Have you ever thought about starting your own business? Are you curious about how to successfully juggle motherhood and work-from home? Read on to get the ‘low down’ on what it really takes.
This month we have part two of our Q&A with the lovely Nikki Croft, owner and founder of the New Zealand based Maternity Sportswear business Cadenshae Ltd. Nikki has kindly provided answers to questions I asked her about the realities of starting your own business and being a Mum. Enjoy our Q&A and please don’t hesitate to email us on email@example.com if you have any more questions and Nikki will be happy to answer them for you.
Can you please share with us the timeline from conception to birth of your maternity sportswear business Cadenshae?
I had my first daughter in October 2013. My partner and I are both Personal Trainers so we lived at the gym and in our workout gear. I found it near on impossible to find clothes that I could workout in and breastfeed in. I was so used to wearing work-out clothes that when I couldn’t – because I couldn’t feed in them – it made dressing each morning an absolute nightmare. That’s when I thought, I can’t be the only women that’s having this problem, and embarked on making my own range of clothes.
I started coming up with the concept in January 2014 and we (my partner and I) created the company in April 2014. This entire year of 2014 was spent emailing back and forth with manufacturers, trialling samples, sizings and designs etc. We got our first order of hoodies in November – months late which meant they arrived in time for summer hahah! But we were still excited to finally get them. Oh yeah, also during this year, in August, we fell pregnant with our second child!!
We were meant to launch our Cadenshae website in January 2015 but our activewear maternity bras were also were delayed in arriving. So we did not end up launching until April. To coincide with the revised launch we had a stall at the local baby expo – the day after my due date! I was just praying I didn’t go into labour on the day. Thank goodness she waited until the Monday night to arrive. ALL my stock arrived the week I gave birth to my second daughter. I remember trying to wrap all the pre-orders while breastfeeding my 2 day old at the same time. I came home from hospital two hours after having her and was moving boxes from room to room. Not a smart idea. But I was just so excited to get it all sorted.
So it’s fair to say our first five months in business have been absolutely crazy. We now have 15 amazing stockists throughout NZ and Australia – including of course Yummy Mummy Lingerie – and other distributors and stockists worldwide in the pipeline. It’s been long road but the most amazing journey.
1. Do it!!! Just start. Do your research and make a plan.
2. Surround yourself with a good bunch of positive people.
3. Have faith in your dream!! You can do anything you put your mind to and apply yourself to. There is NO reason why you can’t make it work. There is always a way.
4. Always make time for your little ones. Stop for hugs and kisses and treasure the moments. They grow up so fast and it’s easy to get distracted with making your business work and grow. But you don’t want to regret not spending time with them. Make a plan for a really good work/life balance. Family is everything!!!
5. Get help where you need it. No one is a pro in all areas. So get people to help you out when needed. It might be financials, website stuff, business planning or anything, but just get help!!! I remember spending more hours googling how to do something than spending the time on the thing I was actually meant to be doing. Don’t be afraid to pay someone to do something that they can do better and quicker than you (only if funds allow of course). There is no short cut for hard work. But you can definitely work smarter!!
What are your most important strategies/personal rules that allow you to juggle motherhood, your relationship and running a business?
1. Love my partner, show him affection and make sure he is number one. If our relationship falls apart, then EVERYTHING falls apart.
2. Team work. My partner and I juggle the kids. We both know what needs doing and we just do it!!! Clear communication.
3. Workout/exercise as a family. Keeps my mind clear and both of us feeling fresh and ready. Eat good food to fuel my body with what it needs. My Fiancé is an amazing cook so I’m very spoilt. But lots of good food and water for both you and your family goes a long way in maintaining a healthy dynamic all round.
4. No phone/computer time!!! Having a set time that I stop working each night so I can spend time with family.
5. Always take time to reflect back to where you were a few months ago. It’s easy to get caught up in what’s happening now. I remember being sooooo excited about 1000 Facebook likes and now we are on over 4000. Haha my 5 month ago self would have been ecstatic to have 4000 Likes. So take time to pat yourself on the back for what you have done.
What has been your biggest challenge(s) in getting Cadenshae to where it is today?
Finding a good manufacturer. Getting the designs and sizings right. Orders being delayed. Not knowing how to do things such as website and technical stuff that I would try and do myself. How did you overcome this challenge(s)?
The more designs we worked on the better I got at relaying to my manufacturer exactly what I wanted. My drawings and explanations got better and in turn the samples were more accurate each time they were made.
Learning not to over promise and under deliver. I previously would always relay to my customer exactly what my manufacturer told me. So for example if they said an order would be shipped on ‘this date” I would say that to my customer. Then it gets pushed out a few days, gets held in customs and delays in shipping and next thing you know its 2-3 weeks later than I expected. Now I always add on time for unexpected occurrences for my orders. Everything takes soooo much longer than you could ever imagine.
Get people to help. Pay a tech guru to do all the website bits and pieces.
What have been the highlights during your Cadenshae journey?
1. Getting our first shipment of garments.
2. First item of clothing that was bought by someone we didn’t know Haha
3. Securing our first stockist.
4. All the positive feedback we get from our customers. It’s definitely the biggest highlight and puts a smile in my heart every time I hear from any of our customers.
1. Being able to help other mums. Dealing with my customers is one of the best things!!! I love hearing from them and talking to them. All mums have this unspoken bond and it’s soo cool being able to be a part of this awesome time in so many women’s lives.
2. Having control over every aspect. I’m no control freak, well I don’t think I am, my family may say different though lol. It was just great being able to control every step. Watching it grow has been awesome.
3. Being able to be at home with my girls and partner.
If you were to start another business what would you do differently next time?
Get help where I needed it, sooner rather than later. I could have saved myself many many hours and maybe a few wrinkles.
Perhaps I would NOT plan to have a baby the week I launch!!!!.lol
Thanks so much for this opportunity I have loved sharing these words with you. Nikki xx
Thank you so much Nikki!
We’ve loved talking to Nikki and getting the low-down on what it actually took to get her maternity sportswear business Cadenshae off the ground. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tips. Very helpful if you’re thinking about starting your own business or if you are already running one. I know they were a nice reminder for me!
Here at Yummy Mummy lingerie you can buy maternity bras and maternity wear in a wide range of sizes – from 8A to 20E and beyond in some bra styles. If you need help with sizing please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you when you are ready to buy maternity lingerie or the fabulous new Cadenshae maternity sports wear.