Introducing the lovely Becky Lupton! I met Becky last year at one of the first meet-ups with the group of creatives that shortly after became the London Local Team, makers who come together to offer each other inspiration, resources and support. Becky’s managed to successfully combine motherhood and entrepreneurship. Flexibility of self-employment means she can perform a juggling act with her time that allows her to be with her son Tate all day but also pursue her award-winning venture, PJ Mamma. Below, she talks about creating matching PJs for other mums and babies along with a maternity line, her biggest challenges and rewards in running a small business and some of her favourite resources that have helped make her vision a reality.
LITTLE OBSERVATIONIST: Give us your tweet-sized elevator pitch. What’s your business all about?
BECKY LUPTON: Organic cotton, mum, maternity and baby PJs!
LO: Now tell us more: What sets you apart from your competition?
BL: All my PJs are made from 100% Organic cotton and printed with organic inks. They are designed by me, a mum, in London. I’ve used my experience to help make them the comfiest PJs for mum and baby. The maternity range has prints that focus on the blossoming bump so it helps celebrate this special time. They all come in a coordinated cotton bag making them a lovely gift.
LO: Share a bit of background about yourself and your business.
BL: I’m from Yorkshire. Now I live in Stoke Newington, London, with my partner, son Tate and scruffy pooch Otto. Although my professional background is marketing I have always, since a young age, been very crafty and loved art, design and sewing. I started to make pyjamas for myself when I was pregnant as I couldn’t find well fitting pyjamas and nothing made from organic cotton. I then started to make and sell my pyjamas online when I was on maternity leave. They proved really popular and the feedback was great. I returned to work after a year of maternity leave in a different mindset. I was passionate about my new business and also knew the long hours and regular travel of my current role would not fit around my son. At the same time I had become become pretty disillusioned with the corporate work environment so decided to make the jump. I was inspired by the good feedback about my pyjamas and a desire to have a better work life balance around my son Tate.
LO: Which social media platforms do you use for your business? Has this been time well-invested? Any tips for newcomers?
BL: I use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I have found them to be a great way to communicate more about the PJ Mamma story and showcase my product range. I like the fact I can show a little snapshot into life of being a mum and running a business. I try not to add too much baby spam of Tate! It’s also a great way to network and I enjoy learning more about other designers and makers.
LO: What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given that still resonates with you today? And your favourite resources for small business?
BL: “Be gentle with yourself; you’re doing the best you can.” I manage my business around looking after my son, so there’s never enough hours in the day. I’m often working late into the night once he’s in bed and during every baby nap. It’s hard as when he goes to bed, my PJ work starts. I do some freelance marketing as well to help finance my business, so life is pretty hectic. I also find a good sleep makes everything better and can help regain focus! London Local Team is a brilliant resource and support network for designers and makers in London.
LO: What have been your biggest challenges and greatest rewards as a small business owner?
BL: Biggest challenge is definitely time. It’s really important to me that I have the majority of my week with Tate whilst he is young, but at the same time I am so ambitious to grow my business. It’s still hard to slow myself down and be patient, and realise I only have limited time. I am getting so good at prioritising now and make the most of any windows of time. There’s times when I think I’ve turned super boring as I’m always in work mode and I say no to a night out as I have PJ Mamma stuff to get through. I just have to make the most of any free time windows when I get them.
I still get so excited by every sale and such satisfaction when I get positive feedback on my products and new business. I’ve won a couple of awards which have been an important pat on the back too. My greatest reward is that I am able to work around my son and we get most of our days together.
LO: What are your hopes for your business going forward: what would you most love to achieve as a short term goal? And long term?
BL: I have so many plans for my business and gradually I would like to work my way through my plans list! In the immediate future, I am working on new designs and extending my product range. I am keen to dedicate some time to my website as it’s really not my skill set and although I am pretty proud I managed to build it in the first place, it could do with some work.
Long term, I just hope to have a good work life balance, grow my business and have happy customers.
LO: Little Observationist is all about appreciating life’s little luxuries. Name three you’ve enjoyed recently.
BL: Spring sunshine, a Sunday sleep in and a catch up with my best friend.
A few more useful links from Becky:
London Local Team – A community of makers in London for support and help.
Mothers Meeting – Networking with other mums, support and advice.
The Branding Workshop – Yvonne Fuchs is a wonderful spirit who I’m lucky enough to have met along my PJ Mamma journey.