A while ago we posted on Facebook to hear about women you thought were doing something incredible in Gloucestershire. One woman was recommended time and time again and today (at last) we tell you all about Mum of two and MumBoss Danielle Hewett-Warne.
CMHQ: We start every interview at CheltenhamMaman HQ with a question about the small people in your life – who have you got Danielle?
Danielle: I am mum to Rocco (2 years) and Bodhi (4 months)
CMHQ: So tell us about your journey to becoming a MumBoss.
Danielle: My parents have always encouraged me to be ‘my own boss’ as they spent many years working hard for others to reap the rewards – so both started working for themselves in their 40s and never looked back. So working for myself has always been the ultimate goal.
CMHQ: Was it something you had always planned or did you fall into it?
Danielle: After I had Rocco, I started looking at handmade baby clothing online. I wanted something unique for him to wear. In showing my nan some of the items I planned to purchase she mentioned how easy they would be to make – as she has been a seamstress for more years than I would care to guess. I laughed and shrugged her comment off as I had never sewn a button on – let alone whole garments. She kept mentioning it and eventually offered to teach me. So for 6 weeks I went to her house for 3 hours, 2 evenings a week and she did just that. She had never worked with jersey fabrics so it was a learning curve for her too. So many of my friends and family loved what we were making that they asked for us to make some for their little ones too, and it very quickly turned into a little business that has been growing and growing ever since.
CMHQ: And when did you realise you were really onto something and that your business had a future?
Danielle: After a couple of months of 15 to 20 orders I started to get an influx of people joining my Facebook group, saying they had seen a baby wearing my products at a local baby / toddler group or a friend had recommended me. Suddenly I was getting 40 plus orders a month. Now, 18 months on I have 100 orders on my books currently. I would say 80% of my business is repeat custom – which to me is proof that customers really do believe in the product quality and value for money.
CMHQ: Since you’ve started lots of other Mums have started to make handmade clothes around the county – how do you ensure your offering remains unique and do you ever fall into the dreaded comperition/comparison trap?
Danielle: The work at home handmade clothing market is becoming rather saturated however I dont compare myself to others as I feel my business differs, offering fully custom services only. I rarely have ready made items in stock, customers go to our website and choose their fabrics, submit their order and I then make their items to their fabric and size specifications. I also do not purchase too much of the same fabrics to ensure customers have something much more unique than mass produced and shop bought products. My rather awesome Grow With Me Trousers are a huge hit too and definitely remain my best selling product and continue to draw many customers in. I don’t feel competitive towards other work at home mums, I respect that they are just trying to put food on the table and support their families just like me.
CMHQ: How do you juggle your time? Do you struggle to keep all of your plates spinning?
Danielle: Juggling my time was not a problem when I just had Rocco. He loves his routine and naps between 1 and 2 hours a day which is when I would do the majority of the sewing. As the business grew I put him in nursery 2 half days a week to give myself more time. However when Bodhi came along, juggling was a whole other ball game! He is a lot more demanding than Rocco ever was and I struggle to find enough hours in the day. I babywear Bodhi while Rocco is napping to cut fabric and then sew in the evening when Rocco is in bed and my husband can have Bodhi. My husband and parents (who live next door) are a huge help and try to help as much as they can, but Bodhi quite often just wants me!
CMHQ: If you could reverse time to when you set up what would you have done differently?
Danielle: I would sew more for my boys while I still had time to! I now have so many customer orders I struggle to sew for them!
CMHQ: Do you have any nuggets of advice you could share with MumBosses?
Danielle: Don’t undersell yourself. I’ve seen time and time again mumbosses undercharging and barely covering costs let alone their own time. Calculate ALL costs and then add on a wage for yourself. Your time and skill is important. Would a carpenter do a days work and only charge for materials? Neither should you!
CMHQ: So what’s next for your business?
Danielle: Next for the business is simply to grow and expand my customer base. If the orders fly in so fast I can’t cope I may have to employ a helper a few hours a week to help cut the fabrics ready for me to sew.
CMHQ: How can our readers find out more about you and the products you offer?
They can go to www.daniellescustomcreationsuk.com. All products can be found under the ‘Custom Orders’ tab and all available fabrics can be found on the ‘Fabrics’ page.
CMHQ: Thanks Danielle for taking the time to talk to us. Your products are unique and you efforts to build work around your family are admirable. It’s been a pleasure to meet you!