To be a mum is a really tough job. To be a mum, in full time work is seriously tough, but to be a single mum, in full time work and have your own Children’s online shop on the side is impossible! Although, no, it’s not, as Victoria from FINBERRY tells us below…
Tell me a bit about you! What’s your background in life and work? I’ve worked in fashion wholesale since my early twenties. I’m currently sat backstage writing this before our LFW show, haha! Multi tasking as always! It’s a fun job and really varied.
I love my job and it’s given me a lot of great opportunities but it’s not the most child friendly career path – there’s lots of international travel involved which sends my mum guilt through the roof and travelling to London means my days are really long! I’m really lucky that my boss understands the importance of flexible working which allows me to start work slightly later and I work from home on Fridays which helps keep my work/life balance in check. Like all working mothers though, I do constantly feel guilty that Finlay spends so much time away from me. Having said that, I also think it gives him confidence around new people. I was always a shy child and I’m so pleased that Finlay doesn’t seem to suffer from that at all!
I moved out of London shortly after Finlay was born. My family moved to Australia when I was 12 but up until then we lived in Suffolk so I’m a country girl at heart. I now live in a little village near a town called Saffron Walden which is on the Cambridgeshire/Essex border. It’s both close to my parents (hello childcare) and also close enough to London to commute within an hour.
I’m a single mama and have been since Finlay was 2 (he will be 4 in November). I’m incredibly lucky that I have a lot of help from my family when it comes to childcare. Finlay goes to nursery 2 full days and 2 mornings a week and is looked after by his grandparents the rest of the time. I definitely wouldn’t be able to work like I do without their help.
As you’ve just said, you’re still in full time work and finberry, for now is your side project…what made you start the business? How on earth do you have the time? Good question! Finberry is something that’s been in my head since my maternity leave so it’s been a slow process to get here. I dedicate all my weekends and evenings to it so basically manage to survive on 6 hours sleep! I’m so keen to get Finberry off the ground that it doesn’t really feel like work which helps me stay motivated. I also work a lot on social media, orders etc. while I’m on the train to work!
Tell me about the name…finberry…what’s the meaning behind it?
As you’ve probably already guessed the business is inspired by Finlay. I’ve always loved to find under the radar brands to complement his wardrobe and there are an abundance of them in the uk. I was quite often surprised by some of the super high price tags for kids clothes from many of the designer childrenswear stores. It’s really important to me that Finberry offers not just stylish and high quality but also affordable items. Kids wear their clothes for such a short amount of time but they get so much wear and washed a million times. The brands I’ve bought for the store have all been road tested by Finlay!
When I was pregnant, friends often referred to my bump as strawberry and Finlay can easily knock back a whole punnet of them in 5 minutes so that’s where the name comes from! The logo is also inspired by a strawberry.
What do you look for when you buy from other brands?I touched on this already above but all the brands I buy need to be high quality and affordable – nothing in the store will retail more than £50. This has been one of the challenges as there are plenty of brands I would love to buy but price point sometimes stops me. Ironic maybe given my work background but you really don’t need to spend a fortune to dress stylishly! But of course it’s also nice to have special pieces – finberry is basically where I hope you can go to find those special pieces. I also prefer to buy brands that are not overly distributed elsewhere to ensure the store has a point of difference. There’s also a playful element to the brands I buy, I think it’s important children’s clothes retain an element of fun!
What’s your main aim with finberry? Do you plan to stock only small brands from a particular country for example?You hit the nail on the head – I would like Finberry to support small business, particularly those in the U.K. All the brands I’ve bought are based in the U.K. and made here too. I may expand into international brands later down the line so it’s not set in stone but there are so many great new brands out there from the UK that I haven’t felt the need to look much further yet.
Tell me the hardest thing you’ve had to conquer while setting up finberry… My own self belief – It’s taken me a long time to actually commit to taking the plunge so even if all else fails I’m really pleased I can say that I took the risk to do this and I’m really determined to make it a success. I was the first of my immediate friendship group to have a baby and the mum accounts I follow on instagram really helped inspire me that you don’t need to be stuck in a traditional 9-5 to provide for your family.
FINBERRY launched TODAY!!!! Please visit her website NOW WWW.FINBERRYSHOP.CO.UK