This weeks participant in our entrepreneurial mums feature is Oxshott based Camilla Braidwood, owner of Milly Bee, a really good site specialising in affordable fine art for children’s rooms including bespoke pictures. She’s mum to 19 month old, ‘Bee’.
Why I started my business: The idea to start Milly Bee came to me after the birth of my daughter. Like all expectant mums, I was very excited about preparing the nursery. My excitement soon turned to disappointment when I tried to find some pictures for the walls.
Stickers and wallpaper friezes are not my thing â€“ but there was so little else available. So I decided to make my own. I then made some for friends who were having the same problem and soon began to think I could turn it into a business. Having an online business appealed to me as I wanted to be able to spend as much time as possible with my daughter.
Toughest Challenge: Lack of time – there never seems to be enough hours in the day. I try not to let the business impact on the time I spend with my little girl so I tend to work until the early hours. Fortunately my husband is very supportive and helps where he can. I have so many ideas for the business but time constraints mean I have to prioritise a few and leave the rest on the to-do list â€“ which can be frustrating at times.
What I enjoy most: I like having the opportunity to be creative. It is very rewarding to have an idea for a new print and then to develop it and eventually see it as a finished product. I like creating hand and footprint art for people too â€“ each one is special as it represents a special moment in time. But best of all, I love seeing little faces light up when they see our prints. It makes all the long evenings very worthwhile!
My advice for someone thinking about starting their own business: Research your idea well and make sure it’s something you really enjoy doing as you will need to put your heart and soul into it. Make use of all the free resources available to start up businesses. Network with other mums in business – they are usually more than willing to share ideas and give advice. Be confident in your abilities â€“ many of the skills you develop as a mother (such as multi-tasking, dealing with difficult little ones, time planning) are all skills that will transfer well to running a small business.