"Cut the crap: it’s as simple as you make it"

with Laura & Gemma, co-founders of Tired Mums Coffee

Show notes:

I think it’s easy from the outside to look at two women building a brand on top of growing families (Laura is on mat leave as we speak!) and working full time for the NHS to think ‘Oh wow, these women are unstoppable powerhouses’, but I loved Gemma and Laura’s honesty. The way they work isn’t for everyone; it’s full on. It’s evenings, weekends, balls are being dropped.

A conversation over bad coffee at soft play became a business, simple. But it hasn’t been easy for Tired Mums Coffee, they are building a business in a male dominated space that isn’t always so welcoming. As a purpose-led business with an outsider lens, there’s a lot of soul searching, and as mums with full time jobs, things don’t move as quickly as Laura & Gemma might hope. But as they say, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Such a beautiful conversation where the mum juggle is 100% real.

Listen in for:

  • Their careers in the NHS, how passionate they are about them, and how they balance them with business and family life
  • Going part time – the worst thing somebody can say is ‘no’
  • The reality of small business pace. As mums with full time jobs and families, things move slower than big business, we have to take care of ourselves in the process.
  • That means slower growth, but that’s OK
    Working in a male dominated space, ‘men buy coffee’ the macho/science side of the coffee world and how you manage that and the feeling of ‘do we belong here?’
  • The constant soul searching that comes with being a purpose led business, you’re always defining who you are and what you do, which can be exhausting
  • Navigating the co-founder relationship; learning not to be too polite and always having someone there to pick up the slack if the other has a lot on
  • How they do it: the way Laura & Gemma work isn’t for everyone, and it might not be feasible long term, they’re dropping balls along the way, and that’s OK
  • Having those honest and vulnerable conversations with the people in your life to make sure they are managing. We’ve all struggled, no one is there to judge

Resources:

Business Wales
Small Business Sunday

Links:

Website
Instagram
LinkedIn

 

About Tired Mums Coffee:

Gemma and Laura Peill are two tired Mums on a mission to boost the motherhood experience through creating an inclusive community for all.

They are an absolute inspiration for all of us, they are driven to make a change and start a business around full time jobs and the five children they have between them.

Gemma and Laura’s paths first crossed during their NHS careers and one day, over a conversation in a soft play centre with coffees in hand, the concept of Tired Mums Coffee was born!

Both on their second maternity leave at the time and noticing a lack of peer support for Mums. They had also recently learned of a tragic suicide of a mother and decided that they wanted to make things better.

Developing a deep love of coffee, especially since becoming increasingly sleep deprived in those years, led them to explore how coffee could be used to make positive change.

 

Tired Mums Coffee Links:

Website
Instagram
LinkedIn

Transcript:

Accountant She

Today’s episode of Bump to Business owner is proudly sponsored by Accountant She the disruptive, holistic, and person-centered accounting team helping to take you from bump to business owner and beyond. From fully outsourcing your business finances to strategic and enhanced maternity planning. We’ve got you covered and if you don’t need an accountant just yet but want completely free, accessible consumable financial education, then you can find me everywhere that you consume content at Accountant She.

Intro

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 (00:00:00):
Hello and welcome to today’s episode of Bump to Business owner. I’m your host, Caroline Marshall, and today we are talking to Gemma and Laura, founders of Tide Moms Coffee, Gemma and Laura two Tide moms on a mission to boost the motherhood experience through creating an inclusive community for all. They’re an absolute inspiration for all of us. They’re driven to make a change and start a business around full-time jobs and the five children they have between them, Gemma and Laura’s paths first crossed during their NHS careers and one day over a conversation in a soft play centre with coffees in hands. The concept of tired Mom’s coffee was born both on the second maternity leave at the time and noticing a lack of peer support for moms. They’d also recently learned of a tragic suicide of a mother and decided that they wanted to make things better. Developing a deep love of coffee, especially since becoming an increasingly secret to pride, led them to explore how coffee could be used to make a positive change. And thank you so much for coming guys. I’ve been so excited to chat to you for ages and please forgive. We are doing this in the evening. You guys have full-time jobs and I have little ones of dancing around upstairs, so we’ll see how today goes. How are you doing?

Gemma (00:02:07):
We’re good. Thank you. I feel like you are making us sound way better than what we feel like we are, but it’s very cool. Thank you.

Caroline (00:02:14):
No, not at all. I think we all need to be embraced and big up for what we’re doing. I think we all get stuck in the day-to-day grind and it’s like, hold on. I do actually do that. That’s why I do an intro because I’d easily play down what I think we do, play down what we do sometimes. Now, my first burning question was because I live in London, I think I’ve realised that I get quite good coffee at soft play. So was the coffee any good at the soft play you were at?

Laura (00:02:40):
It wasn’t amazing, was it Gemma, but we definitely had worse. So yeah, I think, and I have noticed the standard of coffee in Soft Place does seem to be getting better now. A lot of the time they’ll have a nice coffee machine there, but I think the problem is we’ve just become a little bit sort of coffee snobs since we started on this journey.

Gemma (00:03:02):
We’re the worst people to ask worst people ever.

Caroline (00:03:05):
How often do you drink coffee? I think that’s actually a great question. I wasn’t thinking of asking this.

Gemma (00:03:09):
Oh, daily.

Caroline (00:03:10):
Oh, daily obviously.

Laura (00:03:12):
Yeah, not like we do drink it daily, but not in huge amounts. So more about the quality rather than the quantity. So I’ll probably tend to have a couple of coffees a day and if I have more than that I’d have a decaf in the evening. So we’re not massively wide on coffee. I think we just try and time it at the right time of the day to make sure we get the best impact from it and make sure it’s a nice one.

Caroline (00:03:33):
Same, I’ve had to have an absolute word for myself about how much coffee I drink, not at your stage anymore. I think you can agree with Gem. There’s a point where you have to be like, yes, sleep still isn’t perfect, not amazing, but I’m not completely sleep deprived so I kind of can’t have as much as I once thought.

Gemma (00:03:51):
Yeah, I did come back off that. I think at one point you could literally cut me open and I was caffeine and sugar through and through. That was literally it. But I think we’ve turned a little bit of a corner now. Yeah,

Caroline (00:04:00):
I’m here for that corner. So there’s so many reasons I want to dig into and why I wanted you guys on here, but please, let’s just start with your careers that led to this. You both have such inspiring careers in the NHS alone, and so what has that look like for you alongside motherhood?

Gemma (00:04:16):
I mean, it’s just crazy, isn’t it? Any job alongside motherhood is crazy to juggle and I suppose I’m in the middle of performance things, daily operational issues, all that kind of stuff. To be honest, when I set foot in work, motherhood’s kind of forgotten and that sounds terrible, but just because you’re so busy on the ground delivering what you need to deliver, you kind of forget all about stuff at home and then no, I would say it’s vice versa, but it’s not it. You’re always thinking about stuff from work when you’re at home, but we are where we are. I was very lucky. I was always full-time before I had Phoebe, my eldest and I’ve managed to drop, so I worked four days instead of five. And I’m really grateful for the support with that because I think if I had to work the fifth day, I think that might tip me slightly just with everything else that’s going on.

(00:05:00):
But ultimately it’s probably the same as everybody else you’re trying to find. Well, we’re always trying to chase a balance. We, I don’t think there is a balance, it’s just peaks and troughs depending on what’s going on. But ultimately it’s just crazy. I’ve worked my way up and I’ve been fortunate to stay where I wanted to, not parts of my career for a little bit, but I’m quite happy where I am at the minute whilst I’m trying to bring up, the kids are so small and then when they get older, hopefully I’ll take off again. So I’ve been really lucky, they’re really supportive and let me kind of settle where I need to settle for now before I want to go off again, which is good.

Laura (00:05:36):
From my point of view, I did the NHS graduate scheme after uni and went down the finance route and then did that for a while. I got on my qualifications and had that really good sort of base in the NHS. And then just before I went on my first maternity leave, I moved out finance into a performance role. So I was kind of getting into grips of that role and went on maternity leave and while I, on maternity leave there was a restructure. So there was some really good opportunities in there for new roles, but they were big jobs, so kind of a bit of a promotion. And then while I was on maternity leave, I had to go through the psychometric testing and stakeholder panels, interviews, all that jazz. And I found that really hard because head’s just in a bit of a different space. When you’re on maternity leave, it’s hard to explain it, isn’t it? But I don’t think your brain works in the same way. I didn’t feel like I had that same pace. I think

Caroline (00:06:23):
You need that at the time because I also think sometimes we don’t really get it until we’re out of it and we look back on our brain and how we’re thinking and we’re like, no, I was not me.

Laura (00:06:34):
I think at the time I sort of thought, oh, I’m really, I’m finding this step harder than I probably would’ve done before, but I didn’t really know why and I think it’s more of a hindsight thing. When I did get back into work, I kind of thought actually I wasn’t my full in my full work mode at that point. I couldn’t get myself back into it because being on maternity leave, it’s definitely still a job, isn’t it? But it’s a different sort of job. So yeah, I kind of went through that and then the second maternity leave, there was another change so I came back into a different job again. And then we’ve taken on, obviously the cutoff started up the coffee things as well. So I think it is always that juggle, isn’t it? But yeah, we just keep going swimming as they say.

Gemma (00:07:18):
We’re both quite driven though. I think we both like to succeed and crack on with it and there has to be a way type thing. And I think that mentality is sort of through and through for both of us and probably is why we are sat where we are now. Really.

Caroline (00:07:32):
I can imagine Gemma, there’ll be a lot of NHS workers hopefully listening to this. So how did you approach going from five to four days? Was it quite as in approach it with people to get it signed off and things? What’s that process look like?

Gemma (00:07:46):
Yeah, I mean for me it was very individual, if that makes sense. So I’d worked there probably a good seven, eight years kind of doing what I was doing before steadily sort of up through the ranks. And when I was coming back off maternity leave, it was a similar time to law. We were on maternity leave with our first children as well as our second. So the restructure she talks about was happening then for me as well. And basically this going to sound terrible, the role that I was doing, I was sort of seconded to it before I went off on mat leave and the role, they kind of took those roles away. So that was a little bit of an advantage for me because it meant I kind of went back at substantive level, but I could also more easily negotiate, I want to say taking my foot off the gas a little bit.

(00:08:32):
I didn’t but I could drop the day if that makes sense. And was just like, can I do this? Can I do that? I think I was lucky, I knew the areas I could achieve it and I could still deliver what I needed to do on slightly lesser hours. And because that restructure was sort of going on as well, they were willing to look at it, talk about it, because at that point they could move certain things around. So it was pretty good. I mean it’s very sort of individual based. I was very lucky again after my second mat leave, I wanted to apply for the job that I’m in now. After that, when I went back, which I did, I did say though I can’t offer the full-time and they were very supportive of that. However, the jobs that we do are big job.

(00:09:13):
So I dunno if that would always be the case. I dunno if it’s great that the trust is willing to support mums in that way and say, yeah, okay, we really want you to do this. This is great, let’s see how it goes. But I don’t know if I was to leave, I dunno if it would automatically be a part-time post, if that makes sense Again or if it would go back to full-time because the other thing with the NHS is it’s almost so reactive all the time, so what’s going on? You just don’t know what’s going to be needed and things change so quickly. So I just think it is always definitely worth exploring, isn’t it? The worst thing somebody can say is no. And if they say no and you really can’t do it, then you kind of rejig your options and do something else. But it was always worth that ask for me just to see where we could go.

Caroline (00:09:57):
And you say lucky, but you’re clearly both excellent at your jobs and knew what your boundaries were and what you needed to do. So it sounds like you guys did an amazing job of that. And are you guys open at work about your, can we call it a side hustle with Tide Mom’s coffee? Yeah. Are you open about it?

Gemma (00:10:14):
We absolutely. We probably should shout about it more, but because we sort of hit the ground running every day and we walk in, it’s sort of forgotten again, isn’t it? But there’s

Laura (00:10:23):
A Friends charity that’s at the hospital and they’ve got a shop on site, so our coffee stop there. So it is nice, it’s a real nice community in the hospital where we work. So yeah, people are really supportive and they ask us about it and how they can get involved in the community. And then we’ve got obviously coffee lovers there as well. But like Gemma said, we probably should shout about it a bit more.

Caroline (00:10:43):
Well I imagine NHS is full of coffee drinkers and people waiting for coffee there.
Gemma (00:10:50):
You’ll sometimes see us on the corridor with the paper bags, with the logo ones. We’re hustling off to a meeting. I’ll just drop the beans there on the way here and I’ll just drop that there and off we go.

Caroline (00:10:59):
I love that. That’s such a community feel, isn’t it? You, I love it. So what does it look like for you to run this together alongside? How have you continued to do it? I think what I’m trying to say is I think so many women must have conversations like yours on maternity leave, but it’s going from talking about it to doing it. What did that look like for you and how does it look in practise?

Gemma (00:11:24):
I don’t think we did think about it. We were talking about this before, weren’t we discussed it in the soft play and I still remember doing it now. You were sat up on that squishy slide in the baby bit wherever we were. And it was just kind of like we were sat there, we were sat trying to think of all the reasons why it couldn’t work and we couldn’t come up with them. Normally you’ll come up with an idea, you talk it round a bit, it goes round in your head and you can usually go, okay, but then there’s this and you kind of nearly always come up with a hurdle that you just can’t get over. But we didn’t with this, so we were like, okay, fine. And then I remember you texting me going, I really can’t think of a reason why this wouldn’t work. And I was like, okay, let’s mull it over another 48 hours or whatever. And see, still couldn’t think of a reason. We talked to our partners who were both like, okay, and you could tell the pair of them were itching for something to come in that just wouldn’t work. Not in a mean way,

Caroline (00:12:18):
But no, my husband’s exactly the same and it kind of really annoys me that I’m like, okay, can we just not have the reason?

Gemma (00:12:25):
Yeah, well they couldn’t either. So we were like, okay, why not? Let’s give it a shot. We got some, I say training a bit of help and guidance from sort of local councils and things because as much as we’d run businesses before within the NH, well run services within the NHS, we’d not run our own businesses. So we’re like, okay, there’s got to be some kind of difference here. So we just did a little bit of groundwork and put the foundations in place and before we know it, we just got carried away, developed the coffee and off we went. So we probably didn’t really think about it in as much of the levels that maybe we should have. And we were sort of talking about this before and if we were to do it all over again, would we have picked coffee? Dunno, coffee obviously is quite low cost, so we need a high volume turnover to make it go anywhere, which has pressures in itself.

(00:13:14):
It only lasts so long, it’s perishable, all that kind of thing. So should we probably have started up with something ridiculously expensive that we would’ve been able to shift easier? I don’t know. But nothing ticked the box for us. The coffee and conversation, going back to what we were trying to do and how we were trying to support people. I mean the concept’s pretty simple, isn’t it? It’s checking on your mum friends. It is how conversations can actually save lives and how being honest with those conversations really can. So yeah, I don’t really think we did think really,

Caroline (00:13:44):
I love that kind of shows how your brains work as well. It was kind of like a lot of people say, oh, there’s not this space for mums and they start up an event, start up something, a podcast some might say. I love how you were, it was bringing in something else that is inspiring that conversation over coffee. Did you have any thoughts for it going down a bit of an event community route?

Laura (00:14:08):
Yeah, well I think we still grapple with this now a little bit is there are so many elements to what we do. So the core of it is obviously making the business bit has to work to enable us to do the other nice bits and we wanted it to be really good coffee and all that stuff. That was kind of the straightforward bit. But the community bit and how we give back, that’s the bit we’re always trying to evolve really and test out where we best fit because there are tonnes of organisations, charities, kicks, NHS services, a list goes on, they’re available to mums, but a lot of the time people don’t know that they’re there and then there’s just that missing a trick of just not checking in on each other and having a simple conversation. There’s some research around if you’re holding a hot drink that it makes you automatically trust and have empathy more for the person that you’re talking to.

(00:15:00):
So I think that thing about coffee and conversation, having a drink, having a chat, having a check in if something is absolutely weak can help drive that message. But in terms of the rest of it, so where we go, we have done some events or community events, face-to-face events, we had really good feedback on them, but we just want to make sure that whatever we do launch next, that it gets our full attention, it’s consistent and we are clear where we fit in and how we work with others because the partnership, it’s really important. We’re not just trying to be a standalone organisation trying to fix everything, it’s where we fit as part of that community of mums really.

Gemma (00:15:35):
And at the minute the reality is time, as awful as it sounds, just we would, as Laura was saying, we’d have so many plans we’d love to go four times faster than what we’re doing, but we’ve got to be realistic as well and we’ve got to look after ourselves in that whole process. Otherwise we’d be a bit well hypocrisy whatever to the calls, however you say it. But yeah, it’s about the reality is we love it, we have a passion for it and we enjoy it. But you’ve got your NHS jobs, you’ve got your mum head on, you’ve got partners, you’ve got houses, you’ve got pets, you’ve got all that kind of thing going on as well. So we can only give it so much and it’s just making sure to be kind to ourselves as well and make sure we’re kind of practising what we’re preaching I suppose.

Caroline (00:16:15):
I love that there’s so much to top on that. Firstly I didn’t know about the evidence and the warm coffee, but also like you said, and that’s always something I say is with my business growth is that at the end of the day, I’m a mom and I don’t want it to come at the sacrifice of my health because what good is that to anyone or to any of the team or the clients? And it’s the same, it goes against what you’re trying to do as mothers, as business owners. And that’s so inspiring to hear because I think sometimes we’re like, oh I just want to do this yesterday and it’s okay to take time and do these things. Especially at the stage we are all at the similar age of kids’ life and five and under aren’t we? And on this call. So it’s kind of like knowing that it’s very intense and you guys work full time, like you said, you’ve got to have that grace

Gemma (00:17:01):
And I’m not sure it gets any easier, if that makes sense.

Caroline (00:17:05):
Yeah, I’m not saying

Gemma (00:17:06):
It. We were sort of chanting earlier and from when this was all born and the youngest were what? Probably about one I think was it maybe than that they

Laura (00:17:15):
Were, yeah, they were one,

Gemma (00:17:17):
Yeah, it might even been before that and now they’re sort of nearly three. But actually in that time, the eldest who have started school and for me that whole, it was almost easier when people were just in, not easy but easier when they’re in nursery. I mean once they start school it was the whole, oh my gosh, you’ve got to book lunches online these days and you’ve got to remember to pack their school bags and oh you have to read with ’em and record it in a diary. And there’s a thing called bug club where you have to do this and I mean we got told off the teacher had a word because not told off she’s very nice, I’d forgotten log on or hadn’t logged onto bug clubs. I didn’t really understand or have a clue what it was and I just didn’t have the headspace to process another thing I was thinking, gosh, and then Emily will be there as well and that’d be two of them to do all this for. And there’s always something isn’t there. And from mums we’ve talked to at events and things, they talk about their teenagers and they start driving or there’s bullying or those, I dunno, they start going out on nights out, just whatever it is, it just sort of gets bigger and bigger and I’m like wow, this seems to just get more and more intense actually.

Caroline (00:18:16):
It’s like the brain space gets worse. Yeah, I hard agree. I’ve got an eldest in school and the amount this week alone, I’ve had to remember drop off books for charity this day, pens for charity, another day, recycling material. This is all stuff that is literally happening as we record and I’m like…

Gemma (00:18:32):
And you’ve just reminded me I’ve forgotten a red nose or something. I’m sure I was supposed to buy one of those this week. I can’t remember.

Caroline (00:18:36):
It’s insane. And also I did want to hop back to you, you said you got help from your local council and I always think that stuff is really important. So what kind of support did you find to set up your business?

Laura (00:18:48):
From what we found anyway, it seems to vary depending on where you live. So for me, business Wales have a programme for startup businesses, so you tend to get a series of webinars and then you get access to a mentor for a period of time and then after that depending on what funding is available, you can tap into different sorts of mentors or marketing support and just keeping an eye out really of what’s there. And then Gemma’s based in structure. So she was able to access this programme called Good to Great, which is a similar sort of thing really webinars where to help you understand business basics, make sure you’ve thought about all the pitfalls and things and even things like looking after your wellbeing are in there before you go full pel into it. You’ve got the foundations there and it also helps you build up a bit of a network of startups that are in a similar boat. So it obviously doesn’t make you an expert, but it was just really good basic foundation knowledge into almost bit of a checklist to make sure you’ve thought of everything. We

Gemma (00:19:45):
Still go back to it now we in terms of I was thinking yeah the good to great was over eight weeks and it was a different topic each week, be it finance, be it, it was everything you need really for a business plan. And then because I think the idea was you go off and apply for loans or whatever is you need to do. But yeah, I mean the fundamental bit is, and then we ask ourselves is probably monthly what do we do? And you think it’s so easy, but actually that whole elevator pitch thing and if we were to bump into you Caroline and have to tell you quickly and a fourth floor elevator ride what we do and even now we still struggle because there’s so many different parts to us to sort of nail that elevator pitch and I think people sort of write certain parts off or just think, oh that’s fine, that’s fine. But actually for us it was like, no, this is really important and every now and then we go down rabbit holes, don’t we? And get carried away with things and it’s like, but actually what do we do? And I think was it two years we’ve been going since the idea was born? Sorry not trading but it’s almost, yeah and we are still saying regularly what do we do?

Caroline (00:20:41):
Well I think all businesses do and I still have that, what do we do and who’s it for? Because our customer has changed hugely in the past three and a half years. And so of course businesses pivot and I see that a lot with the clients we work with. And I think something else you said was so valuable there is that the fact it connected you with other founders very easy. I mean I think it’s still essentially, I dunno maybe a bit easier to be not too self-involved when at least there’s two of you, but it’s very easy to be self-involved and not remember that there’s others around you like you and it’s like what you do with bringing your coffee to moms to talk and connect. It’s the same what you’ve done by reaching out and getting local founders as well, isn’t it?

Laura (00:21:23):
Absolutely. And it’s that thing about when you talked about who your customers are. So for us initially we were sort of thinking, obviously our message is about coffee and conversation and supporting mums and that was part of our mission, but our coffee was never meant to sort of just be for a certain group of people. We wanted everybody to enjoy it. And actually a lot of our customers, they’re not mums, we have all sorts of people buy it

Gemma (00:21:46):
Dad’s as well.

Caroline (00:21:48):
Oh I bought it for my husband, it was in his stocking so he’s been drinking it.

Gemma (00:21:53):
What did he think?

Caroline (00:21:54):
He loved it. Yeah, he’s a coffee snob. Unlike me, I’ve got worse over the years but I’m not quite as good as him. So yeah, he’s a good tick box.

Gemma (00:22:05):
Well it’s really strange because the coffee industry is quite well, it is pretty masculine so it’s almost that whole and you can almost see it sometimes. And I probably would’ve been in a spoke a couple of years ago as well. But it is interesting in terms of the mums and coffee, we think of it as quite naturally what we do. But you see people go, oh we’ve had that many conversations, why wrote a blog on it really in the end of how, oh I like real coffee but oh no, I dunno how to make it. Oh it’s a bit difficult. And I had a conversation with a friend a couple of weeks ago actually who’s now on a C and off and she’s flying with it because they just think it’s almost too hard compared with the teabag or something. But then also it’s very, oh I don’t know, he buys the coffee or he does the bits.

(00:22:47):
And it was a really interesting dynamic that because I remember saying to you at one event we did and I said, oh gosh, really does seem to be men that just buy the coffee not in our house and it probably isn’t in many so it’s probably just my little bubble that we’ve been in. But actually you start getting into the coffee bit and it is quite all sy and everything’s very macho and it’s quite a male world and we’re sort of two women in that and you can see sometimes we did a bit of a barista course and they were quite like, alright, okay, very willing to push us out as not really knowing what we’re doing. And we were like, come on, this is ridiculous,

Caroline (00:23:25):
This is just

Gemma (00:23:26):
Cut the crap. We just want women to enjoy decent coffee and connect with other women. That is it. It’s as simple as you want to make it. It’s as sciencey as you want to make it, but it’s as simple as you want to make it. So I guess that’s where our little niche hopefully sits.

Caroline (00:23:41):
You are absolutely right because I’ve never really thought about it. Some of the other competitors, Lux brands, my husband’s brought home and everything from the packaging is quite masculine. And for you to feel like that is ridiculous when, I’m sorry it surely must be 50 50 people drink coffee.

Gemma (00:24:00):
What obviously we had, we’ve had stockists one said, oh but your label’s quite feminine, it’s men that buy the coffee here so you’ll be up against the boys coffee type thing.

Caroline (00:24:13):
You’ll be like, yes, put us against the boys’ coffee, go for it,

Gemma (00:24:17):
Give it a whirl. We’re not trying to take over the world ruin the boys’ coffee. But yeah, it’s quite interesting.

Caroline (00:24:23):
Oh gosh, it’s almost again not enough space there. That sounds, yeah, thank you for sharing that because that’s a really interesting one. I’m sure there’s many people in different industries that could relate to that being quite heavily gendered and let’s all go by some mum’s coffee to prove that women do buy the coffee in our houses and I’m always fascinated chatting to co-founders on the podcast. How do you guys work out your strengths and boundaries and how you work together?

Gemma (00:24:52):
I guess we naturally have different strengths and I suppose we had a bit of a laugh with this when we first started working together. I think one of the main advantages is Laura and I worked together before we were friends so we almost knew how to work together more than we knew how to be friends with each other, which was always helpful in this scenario. And we’ve got very different strengths. So I dunno if you picked up on earlier, I’m very operational background. Laura’s got a finance background, she’s got the ability to see the other side. I haven’t got the ability to do the finance bit. So it’s quite funny how we naturally gravitate to, Laura’s really great with spreadsheets, she loves a spreadsheet to do all the bits she needs to do. I’m just nodding a along going haven’t got a clue. Whereas I’ll lean towards other things and we’ve kind of just adopted this little bit along the way, haven’t we?

Laura (00:25:42):
Yeah, I think it hasn’t really been planned has it? And I think we communicate a lot through WhatsApp as well, so we’re constantly firing a quick WhatsApp I to make sure we’re in the loop because we don’t have a luxury of having an hour meeting every day or whatever or half a day a week. So I think we are just kind of always mindful of each other going, what do we need to check in on here? A lot of the time we know we give each other permission just to crack on, but it’s kind of just using your judgement to know when we need to check in and we just naturally do that. Really

Gemma (00:26:14):
Being honest. I was going to say it was one of the big things we’d said at the beginning because you just saying then about who’s doing what and I remember that conversation I where we’re going and it was almost like you could at the beginning when you’re settling into it and it’s kind of, oh I’ve done this or I’ve done this. Okay, well is that okay? Oh don’t you think I’m not pulling my weight? And I remember Laura going, look, if we’re going to start checking up on what each other’s doing, we are never going to get this off the ground. I know you are. I know I am. And I was like, oh god for that. Yeah, fine. And we’ve sort of flown with it ever since and we just make sure being honest, however hard it is. There’s a couple of times we have had those real conversations where like, oh my god, what are we doing? Can I do this? I’m really struggling. Oh my god. But we’ve managed to keep the communication lines open at all times, however hard, which I think has been a real good thing.

Caroline (00:26:57):
And I guess it’s that openness as well from something you said a minute ago that one of you is going to make a mistake if you haven’t already a mistake that the other one doesn’t quite agree with and it’s just talking it through and that communication side of it and acknowledging that yeah, you’re not always, there’s going to be one of you make a call that you’re like, I wouldn’t have made that call but you had for whatever reason have to run with it if you go on holiday. Have you guys taken a break either the review and left the other one to it?

Gemma (00:27:24):
Yeah, totally.

Laura (00:27:25):
We accidentally both ended up on holiday at the same time we left Gemma’s dad was in charge for a week.

Caroline (00:27:33):
How did he do? What was his rating?

Gemma (00:27:36):
He was fine. Interim, he was fine. I was like there’s always WhatsApp dial so you can ask me. That’s fine. I

Caroline (00:27:43):
Love that. I think more founders should do that. I think so many struggle and just crack on through their holiday, whereas you should totally do that. Find a trusted family member, be like, here’s what you need to do and here’s what WhatsApp otherwise would love to dig in a little to your maternity leave Laura. So how did you guys prep for that in the lead up to you deciding to assume, take some time off to see how as we had a brief conversation, Laura before we started recording that every baby is different and every maternity leave is different and you don’t really know till you get there how it’s going to go. So how did you guys prep for that?

Laura (00:28:18):
I think it is hard to know, isn’t it? Before the baby comes along, how are you’re going to feel and how the baby’s going to be and all of that stuff. So we kind of didn’t plan it too much.

Gemma (00:28:29):
You didn’t. I was like, you are having a baby in about four weeks now, can you just not, okay, I think I can make this. I was like, do you know you’re having a baby in a couple of weeks? And she’s like, yeah, it’d be fine. Well it won’t be fine will it? What? Just no, no. I remember saying to Neil, I’m really uncomfortable. She just woke back off.

Laura (00:28:51):
It’s a bit of entertainment though, isn’t it? When your due date’s nearly there and people say to you, oh when to baby you and you’re like in a week and they go, why don’t they?

Caroline (00:28:59):
I loved that with my first, I was 10 days past the due date and I was so bored it was pre covid so I’d just go out and everyone would be like, when are you due? And I’d be like last week,

Gemma (00:29:10):
Panic. Panic.

Caroline (00:29:13):
When did you wrap up from work then for this baby? Did you take maternity leave?
Laura (00:29:20):
Yeah, I saved up some of my annual leave. So I think I finished about three or four weeks before my due date and there was a half term just before it as well. So I actually finished it. We went to Scotland for a week and that was nice, but then the week that I was due we had about 60 parcels to get out so I was doing those thinking I need to get those done and they all needed to be gift wrap and everything. I thought I’ll just, I’ll crack on with those and then I’ll have a few days where I can get on top of some of the things and then the baby will here. And then I literally was, I think I got the last ones out to the postman and then I pretty much went into labour so there was no, and then I think I almost was thinking I’ll crack up with my coffee stuff and I’ll get on with my life admin things and that didn’t really happen because he decided to come a little bit early.

Caroline (00:30:08):
I’d love to touch on a little, because we talk about this being your side hustle, your full-time jobs. Have you got a plan for thinking if this will go further and maybe one of you spends more time in the business or even goes full time one day? What are your thinkings on that

Gemma (00:30:23):
At the minute? I think because of time restrictions and everything, if it feels like an impossibility if ever type thing, if that makes sense. And we’re quite, I mean if you said to me, would you like your coffee to be a million pound turn of a business? Obviously I’m going to go like yeah, course who wouldn’t? But in terms of the reality of how fast we can move things and we can execute things well, it’s not going to be a fast thing. I think where we’re quite stuck is we’re passionate about the NHS as much as we’re passionate about the coffee and I think that’s quite clear from the amount of time that we have spent working for the NHS and what we do there and how we keep pushing and driving that in the same way we keep pushing and driving sort of tired mums.

(00:31:10):
So it’s a little bit of, I suppose at the minute it’s another thing that it’s a little bit of a pull between the two because we’re passionate about both. So I can’t see myself going, no, that’s it, I’m done with my NHS career. I’m very much not. If that makes sense. So I think it’s probably safe to say it’ll always be a bit of a side hustle. It’d be lovely if we did get some income off it, that would be marvellous. But no, at this moment in time I think we’ve got so much we’re trying to do just to sort of firmly get the business. It’s not really on the radar.

Caroline (00:31:42):
And I dunno if you’ve heard of the march muses on here and they’re exactly the same and it’s their side hustle and they’ve brought people on in the business as freelancers I think at the minute I don’t think they’ve got any employers, but that’s another way of doing it when you’re trying to present ways to women to create businesses side hustles. Another way of doing it is that, yeah, there’s things like packaging and customer services that your kids might get old enough and they do all of that

Gemma (00:32:10):
Free labour. I like it, it’s their pocket

Caroline (00:32:12):
Money. But yeah, they’ve brought people on for certain parts of the businesses and that’s always a way to go. So then when you are spending time on it, it could be more strategic. It’s always good to hear lots of different stories and ways of doing it and not necessarily giving up your day job, especially if you love it.

Gemma (00:32:28):
I mean it’s hard isn’t it? We want to do too many things probably, but ultimately you never know where life’s going to take you though. I mean I didn’t know we’d be sort of sat here two, three years ago. You just don’t know what’s going to happen in the next, you just dunno you and I think we’re quite flexible and adaptable that we’re okay with that.

Laura (00:32:45):
I think it’s good isn’t it as well to sort of use your brain in different ways because like Gemma said, our jobs are really challenging in the NHS, but it does use a different part of your brain I think when it’s your own business you kind have to learn a whole set of new different skills, don’t you? And even though you’re busier, it is good for you. I think it can kind of a different fire in your belly and you learn and it just makes you a more rounded person and the skills are transferable often you can sort of bring different things to the two different roles and work out how you can use those skills in different ways. I think that’s quite nice to do.

Caroline (00:33:21):
Yeah, I’m a huge fan of things that bring you joy as part of looking after yourself and you can tell people to. It is definitely that as well.

Gemma (00:33:29):
Highs and lows isn’t there, like Laura said before, because it’s your baby, you feel the highs and the lows more than you would if it was somebody else’s baby or you’re working for somebody else. But then equally I love the highs. Like Neil will say to me, oh my gosh, he said, but when you two get a win, however, so you can just see it in you, the pair of you are just woo on the ceiling. And I was like, I suppose we are. But then I suppose equally buff, it goes the other way when we get a bit of a blow whereas, and I think in terms of that business world, it’s quite nice because it gives us the two. I’ve always had a bit of an itch to scratch I suppose in terms of setting up my own business and it’s done exactly that for me. And you really understand the pros and cons of salary versus self-employed and annual leave versus never switching off versus somebody’s there when you turn your laptop and you can put an out of office on and you can’t really there. And it’s just interesting all the different comparisons between the two,

Caroline (00:34:27):
Especially with how senior you are in the NHS and being on a leadership sort of area for that. I can imagine it would be hard to switch off. I worked for senior leaders in the NHS and it was definitely harder for them than for me at that time as a PA to switch off. I’d be like, see I’m gone. So it’s interesting to know for you guys, you feel it’s definitely harder as a business owner to do that kind of thing. You just need to get your dad trained up and

Gemma (00:34:57):
Well actually you say this, we won Theo Protus, we won the small business Sunday award and we were supposed to go and pick it up at, was it a couple of Fridays ago I think now in Birmingham. And we were like, oh that’s fine. All of a sudden the dates crept round. Of course Nico’s still pretty new and still feeding every couple of hours. And I thought, oh god, Laura, you’re not going to enjoy that if you go there and just have to keep dipping out every hour poor will be in the car park with the baby and the others trying to sort them out. And then I had an NHSE cancer peer review thing that I needed to do and I was like, wow, there’s no way we can get out of this. So my sister and my dad went along instead of us and got the award for us and got their picture taken and everything and they had a great day and they took loads of photos and brought back the goodie bag and they did some of the events and were writing all the things down that they thought would be important.

(00:35:50):
And it was just really lovely. I mean, yeah, Holly had the hoodie on that you’ve got on and it was just really nice. I

Caroline (00:35:55):
Bet they were so excited and they were like, this is what it’s like for you guys. And you’re like, no, not every day.

Gemma (00:36:02):
It did sound absolutely brilliant. So I think we can go next year, but it was just one of those days where just the stars would not align. Everything just crashed into one and we just had to do something but we needed to get that certificate as well. So off they went

Caroline (00:36:16):
And was it really good entering that? I don’t think I’ve ever discussed the small business. What’s it called again for people who dunno on here in case they might want to enter?

Laura (00:36:23):
Yeah, it’s not small business Sunday, so it’s hashtag SBS on X or on Instagram you can enter through either of those platforms and then theo selects three winners on each platform every week. So you then get brought into a community and then you get to go to this annual event and it’s a really nice, again, it’s another really nice supportive network. There’s a closed Facebook group and on there people are always trying to help each other. So it’s actually a really nice one to enter I’d say. And it’s free to enter, so I

Caroline (00:36:57):
Amazing. And how many times did you have to enter to get it?

Laura (00:37:00):
We got I think the second or the third time we got it. So I think we were quite lucky because I think only about 1% of people win one. So yeah, I think we’re pretty for that.

Gemma (00:37:10):
I love it

Caroline (00:37:12):
And I’m always fascinated it must be you guys obviously NHS service professionals and I’m a service-based professional in private sector, so I’m always just kind of how do you go from getting your product? What did that kind of look like when you’re like, right, we’re going to do it, we’re going to do coffee. And then you’re like, how

Gemma (00:37:34):
We did that? We were like, oh, how do we do this? Right? And then we had a bit of a Google as you do and there were lots of places that would do white label as they call it, where they’ll just do the coffee and you stick your label on and I went, oh, it doesn’t really feel right. Laura was like, no, should I feel like that would be, what did you say? All fur coat and no knickers.

Laura (00:37:54):
It’s probably not like a PC term, but I remember, I think my grandma used to say all fur coat and no knickers. I didn’t want it to be, we got this amazing coffee brand and actually it’s just someone else’s coffee with our label on it. We wanted to be able to be really proud of it. So we kind of went down that journey to find the right roastery.

Gemma (00:38:14):
So we set out for the knickers and make sure that they were really, really good and they were hours, if that makes sense. So it took slightly longer and was a bit harder, but it was the right thing to do. Again, it’s all back to building on the foundations and we sort of learned by this point as well a little bit, as you probably know, you have to work with people who align with your branding, messaging, values, all that kind of thing. So we wanted to make sure we worked with well a mum really. And we were very lucky and we did so we worked with someone who’s got two boys I think, and she was fantastic in terms of getting us all the way through the process. We didn’t have a clue. Amazing. Designed the blends with her. We went up to do a cupping that was quite funny. I’d never really heard of a cupping. It’s like a wine tasting but with fancy spoons and you definitely spit the coffee out saying definitely yes, we did panic then

Caroline (00:39:06):
They call it a cupping. That’s an interesting term, isn’t it? I know. We

Gemma (00:39:10):
Were like, you have to make that funny noise to slurp it through, which just felt so alien with all these people we didn’t know in the room and then spit it back out and go round. It was really good. It was good fun actually. But I’m sure we were, I dunno, high on caffeine, we hadn’t even swallowed any, it was bizarre.

Caroline (00:39:26):
Just the smell. Are there any qualifications for it? Like wine tasting?

Laura (00:39:30):
Yeah, yeah, it is a whole world when you look into it because the blending of the coffee side of it and the roasting bit and then sourcing of the beans and the sustainability side of it and then there’s obviously all of the legalities around the roastery and making sure it’s meeting all of the guidelines and things. And then there’s the barcode for retail. So it’s a huge learning curve to understand the whole process really. And that was again why we chose to work with an established roastery that would let us develop our own blends because knew realistically if we wanted to do that, start our own roastery from day one, that wasn’t going to be doable for us with our day jobs. So as much as we’d love to do that, we thought we’ll go down that route and work with people who really know what they’re doing so we can bring a really good coffee to the market in quite a short amount of time. In about six months I think we had our first blends delivered, so still a long time we’re back into making sure we got them, but compared to setting our own business, sorry, roast Street at premises, et cetera, it was doable then Did you do it

Caroline (00:40:34):
Alongside the branding? Yeah,

Gemma (00:40:37):
Yeah, yeah. All kicked it off at the same time and then it all, I remember that was a bit of a bad week when it was all supposed to come together and it never quite comes as it’s supposed to. We were like, oh my gosh. But then the roastery with the decaf, that was the funny bit and it came and our decaf mountain water washed, so it actually tastes like coffee. I dunno how to explain it. You probably know from throughout pregnancy or whatever reason you choose to drink decaf, that’s fine, but it has to taste like coffee. Not this, I don’t want to say it, but there’s some of the big brands out there and you have decaf and it’s decaf because it’s just not as nice and we didn’t want that. But then I remember trying this one, I was like, no, it’s definitely you’ve got caffeine and it’s too strong. It’s too strong. You’re going to have to tell them and send it back. So I remember Laura going, yay, that’s fine. Yeah, fine. I spoke to her, yeah, she’s going to send it again. And then I was like, really? And I think this happened about three times, I was like, she’s probably mixed the bags up or something from when we did the cupping and all the beans are muddled and you were like, I’m sure that it’s decaf. I’m not speaking to them again. This is the one

Caroline (00:41:39):
I’ll have five cups and show you.

Gemma (00:41:43):
It was really funny. Absolutely fine, that’s fine.

Caroline (00:41:47):
I’ve never even, but you can’t get that wrong can you? That’s the thing.

Gemma (00:41:51):
And that’s why I was nervous that we were going, oh yeah, it’s lovely. And then we actually got it and we were trying something completely different and yeah, it was definitely the deca.
Caroline (00:42:00):
Has that been one of your most stressful things? Is there anything here you could stress one of your most stressful things so far?

Laura (00:42:05):
I think it’s just the general rollercoaster. We’ve had a few things. The very first stockist we went into it was in Chester and it was going really well and the sales were increasing. Then we had a really, really good month with ’em. We thought, yeah, we’re getting somewhere here and then they went bust. So we had a lot of stock in there and obviously we didn’t get the payment for the sales. We did manage to get most of our stock back. So it wasn’t a massive deal in the scheme of things. But it’s kind of like Gem said, all those lows and all those things that happen, they feel really personal. And then when you’re always challenging yourself going, oh do we really fit in this world? We are not a roastery and we’re into, although we admire people who know all the science around the coffee in terms of the big fancy machines and everything that doesn’t float our boat, we’re bringing a slightly different message and we don’t really fit.

(00:42:58):
So I think it’s always that challenge about what do we do? What do we bring? What is our niche? And that constant soul searching can be quite draining to make sure that we are doing the right thing and we’re doing something good because we’re quite purpose driven. We’re always going back to that. And I think it’s probably more that general thing about, it’s quite draining and you can have a really good week. You’ll know this I’m sure where you think everything’s clicking into place. We’re flying, we’ve got some new really good stock is on board, or we’ve had a nice big bulk order and the next week it can go really quiet and you think, oh no, what’s happened? And it’s probably just a general life, but it just feels, isn’t it? It’s a lot and you worry a lot more. So I think for me it’s more that constant, everything feels quite personal and

Gemma (00:43:42):
Hard and it’s all the feedback. And we are very open to like, oh, please tell us what you think. If something doesn’t look right or it’s not quite there, please tell us we’re more than happy. And we genuinely are. We’re not defensive about stuff. We like to work on it all the time. But there’s been times where I can’t remember the specific comments, but somebody sort of said one thing and then the next person’s like with this one, okay, fine. And then they say this and then they say that. And I’m like, oh no. And I’ve sort of gone, I don’t really know now because we’ve had so much feedback, which is great, but it’s also conflicting and whatever else. I’m not quite sure which way up sometimes. So you’re trying to constantly get that validation or that what do I need to change? But then sometimes you can still not be quite sure which bit to change because there’s too much coming in. So it’s a real minefield trying to take it all on board.

Caroline (00:44:34):
It’s so true when you want that feedback, but you’re getting it from different places, different tastes, I can imagine with you. And actually really timely. I read a post today, a post from a big paternity brand. They’re not big, they’re a small business, but they’re a well-known maternity clothing brand about being a small business and customers getting impatient. And I think in today’s world, which you guys must heavily to relate to is people don’t always understand when you’re a small business. And I’ve actually received a comms today myself and I was like, you need to understand it’s just me running this and I’m really hot on it. But sometimes something slips.

Gemma (00:45:09):
Yeah, evening thing. We’re grateful to you very much for doing this in the evening where we can come unstuck. Where you get, well we can do nine to five Monday to Friday, we can do nine till three. And I know I have my one day in the week, but I do like to spend that with my 2-year-old and I have other bits to do and school runs and it’s like, oh no. Oh no. How do we fit this all in?

Caroline (00:45:31):
I think we can also relate to that as being the hardest part, especially in a really fast world where people can be quite harsh on small businesses sometimes majority of the people lovely, but occasionally it can feel like we’re running at small business pace sometimes or have to just to,

Gemma (00:45:49):
And it’s trying to find that for us, Laura was saying before about finding our niche and it is very much in how we bring all the parts together. So like the community bit and the campaign and the coffee and how we bring everything together. Whereas, and I think we went a little bit because of the way the coffee world can be and it can be very sciencey and it has to be very this and some of the feedback and the messaging and you’re trying to take it all on board. And I think we almost got a big sense of imposter syndrome around how, oh my gosh, we don’t roast own coffee because we haven’t learned how to roast coffee in six months. Oh my god. So we really need to go gung-ho at that side of it So we’re trying to do everything that we could quite rightly to bring the support to mums that we wanted to do, and then we didn’t quite execute the business side of it that well. And ultimately if we don’t have the business side, we can’t do the bit we want to do with the community and the giving back and all that kind of thing. So I think that’s where we’re at almost now, is how we take all of this learning from the past 12, 18 months and actually drive the right bits forward in the right way and make sure we execute it well and that we can continue on the journey to do what we want to do. I

Caroline (00:46:57):
Love that. Talking about your, basically what we’re talking about was imposter syndrome, but wanting to do things well and I think so many female founders I speak to, I live in London, we’re surrounded by a lot of tech bros and things, and it can feel like that we might not be, coffee industry is saying is very masculine and it can feel like that running a business or a lot of our clients we support are men and I know what I’m doing as a service and sometimes I really have to make I think more of an effort than my male equivalents to remember.

Gemma (00:47:29):
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s again, yeah, where do we fit in? It’s that constant reassessment and soul switching as Laura said.

Caroline (00:47:36):
Yeah. You guys probably have loads of insight into this, honestly, your jobs are very intense. You guys have two kids now you’ve got three Laura and I can’t even imagine that. How do you fit? And you’ve got this business, so how do you feel when there are mothers around you being like, how on earth do you do it and what do you think of that term?

Gemma (00:47:57):
I think the reality for us is how we actually do it is probably other people’s nightmare. The reality for us really is, and probably for lots of other moms as well, from the second you open your eyes to the second you go to bed, you’re juggling everything and having to spend time on everything. Certainly Monday to Friday, we probably have a couple of hours off Saturday, a couple of hours off Sunday. But the reality is there isn’t the level of downtime that there potentially should be for everything that we’re juggling. And that’s not, some weeks it’s better than others. It’s the whole peaks and troughs thing again. And that’s good. But in terms of the how do you do it? I mean if you want to do something you’ll find a way as we have whether you can continue on that long-term as it is or whether you need to make changes in your life to adapt to whatever it’s you want to do.

(00:48:53):
That’s something else. But that’s how we do it at the moment is I suppose we sacrifice sort of, I don’t know, it’s one of those I just said before I forgot to buy a red nose or something because I’ve missed something at school, but I’m winning at something else. If I do well at the NHS job, I find that I’m being a bad partner or mum or something. If I’m winning at the coffee, I’ve forgotten to make a packed lunch. If I’m winning at everything else, the coffee’s been neglected. It’s sort of that. There is no way to say that we are just on top of everything all the time and we are really good at it. We’re not. We make as many mistakes as the next person. We drop more balls than you’ve probably ever seen in your life because we’ve got so many balls we’re trying to keep up in the air, but that is how we do it. We just keep going and try the best we can and oops, dais in. Try not to dwell in the, don’t want to say failure, but the dark bit. But we are lucky we’ve got each other as well to banks off and it’s not often we’ll both be on a down. So if I’m having a bit of a, Laura usually will pick up, whereas if Laura is on a bit of a down, I’ll pick up. So it works quite

Caroline (00:49:53):
Well. And yeah, I think no matter what as a founder, you’ve got to be up for an element of that chaos. You’re not going to have all your ducks in a row and everything sorted, which I like to be transparent about. And just bearing that in mind, do you have any tips or, because also you’re so, and I love that, and the point is about moms having the space to talk and things. Is there anything you do, whether it’s five minutes or something that carves out time for you?

Gemma (00:50:21):
We make coffee and I know that sounds ridiculous, but Laura hit the nail on the head a few months ago, if not longer than that. Coffee is the self-care. Sometimes just having a few minutes to grind the beans and put them in the machine or put the MOA pot on or whatever it is you are doing, just gives you that focus on something else for five minutes while you prepare it.

Laura (00:50:43):
It’s a ritual, isn’t it? It is a ritual. And no matter how, if you’ve got time, put your beans through the grinder and use your machine. If that floats your boat, do all that and it feels quite special then. Or if you are just having a really bad day, you need to pick me up. You can make a cafeteria with one hand with screaming baby can’t. You can kind of adapt it, but you can pretty much, you can find a few minutes to make in the coffee and have a nice hot drink. Gemma is actually better than me. Other self-care things. You’ve just started running again
Gemma, haven’t you? But at the minute I just find I’m just probably in survival mode with having,

Gemma (00:51:18):
I was going to say you’ve got a three month old. I haven’t.

Caroline (00:51:20):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I didn’t expect you Laura, to really have all the tips. I’d be a bit scared if you did right now,

Gemma (00:51:27):
But I do think that a really simple one, and I got it off a lady we talked to in one of our really early chats was breathing and I can’t remember if it’s called triangle breathing or square breathing or circle breathing square. There we go. So you go into four, is it hold to four out for four, hold for four,

Caroline (00:51:44):
Hold

Gemma (00:51:44):
For four. Because I suddenly became quite aware of when stuff gets on top of me, and I usually notice this at night when I’m lying in bed, but I don’t tend to breathe. I mean obviously I do breathe, but it becomes so shallow and you think, oh, okay. So I’ve really kind of made myself at that point do the square breathing and it is funny what a few deep breaths and thingies of that can actually just bring stuff back down again. So I’ve started putting that in my day because I just noticed there was just more and more, I suppose the more we’re trying to do. I was just lying then I was like, wow, I haven’t taken a breath for, can’t remember.

Caroline (00:52:17):
That’s such a good tip. That’s so powerful. And I think we started going onto this, but do you have any more tips because just going back to your purpose and to end it on there, I know from going through some stuff sometimes and also in the past you think, oh, I could have supported someone better. So a breathing, making a coffee. Is there any other tips you’ve got to share about someone who might be inspired to support mothers feel less alone?

Gemma (00:52:43):
I mean for me, if you want to support moms feel less alone, be honest about what it’s like and it’s the whole, we’re all guilty of it. We all post when stuff’s good. We don’t very much post when stuff’s bad. It’s that whole for somebody that’s struggling. And we’ve had a few people say to us, we’ve done the mums a fine campaign and we talk about things deliberately without the roast tinted glasses on and without the perfect shots. And a few people have said, oh my god, I relate to that. It’s so nice to know that somebody else feels like me. And I think if you want to help other people, it’s kind of breaking these walls down and this sort of comparisons and these competitive, we’ve got it all. We haven’t got it all. None of us have got it all. Even if it looks like it.

(00:53:30):
And it’s just almost, if you’re worried about someone, check in on somebody. Have those conversations. Listen, but be honest. And I mean really listen to what they’re saying and kind of, yeah, be honest with your own experiences. It’s not all been rosy and it isn’t for any of us, is it? It’s bloody hard work. So it’s just, yeah, for me it’d be that I’m fed up with going on Instagram and seeing all these, I dunno. Or they might talk about that they’re struggling, but they’ve got their lovely spray tans and their beautiful makeup and their hairs blow dried. Well yeah, you really look like it and it sounds awful, but for the normal person you just can’t relate to in that way. So it’s nice to see more normal people talking about more normal things and breaking down the barriers and not being ashamed of stuff either.

(00:54:12):
It’s okay to say you’re not okay, it’s okay to struggle with it. God, there were periods where I heavily resented my 2-year-old because it was just so hard and I knew it would pass, but I was like, wow. And it’s a horrible feeling like that and it eats you up and you don’t want to talk about it, but I was like, wow, I really, really don’t like it very much at the minute, which is a horrible thing to say, but to pass as I knew it would. But when you are stuck in that and you feel like you are on your own or it’s only you that might feel like that and this is so bad, that’s the time when you need somebody to say, oh no, I felt like this or I did this.

Caroline (00:54:48):
That’s it. You need those friends or those people just to be like, it’s okay, we’ve gone through the horrible tantrum phase kind of thing. And it isn’t just you rather than pretending all our kids are perfect because none of us are.

Gemma (00:55:05):
No.

Laura (00:55:06):
I think as well you always, I think a lot of the time, not just with being a mum, but in life generally you sort of feel, oh, what’s that person going to think? And you sort of think about other people’s judgement of you and things, but actually a lot of the time everyone else is so busy, they’ve got so much going on, they’re not really judging you, they don’t really care. So you should just do what’s right for you and be honest with yourself and not just try and keep up with somebody on Instagram. Have those honest conversations and more than likely than not, even if somebody hasn’t been through it, they’ll have empathy for what you’ve been through. You’re not going to be judged negatively. You’ve all been through horrible things and want to support each other, but I think you just sometimes think, don’t you, that person’s going to think this of me. Most of the time they don’t think negatively, negatively obviously. Sometimes they don’t even notice because they’re too busy with everything else they’ve got going on.

Gemma (00:55:56):
Yeah, they’re too busy.

Caroline (00:55:57):
It’s about post when people, founders start initially and they’re struggling to post on social media, it’s that whole thing now actually people are largely too busy thinking about their own content than to worry about yours.

Gemma (00:56:08):
Exactly. We were exactly the same. It felt horrible. And now we’re like, oh well we’re not bothered. We’ll just drop on and say whatever we need to say quickly.

Caroline (00:56:17):
And I think the power of sharing your story or sharing, I went through this, I went through a hard time prenatally with my first, I had this with my second and there’s always someone who can relate to you and really feel seen as well kind of thing.

Gemma (00:56:32):
And that’s definitely one thing that we do want to keep going in the future is the mums are fine campaign and try and encourage more mums to open up, even if it’s fired in word form that we can just use on a script anonymously, whatever, just so that people open up a bit more and just are willing to share things. And it’s crazy, isn’t it? I remember one I did about being overstimulated. I didn’t know what it was, but I kind of crashed back into work after, I dunno, probably the end of mat leave I think, or was it when school started? I’m not even sure. But it all just felt I was quite snappy and this was ending up. I was just totally out of character. I didn’t recognise myself whatsoever at work. I’d end up in not confrontation, but it
was almost conversation that I would just never have ended up in.

(00:57:14):
And I was thinking, what on earth is going on? And then I read something about mums being over, they’re not angry, they’re overstimulated. And I was like, wow, that is exactly me. And I remember when I posted about it and that many people were like, oh my gosh, this is me as well. Oh wow, I’m in this scenario. And I was like, but now I know what it is. I’m like, oh, okay, I can do something about it. And the other thing was school. Yeah, everyone goes on about, oh, they go back to school, it’s great. And I was like, school for me means that I lose, it’s so rigid I lose all flexibility, whereas I would stay, probably shouldn’t, but you do 20 minutes past clock off time just to wrap your bits up ready for when your next come in and manager, you lose that. You’re suddenly on a literally Monday, nine till three, whatever it is, nine to five, you have to be out the door. And for me, that was making me so uncomfortable because I was like, how am I going to do this without working every evening? I can’t work every evening on top of other bits that I do. It’s just, yeah, crazy. I

Caroline (00:58:09):
Think so many relate to that. I mean I did a talk recently and I was like, did everyone know that school finishes in the middle of the day and all the moms with school kids were nodding. I think I said this, I had a lot of friends behind me in motherhood and you get used to that eight till six nursery thing. And then I’m like, oh, where’s that gone? Oh ladies, thank, it’s been an absolute pleasure. I could literally talk for hours. I feel like you guys are just so open about what the realities are and us about sharing this and thank you for doing that work. It is absolutely. I love seeing moms doing that and it is needed and as well as a business from it as well. And so what’s next for Tide Moms Coffee? Anything on the horizon?

Laura (00:58:52):
We’re at the point where we are consolidating really our learning over the last year or so and then working out where we want to focus and do some things really well. So we’ve got some really exciting events coming up, some food festivals. So we just had one confirmed in Shrewsbury in June and working on some others and we’re looking at working with some new stockists, so that’s exciting. Some new partnerships we’ve got. We work with a really lovely sports events company, so more work with them and obviously lots of organisations that support mum with the coffee donations, et cetera. And then, yeah, looking at our range, so we’ve got our coffees. We’d love to be bringing in some new seasonal blends and expanding our gift range, so it’s kind of more like that, which still sounds like a lot, but we just decided to focus in those areas and try and get the business bit working really well and make sure where we’re giving back, we’re consistent with it and we’re actually making a difference really. So that’s our plan for this year. And then obviously see where it takes us in the longer term. We’ve always got big dreams if we talk about longer term, but sometimes it’s good, isn’t it, to go back to basics and try and make sure you’re getting the foundations so then you can sort of buy from there. That’s the idea. I love

Caroline (01:00:03):
That foundations giving back and your purpose. That’s great. What a fantastic business you’re building and I can’t wait to hear or where can people find you?

Gemma (01:00:15):
Oh, online, www.tiredmumscoffee.co.uk. The shop’s all on there, the blog posts, bits about the campaign or we’re on all the social media platforms at Tired Mums Coffee. And again, this covers everything from the campaign to products to just general stuff about us.

Caroline (01:00:33):
Yeah, I’m here for that. Thank you so much ladies. Thank you.

Gemma (01:00:38):
Brilliant. Thank you so much. Oh, thanks

Laura (01:00:40):
So much for having us.

Outro:

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.