’s that realism of like, if you don’t have those connections as well, it will take longer. And talking about all the hats you have to do as a business owner, what have you found really challenging since you’ve started being a business owner? What side of it?

Maria [00:13:18]:

Yeah, I think you don’t know until you step into it. You think you know what it’s going to be like, but until you’re in it, you’re suddenly like, oh, wow, I don’t like parenthood. Yeah, my second baby, I’m like, I don’t have an assistant, I have to literally do everything. It’s fine if you’re passionate about your business, you do it. But there are so many things in a business, I have learned so much about so many different things and I’ve researched things and it makes you realise just how capable you are as a person, I think. I remember thinking, I want to launch a website. I was like, I have no idea how people set up a website. I’ve got absolutely no idea what’s a domain name.

Maria [00:13:57]:

And you just end up slowly becoming an expert in everything. So when I did my first website, it’s been redone since. I was so proud. I was so proud. I was like, I just did that by myself. I mean, I’m not a techie person, but I did that. But, yeah, I end up packing everything myself. I run things to the post office myself, I respond to everyone’s questions, I measure all the clothes, you literally do everything from A to Z.

Maria [00:14:28]:

And it is a lot. I do things in the evenings, juggle around the children, but I think, as every now and again, I reflect and I think, oh my God, I’ve got so many more skills now than I had in corporate, where I was quite focused on a specific role. Yeah.

Caroline [00:14:48]:

And so it keeps you interested, but I think that’s really important to share that if you have no budget, you can build a website if you’ve never done it before, things like that. But if you start a product based businesses, you will be spending a lot of time in the post office, I think is a key one. And thank you for sharing that you work evenings and things, because I have that conversation a lot on here as well, of the realities of like yes, business ownership is flexible, but if you have a goal, a dream, and you end up working evenings and things, and that’s okay as long as you are thinking about the balance. But how important to you has it been to get that flexibility? Because you briefly mentioned you’ve got a child with additional needs and it’ll be really great to chat about that because I know there will potentially be mums listening who are in the same boat as you and to see how you do it around your business. Is it all on you as the mother or as that parent?

Maria [00:15:38]:

Yeah. So, Edie my daughter, so she is seven, she’s almost eight, and she was diagnosed with don’t even know where the time’s gone. Oh, she’ll be double figures soon. I don’t think I’ll be able to.

Caroline [00:15:49]:

Oh, don’t think about that.

Maria [00:15:52]:

So she was diagnosed with autism at age three, so she was diagnosed early. So obviously, as I was starting my business, I knew that Edie had these challenges, and for me, the flexibility was really key. She has autism, but there are also other things. She has a potential genetic syndrome that’s being looked at at Great Ormond Street. She has hearing problems. She has lots of things. So we’re seen at Great Almond Street in a genetics team and ENT team. She’s got appointments, like, locally, in different places.

Maria [00:16:24]:

We’re always back and forth to the council about educational health care plans. It’s a lot. For anyone who’s listening, who has a child with special needs, it’s another job on the side, making sure they’re getting the right support. So I knew she had autism when I started my career, my own business, and I think part of that was I physically don’t know. I mean, people do do it, but if you have a full time corporate job, it must be so hard to manage, because I’m quite fortunate that my job is flexible. So if Edie’s got an appointment, I can take her to it and I can build my day around it. If she’s got a speech and language therapy set of sessions, it’s my responsibility to pick her up from school, take her to someone somewhere external to her speech and language, then drop her back to school. And they’re usually, like, somewhere really inconvenient, like, I don’t know, 12:00 or something.

Maria [00:17:15]:

So I’m like, okay, it’s the middle of my day, don’t worry about that. But, yeah, for me, that’s a big part of running my business. And then on days like that, I do end up catching up in the evenings because there’s no and actually, for me, I’m fortunate that I can do that because, yeah, it’s a lot. And as the mum, like Paul has, my husband has a full time corporate job, I do the majority of Edie’s care. I do the school pickup, I do the school drop offs, and I also take her to all of her appointments. And I’m generally the person that deals with anyone follows me on Instagram. We’ve got to and from with the council at the moment about her educational healthcare plan, and we’re trying to get into a special school. So that kind of all falls on me as the mum.

Maria [00:18:02]:

And in different relationships it might not, but in our sort of setup, it kind of tends to. So that’s obviously something else that I juggle around what I’m doing.

Caroline [00:18:10]:

And thank you so much for sharing, because I think it’s also erasing that awareness of all the loopholes you have to go through of going to the council and that whole other job in itself, as well as the physically taking Ed to her appointments. I’m sure that would be so valuable for other mums to hear.

Maria [00:18:27]:

Do you think you would have set.

Caroline [00:18:28]:

Up your business in the same way it’s your life now with Edie, so you don’t know otherwise. But do you think you would have set up your business in the same way if you actually haven’t had this diagnosis from age three?

Maria [00:18:41]:

I don’t know. It might have affected because I maybe wouldn’t have as much need for flexibility. So it definitely affected my decision. Like, one of us, my husband and I had to have a flexible job. So it definitely affected my decision to actually think, well, if one of us has got flexibility in their role and works for themselves, actually, that makes our dynamic a lot mean. I think I would still be doing what I’m doing, to be honest. I love my role so much. I get constant frustration that I’m not pushing it forward quick enough and people go, maria, like, you’re doing great.

Maria [00:19:22]:

You’re doing so many things. I’m like I know, but I’ve got so many goals, and there is definitely frustrations on my side that I’m not reaching those goals as quickly as potentially I could. But I have to keep reminding myself that that’s okay. I’m growing. I am growing. I’m doing different things. I’m just about to restructure slightly. I think it’s kind of being kind on yourself to kind of say, it’s okay, you’re doing lots of things, you’re doing family stuff, you’re doing business stuff.

Maria [00:19:54]:

There’ll be a time maybe, when Edie does get into a special school and I’m not spending a lot of time fighting for her and I have more time to accelerate quicker. But it’s kind of about balance, I think. Yeah.

Caroline [00:20:04]:

And it’s fantastic you’ve made it happen at all. When you go through these challenges, I can only imagine it is like the fact that you’ve been able to do it and follow your passion and create this business for yourself is fantastic. Something I wanted to ask as well. So your business came after babies and many business owners I have on the podcast talk about the challenges and benefits of maternity leave. As a business owner, are you happy you started, you did the maternity leaves in the corporate world. How did that look for you?

Maria [00:20:36]:

Yes, I think on reflection, yes. I’m pleased I had a corporate role for maternity leave because, oh, my gosh, the thought of having just like, well, I worked in retail, so the maternity leave wasn’t amazing, but it definitely meant that you’re still getting some sort of income for a period of time whilst you’re with your child. I think if you’re self employed, then having a child, there’s a lot more pressure that you have to set yourself targets. You’ve got responsibilities, you’ve got clients, you can’t really hand that over to anyone. So I can imagine if I’m not having any more children. But if I did, I think I’d find it a lot harder running my own business, because I think the type of person you are to want to run your own business, you’re a bit of a well, if you want to be successful, you’re hard to let go. Yeah, come on, I can do anything. It’s really hard to switch off if you’re passionate about it.

Maria [00:21:34]:

I think you’ve done it, haven’t you, with your second?

Caroline [00:21:36]:

Yes, I did it with my second and there are circumstances that made me switch off. But I think I’m starting to learn, maybe I’m just someone who doesn’t switch off and it actually serves me better, because then, like you, I’ve created a sort of flexible, different working hours and my appointments are far less, thankfully. I just deal with the usual, oh, gosh, all the colds are coming around and I’ve got to get their ears checked out, sort of thing. But even with those appointments, I’m just like, Great. I’m grateful that I may have sacrificed some maternity leaves in the past in exchange for that.

Maria [00:22:15]:

And I do think I guess we’re fortunate that I’m finding that in the world we live in today, it’s kind of okay to be open about being flexible. So on my social media, I’ve realised that the more I talk about my personal life, actually, people really connect with you. They’re there for your business, they’re there for sustainability and tips on how to be a bit more conscious without the opening. They’re there for that, but actually, they buy into you as a person. And I’ve definitely been through periods where I’ve gone into Instagram or my social media and said, look, I’ve got some pre love stuff I was going to put on my website on Thursday, but for X, Y and Z reasons, it’s not going to be until next week because having a stressful week. And I think we’re quite fortunate. We live in a time where actually people are like, that’s fine, you run your own business, you manage a family, you’re juggling people kind of resonate to it and understand it.

Caroline [00:23:09]:

Yeah. And then you find who your audience are as well, which it was what I really like about you, like, you say, you do share all the pre love side of it, which you have one audience for, but also your motherhood journey and your journey with Evie. I think you create this audience who will then buy from you, kind of thing, or buy from you in various different ways, whether it’s an online course or something like that, it’s going through that process of learning how to share. How did you feel the first time really sharing about your family online? Because I think there’ll definitely be people listening to this that will be like, oh, I love hearing Maria’s story, but then when I share mine, it just feels so cringe. I think I’m probably asking for myself.

Maria [00:23:53]:

Thought, actually, well, especially initially, I felt really uncomfortable because I’m not a know, some people just love being oversharers and what have you, and I’m not really I’m not shy, but I definitely am not someone who’s like, look at me. So I definitely found it a bit uncomfortable, but actually you kind of find your groove and I kind of found what I’m comfortable with. And you realise that people have so, like my Instagram following, they’re so lovely, so supportive. And I realised that actually, it’s okay. There are things that I probably wouldn’t put on Instagram, but definitely little snippets of life I feel a lot more comfortable with, and especially because I’m also quite passionate about autism awareness. And I think I’ve had so many parents reach out to me, especially this week, because I had a bit of a rant about the situation we’re going through at the moment, the special school. And I’ve had so many mums reach out to me and say, oh my gosh, I’m going through something similar. It’s so nice to see someone that you think has got this ideal business and it’s all going swimmingly to see that actually, they’ve got loads of challenges in the background as well and they’re quite similar to challenges that lots of people are going through.

Maria [00:25:11]:

I kind of think it’s difficult, but I’m glad I do it. I think there’s definitely some positives of putting yourself out there.

Caroline [00:25:18]:

Thank you. Because I’ve got a podcast come out today that mentions I’m getting EMDR, which is like trauma therapy from after my child’s NICU experience. And I’m like, oh, is that too much information? And I’m like, no, I think actually, then the people that don’t like that, they’re not my audience, maybe. And it’s just part of the journey of how I didn’t just launch a podcast. Thought there was all this stuff going on the side of it.

Maria [00:25:43]:

I think whoever I speak to knows someone who’s either got an autistic child or knows someone who’s got an autistic child, so it touches on everyone and it’s a bit like your experience, I think everyone knows someone who’s either had a traumatic birth or knows someone who’s had a very traumatic experience with birth. So you kind of think, oh, it’s very private, but actually it touches so many people. I think people are grateful to kind of go, oh my gosh, I’m not the only person, or I know someone who’s going through similar, but, yeah, I think we’re probably quite similar in that we’re like, Yay. But actually.

Caroline [00:26:19]:

I think a lot of people are, because I think you could easily come across as a bit of an extrovert and you’re like, no. And okay, I’m going to be quite open here. I don’t know about you, but also since tracking my cycle, I think I’ve noticed periods of the months where I’m like, no, I should not be over sharing. Then other times I’m like, everyone.

Maria [00:26:35]:

Should know, we’ll all see the cycle now.

Caroline [00:26:41]:

Or my team will, at least for sure, but I think that’s been mind blowing of like, no, that’s just my hormones.

Maria [00:26:47]:

Yeah. I feel very passionate about this today. Yeah.

Caroline [00:26:51]:

Now I just want to hide away and pretend it didn’t happen. I love that also with sharing your week and everything like that. How do you make I’m interested to know because when this will be going out, the summer holidays will be over. How do you kind of make school holidays work?

Maria [00:27:07]:

That’s a really good question. So I’ve only had two summers so far. I’ve had to manage school holidays. As the school holidays approach, I usually have a little panic because I kind of block it out and then people kept saying, oh, it’s only a few weeks till some holidays. I’m like, oh my gosh, I can’t cope. So I will usually book them into the holiday camp. Well, I didn’t last year, I didn’t have to last year, but this year I’ve booked him into a holiday day camp for a week, so that’s like one week. We’re going on holiday for ten days, so that’s also likes care of.

Maria [00:27:36]:

Yeah, amount of days. Obviously I’ll probably still be replying to messages and doing bits remotely, but that’s fine. And then the rest of it, we’re very lucky that my mother in law and father in law live quite close. So last year, I haven’t touched on this with them yet, but I’m sure they know it’s coming. I’ll be saying, like, once a week, can you look after the children? So I get a full day to myself. I think last year they looked after Edie on her own one day, then Arlo on his own because I find I can kind of still work if I’ve got one of the children when I’ve got both of them. And I found that was a bit easier for me because then I get two days as opposed to having both children on one day. Yeah.

Maria [00:28:17]:

And the rest of it is kind of juggling. I might get my mum over for come and visit. I love seeing you look after, I.

Caroline [00:28:25]:

Can relate to that. Oh, let’s come for a visit. Come on the Thursdays where I have two days to work and then I’ll spend time with you on the weekend.

Maria [00:28:31]:

Yeah. Do you plan to take the kids out? No, I’m not going to come, or.

Caroline [00:28:35]:

I’ll come, but I’ll bring my laptop and sit somewhere else.

Maria [00:28:38]:

There’s a lot of that. I mean, when I think about it, it’s hard, especially with Ed with their special needs. She’s very challenging in the summer.

Caroline [00:28:47]:

Yeah, I was going to say she goes to camp then. Does she feel happy going to camps and things like that?

Maria [00:28:54]:

Or do you find out okay the first time? So, yeah, we found it’s in a local school, so it’s not residential or anything, but they said they’ve got children with special needs because sometimes it’s hard to find places that will have they come needs one to one so she can go there, which is brilliant, and I guess we’ll play it by ear. She’s actually bless her little sock, she’s actually quite resilient, so she doesn’t like change, but she’s also okay with some very, very hard to pinpoint or explain. But I kind of think if she’s with Arlo and she goes to, like, a camp the first day, she might be out about sorts. But actually, she’ll probably quite enjoy all the attention and all the activities. So that’s what I’m hoping is either.

Caroline [00:29:37]:

Your first child or your second child. Did you notice a difference in your early years experience and maternity leave with either of them? Do you mind?

Maria [00:29:48]:

Oh, my God, no, not at all. Yes, I did notice a massive difference. So Edie was my first child, so I obviously first time mum and she just wasn’t doing what everyone well, she basically screamed from the moment she came out of me. All the nurses were trying to calm her down. She just wouldn’t stop screaming, she wouldn’t feed. There were, like, challenges from the beginning. And then she pretty much screamed for a year, basically, to the point that I’d go for nurses appointments or doctors paediatrician appointments, and I’d go to the hospital and I’d have to stop three times on the way. Take her out the car seat because she’s screaming so much.

Maria [00:30:30]:

Get her back in. I’d have strangers come up saying, Are you okay? Yeah, I’m just trying to get to the hospital. Hang on. I have to keep stopping because she’s screaming so much, sounds like she’s choking. And then I’d go to one point, I think we went to the hospital just for a routine appointment and the doctor came out and was like, who is that child that’s screaming? I was like, over here. And they’re like, how long she’d been screaming like this for? And I was like, since 07:00 this morning. And it was like 02:00 in the afternoon. And they were like, Right, we’re going to keep you in.

Maria [00:30:53]:

So it was kind of like an ongoing thing. So as a first time mom, I was kind of very much like, my child doesn’t like me, I’m doing something wrong. Obviously we didn’t know it was autism at the time. They thought, maybe it’s colic. We went through all the things and it’s very hard, I think, when you see a group of mums doing the same things and their kids all following the same path and you’ve got a child that’s quite different, it’s very hard. I found it very traumatic and I’ve been to counselling too different, because for me, I felt like it was maybe I was the issue and actually bless Edie, but she was the issue. Like, she had autism. The whole world was completely overwhelming for her.

Maria [00:31:37]:

So my whole year I didn’t really make that many friends during my first maternity leave because I just couldn’t do things. I didn’t really go to places because she screamed so much. I think I remember going to a coffee shop once and I was asked to leave. Oh, my God. Yeah, it wasn’t particularly pleasant, to be honest. And then I got pregnant very quickly with Arlo and he was just like a little delight. I was like, oh, my goodness, this is what? Okay, it’s not me. Right, okay.

Caroline [00:32:09]:

Oh, God.

Maria [00:32:09]:

That fine. And so he’s like neurotypical, he cries, you pick him up, you burp him, he kind of settles, he has a bit of colic, but it’s all kind of manageable and it kind of put everything into perspective for me.

Caroline [00:32:21]:

Was it quite healing for you in some sort of way? Like, just for your self blame? Because I think a lot of women I can personally identify to that when what happens with my child and his collapse, it was like my body did something that caused this and yeah, it may potentially quite healing by the sounds of it, having your second.

Maria [00:32:40]:

Yeah. And I think for us, it’s probably quite good that Arlo came along quite quickly because we hadn’t had too much time to actually realise that Edie was on the spectrum or anything. I just remember thinking like, Edie was IVF and I remember thinking, right, we need to know whether we can have a natural child, otherwise we’re going to have to go for IVF and let’s just try straight away. It’s going to take years and it didn’t take years. So I think the fact that he came along quite quickly was fortunate because I think if we’d have maybe had Edie on her own for, like, three years, we might have been put off having a second because obviously quite stressful having special needs child, whereas we were kind of in the flow of it. And I was pregnant suddenly, and then Arlo came along and actually, yeah, for me, I suddenly was like, okay, well, yeah, it’s not me. I haven’t done anything wrong because I did exactly the same things.

Caroline [00:33:34]:

They’re very different people. I think that’s it, it’s the realisation I think pregnancy is all on you and then you birth these individuals who turn out to be not just a reflection of you completely.

Maria [00:33:47]:

I know. How can you create two completely different human beings? It’s like mind boggles.

Caroline [00:33:52]:

Yeah, I’m fortunate with both my boys.

Maria [00:33:55]:

But, yeah, I look at them both.

Caroline [00:33:56]:

And they literally will do the opposite of each other. Sometimes you’re so different and you do parent differently, I think, even from my experience, I see like, my 2nd child won’t respond in the same way my first child to certain things. That’s interesting point, because I bet you particularly see you have to parent differently.

Maria [00:34:17]:

Oh, absolutely. And there’s definitely some guilt around the attention Arlo gets versus the attention Edie gets, but we’ve got like Edie is very she has no sense of danger. If there’s a massive, massive, I don’t know, slide, she’ll be the top of it within 30 seconds and flinging herself off. It like she’s got no fear. She’ll put her hand in a dog’s mouth. Going, what does teeth feel like? She literally has no fear. Whereas my son is the most fearful person in the universe. If there’s a fly in the room, he’s having a heart attack.

Maria [00:34:50]:

So we laugh sometimes because we kind of say our extremes with our children, with how they deal with anything that’s a bit scary, is so opposite. How are they from the same family? I know.

Caroline [00:35:05]:

And then you’re like, we’re in between. How did this happen? You’ve been so open and sharing kind of what your juggle looks like, especially with the fact you have a special needs child. And I know this will be so helpful. So what I’d love to have a little talk about, which I have, is like, how do you feel about the term? How do you do? Because I feel there will be people that ask you that from such a lovely place. Which is why I don’t mind being asked it, because I feel like I’m always being asked it from a nice place or a place of desperation of what’s your secret? Kind of thing, when there is no secret. But yeah, how do you feel about that term and what wisdom can you share other than the fantastic stuff you already have?

Maria [00:35:47]:

Yeah, so it is nice when people say that because you think, well, actually, people can’t see the flapping around in the background going on, but I think it’s very difficult to do everything. So whilst things might look quite seamless in the forefront, nothing is easy. Basically, everything sort of takes dedication and effort. And I think, obviously, with small business owners, we talk to lots of other small business owners. And I’ve never spoken to one small business owner that feels like they’ve nailed it and we’re all kind of going, oh, I wish that was progressing faster, or I wish I had some more time for that, or I feel like I’ve dropped the ball on that. But I guess when people say that, I guess it helps me kind of go, okay, well, actually, my storefront is okay. People don’t need to know. Only I know the bits that are not happening, the world doesn’t.

Maria [00:36:48]:

So I guess it’s only my own expectations that I’m letting down. But, yeah, I think whether you’ve got a corporate job or you’re running your own business, there are challenges and there are juggles and you’ll probably always feel like you’re dropping something along the way. But as long as you’re moving forward and you’re happy and your family are happy and you’re making money, which is what we work and we have businesses for, then we’re obviously on the right track.

Caroline [00:37:16]:

I love that. Like the making money part, especially women. It’s like we are making money from our businesses and should be so proud of that. And I think that’s such a great takeaway from that is nothing is easy. And I think whether you’re a business owner and a parent, they both come together like that. None of it’s easy, the whole way kind of thing. But you get such joy from them. So I think that’s really valuable as well of like, this isn’t easy, but I don’t think working in a lot of corporate world roles and parenthood is easy.

Caroline [00:37:48]:

I think this is maybe like a personal question for me, but I think it’s a great question. But what are your tips for a sleep deprived, exhausted, tired mum who does want to look great and comfortable in their clothing but also wants to be sustainable in their choices?

Maria [00:38:05]:

Yeah. So this is basically the person that I tend to help. So the first thing is I think a lot of people think of sustainability and get completely overwhelmed by it and kind of go, oh my gosh, it’s such a huge subject that it’s very easy to do nothing because doing something is just what is sustainability? Is it fabric? Is it the ethical side? Do I need to know where my clothes are made? Do I not need to shop on the high street anymore? The subject is so huge and it can be very overwhelming that people tend to not do anything. So I guess my tip would be to digest small bits of information but don’t feel that you need to change every aspect of your life to fit into a sustainable lifestyle because taking like small steps in the right direction is enough. So I always say to people on my Instagram account, I give snippets of information that you might not be aware of because I’m party to this information because it’s the world that I live in. So I was saying to someone, like, you know, when you send things back to don’t, please don’t shop at Shein, but if someone buys from a big fast fashion brand and they send it back, they do a whole bulk order of items and then they send back the stuff they don’t want. There’s been lots of research to say that a lot of those items don’t actually end up being resold. Because if you’re buying it from quite a low cost brand, the cost of actually going through those items, steaming them, pricing them back up, packaging them back up, getting them back on the shelf actually costs more than the item itself.

Maria [00:39:38]:

So there’s been lots of reports say many of these items end up going straight to landfill. So one tiny thing you can do to be more sustainable is actually just be more careful in what you buy and take some time to understand things like that. So actually, you know what? I could do a massive order and send loads of stuff back, but I’m not going to. I’m going to order a few things and really think about them so that the chances of returning them are smaller. But the other two things I would say, that I think really help people, is shopping in fast fashion on our high street today. It’s made people lose what their own unique style is. So there are so many styles in the shops, there are so many fleeting trends, there are so many clothes and there’s also Instagram and social media and post people telling us we should be wearing whatever. But actually, what do you like, what do you feel good in as an individual? Because it doesn’t matter if it’s not the same as everyone else.

Maria [00:40:38]:

I think as soon as you connect to that deep down and really accept the things that you feel great in, are you feminine, actually? Are you more minimalistic in the way that you shop? There’s lots of things, but really thinking about, what do I feel amazing in? And once you’ve tapped into that, it makes it a lot easier to shop more targeted rather than overwhelming a wardrobe with lots of different things that you might think, oh, I bought that because I saw it on someone, but it’s not really me. Why have I bought a bodycon dress? I’ve never worn a bodycon dress. I think there’s a lot of time to actually take a step back and think, well, what’s my lifestyle now? If you’ve got kids, if you’re running your own business, if you’re not wearing in the corporate world, make sure that your wardrobe is aligned with your current lifestyle and really take some time to think about what you put on and what you feel good in, and there’s nothing wrong with sticking to that. Don’t get swayed by all the noise that there is in marketing, telling you need things that probably aren’t your lifestyle and aren’t your style. And the other thing, last thing, if you’re in that sort of thing where you’re overwhelmed doing a wardrobe detox, honestly, if you can take some time out to do a wardrobe detox, owning less in your wardrobe will definitely make your wardrobe calmer. And it also helps you reaffirm what your style is because you start realising, oh, I’ve worn that loads because I really love it. Never worn that a wardrobe detox, I always say, although it feels a bit time consuming, if you can find the time to do it definitely is the first step of getting on top of things, I guess.

Caroline [00:42:19]:

Imagine it really helps you get ready in the morning as well with not having that clutter. And you can just be like, here’s my set outfits. And it’s just like, that’s just one thing. Especially if you’re a busy business owner and mum, that’s something just to take away from your thinking. And I’ve started doing that recently and just planning my outfits because I’m like I don’t have to think in the morning then.

Maria [00:42:39]:

Absolutely. And if you know everything that you own, I find obviously I go into people’s houses and go into their wardrobes and I’ve seen lots of different setups, but majority of people don’t know everything that they own, which I’ve managed my wardrobe the way that I do now for many years now. And I know every item that I own. I might put some winter stuff away and swap it over, but I know I don’t have so many clothes that I don’t know what I own, so it makes it a lot easier. As soon as you literally have things bulging, of course it’s impossible to get dressed, but how do you even pair things together? So, yeah, owning less is definitely the way forward. Once you get on top of it, you’ll think, oh my God, how did I and then, how do I manage it? But also, you then get used to letting go of things, which is another thing we’re not great at. You hold on to things that, you know, your dress that you wore to your 25th or something, you’re never going to wear it again. So either sell it on, get it out of your wardrobe or put it in a little memory box if it’s got sentimental value.

Maria [00:43:42]:

But yeah, I think when you’ve got a smaller wardrobe, you find it easier to let go of things because you think you don’t want to get it overwhelmed again.

Caroline [00:43:48]:

Yeah, no, thank you for sharing that. And also, like you said as well, I think it’s so valuable which other sustainable business owners have shared on here as well, is like, release the guilt, don’t try and be great at everything. If you’re doing one small change, then you’re trying and we’re all busy people at the end of the day and the modern world we’re trying to live in. So just trying to do something like a wardrobe detox or something like that will really help more than you think and will add that sustainable lifestyle that you’re hoping to achieve.

Maria [00:44:21]:

Yeah, absolutely.

Caroline [00:44:22]:

Wonderful. So, Maria, thank you so much. So what is next for you? Is there anything you can share with us about what’s next for you and your business?

Maria [00:44:30]:

Yeah. So I feel like I’m a bit of a pivotal position at the moment. So I’ve obviously been doing the pre love side for a long but, and this is something else, I guess I’ve learned as I’ve gone through my business is that it’s okay to sort of swipe and restructure every now and again to make sure you’re on track. Yeah. Over the summer, I’m going to get someone to help me with my pre loved, because I’ve realised that it takes a lot of my time and it’s actually taking time away from some of the other areas that I’m really passionate about moving forward. So, over the summer, I have a lovely girl who’s going to come and support me with pre loved, so then I can focus more on helping women overcome wardrobe overwhelm. So I launched an online plan that is affordable for people who are either too busy or don’t have the money to be getting someone to physically come into the house and help them.

Maria [00:45:20]:

And I launched it and I’ve had amazing reviews, but I then paused it because actually realised I didn’t have the time to manage it as well as I wanted to. So I’m going to be relaunching that, which I’m excited about in the summer, but actually making sure I have the time to do it properly and support people properly through. So that’s my focus. So, Instagram social media, definitely more about tips on how to be more sustainable without the overwhelm and sort of make better choices and a bit more education.

Caroline [00:45:56]:

So where can people find you if they’re interested in the online plan and want to get some or just some more tips about sustainable wardrobes?

Maria [00:46:04]:

So I’m Slow Style Mindset. So Instagram is slowstylemindset and my website is slowstylemindset.com. And the plan, if you want to have a look at the plan and see what that entails. But, yeah. So social media or my website, and obviously always open for people to get in touch directly if they’ve got any questions.

Caroline [00:46:27]:

Amazing. Well, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for sharing both your business and your parenthood journey, Maria, and I really look forward to hearing more about what comes next for you.

Maria [00:46:37]:

Thank you for having me. It’s really lovely.

Caroline [00:46:39]:

Thank you.

Maria [00:46:39]:

Thank you.


Thank you so much for listening to Bump to Business Owner. I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Please do rate, review, follow or subscribe wherever you’re listening. It really helps us to connect with more mums and business owners. You can DM me at Bump to Business Owner on Instagram and I’ll be back next week.