The Curious Mummy HQ meets the founder of Mothers Love Fashion. A nursing brand for mothers who still want to remain fashionable despite nursing their babies. Natalie’s designs are funky, fashionable and there isn’t a frump or flounce insight. After discovering Natalie’s designs, I couldn’t wait to meet the Mumspiration behind this amazing company.
Natalie shares her tips on becoming a Mum Boss, how being her own boss fits into her daily life and what gave her the idea to start.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Natalie, a 32 year old mummy to an amazing little 2 year old girl called Thea. I’m also a wife to James and we have 2 cats called Poppy & Daisy (who get significantly less attention since Thea arrived!).
The three of us (plus the 2 cats) are currently living in Essex with my parents while we make the leap from SE London renters to grown-up first time buyers (location TBC) … so I would say we are currently in a state of limbo, but excited about the future!
I’m busy, with a toddler, a ‘day job’ (4 days a week), and a new business to nurture and grow, but I love being a mum and wouldn’t change the chaos for the world. It’s the best job ever, and I cherish my day off and weekends so much with my little monkey.
Tell us about Mothers Love Fashion and what gave you the idea to start?
Mothers Love Fashion is a womenswear brand that offers mums stylish clothes that are designed for easy and discreet breastfeeding… but they don’t look like nursing clothes, aren’t frumpy, and are not ‘maternity’ clothes!
I had the idea when Thea was about 3 months old. I had been getting on quite well with breastfeeding (and had gone past the hard part) so was getting more confident feeding in public. When it came to clothes, I tried to stick to outfits that were comfortable, had easy boob access and were discreet. I had a couple of ‘nursing tops’, which I found really easy to feed in, but they were not really my style, and soon made me feel really mumsy and frumpy… so I spent most days in jeans and a normal loose top over a vest top so that I could do the ‘one up, one down’ trick. This worked ok, but this ‘uniform’ got boring every day, especially when the weather got nicer and even more so when I started to get invited to events such as Christenings, weddings, BBQ’s or just those days when I wanted to feel a bit nicer.
Before having Thea I used to wear quite a lot of dresses, but this suddenly seemed impossible because I didn’t want to lift up a whole dress, and I just didn’t feel very comfortable getting my boob out over a low cut neckline or fussing with fiddly buttons. I found some ‘nursing dresses’ online that seemed ok, but I was disappointed that they were also maternity so the fit was all wrong. I was really lucky that I had lost quite a lot of weight after having Thea, so I didn’t want to hide behind a maternity dress… I just wanted to wear normal clothes that were my style, with a tailoring and fit that I would normally wear, but that also had hidden and easy feeding access. Then I realised that they didn’t really exist… I just thought, surely a breastfeeding mum shouldn’t have to compromise her sense of style or put up with maternity clothes when they are not pregnant any more. Especially as their baby gets older or into toddlerhood. So I decided to design my own!
Mothers Love Fashion puts the emphasis on you, the mum! We sell exclusive Dresses & Jumpsuits that any women would happy wear (regardless of breastfeeding or not). It’s about your style, your confidence, and your personality, and not having to change your style of dressing just because you are a mum (who needs to get your boobs out).
Describe your typical day?
6am – I get woken up most mornings by the sound of ‘mummy, mummy, mummy’ on the monitor. I try to wait and see if she goes back to sleep, but mostly it just gets louder and louder!
6.30-7.30am – I get myself and Thea ready for the day. She usually watches C Beebies or whatever her favourite film at the time is (Frozen and Toy Story are current faves), while I run around getting ready for work…
8am – I drop Thea off at Nursery, and then make the commute to my office (via a coffee shop for my caffeine fix). Make-up is always done on the tube to save time!
9.30-4.30 – During my working day, I keep on to of Mothers Love Fashion as much as possible via my phone, and I do post office drops in my lunch break… I went back to work after maternity leave, but I am lucky that I now only do 4 days and have reduced hours (so it’s not as stressful as my pre-maternity leave role!)
6pm – After picking Thea up from nursery, it’s all about cuddles, bath & bedtime with Thea.
8pm – This is when I start freaking out about all the Mothers Love Fashion work that I want to do, and moan to my husband about being tired and not having the time! Ha ha. I spend a couple of hours working my way through my to-do list, and sorting out and packing new orders.
11 ish – Bed… (Then spend an unhealthy amount of time scrolling through social media!)
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of running Mothers Love Fashion is that I am doing something I really love, and am passionate about.
Being a mum myself with a background in creative advertising and branding, I love working on the brand and because it is my own, I am totally immersed in it.
I am passionate about and helping and supporting new mums, and normalising breastfeeding in our culture and society, so having a business that operates in the world of new mums and babies is the dream! Because my target audience are mums just like me, it sometimes doesn’t feel like work, because I love being part of a community of new mums, talking to my customers and meeting like-minded people.
What do you think it takes to be a Mum boss?
Courage… you have to be brave. Brave to start your own business in the first place, but also to keep on making decisions and steering it the way you want to go. I am always getting really nervous as a lot of what I am doing is out of my comfort zone and that can be scary, but that is also exciting and it’s the possibilities that keep me going.
How do you find the balance between running a successful business and raising a family?
At the moment due to personal circumstances, I don’t have the balance that I would like yet with family or the business! I will one day run Mothers Love Fashion from home, around my family, but at the moment I still have my job to content with, so I do feel the business suffers sometimes and things happen slower that I would like, but my family comes first so I need to prioritise certain things. And because it’s my own business, I have the flexibility to go at my own pace (there is a lot of pressure, but it all comes from myself).
Who are your Mumspirations?
I’m not going to name certain people, because there are so many amazing mums that I see every day doing such a fabulous job. Raising kids, holding down jobs, the worry, the guilt, the love – it’s a rollercoaster!
Just like anything else in life, Motherhood comes in loads of different shapes and sizes, styles and approaches and there is no right or wrong way… all mums are amazing, and I just think that mums should always support other mums, celebrate our differences, no judging, no comparing, just do what feels right for you and your family.
I find that inspiring, that so many different types of people each with their different strengths and lives can come together and share one thing in common… being a mum!
After work, how do you find time to relax?
My favourite ways to relax are a nice long hot bath, or to settle down with my husband and watch a film or boxset. Just a bit of escapism is sometimes needed. Oh and wine… always wine
What are your top five tips for starting a business/What are your tops for budding Mumprenuers?
- Network, network, network: I am seriously grateful for the contacts (and friends) I have made through networking events for mums in business (or just for mums in general). And also online networking (Instagram is amazing for this). I can’t even attend most of the events I want to go to because of my work commitments, yet every networking event I’ve attended has been instrumental to the success of my business so far, just through mums supporting each other and mixing with likeminded, inspiring people. It keeps me motivated!
- Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s so easy to see other mum-run businesses that seem to have been an overnight success. Their lifestyles and home offices look so inspiring and exciting (through the rose tinted lens of social media), and you feel a bit deflated about yourself… but you must realise everybody’s situation is different and it’s not a race. As long as you feel you are moving in the right direction you should be proud of yourself and your achievements.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I am at this stage now, where in order to move forward to the next stage I need more advice, mentoring, a sounding board and experts in the areas that I am not! It’s ok to admit your weaknesses, and that you can’t do it all on your own.
- Be realistic. Nothing in life is perfect, it’s ever changing, every growing, and evolving. If something doesn’t work, then learn from it but don’t beat yourself up. Try to stay positive, whilst keeping it real. Set yourself achievable and measureable goals so that you don’t feel overwhelmed or disappointed. Celebrate every tiny victory.
- Go for it. Be brave and take some risks… If you’ve got an idea and think you have the means to get it off the ground, then try to give it a go! Of course it’s a big deal that takes a lot of thought and careful planning, but it’s also something that you kind of just need to bite the bullet and hope for the best … You’ll regret it if you don’t!
To find out more about this fantastic brand, head to: