Monday Mumpreneur with Caroline Job
Every Monday we feature a mumpreneur who’s ready and willing to open up their lives and their business to us.
They share with us their motivation, their challenges and their proudest moments in business and they also tell us how they take time to nurture themselves.
If you’re looking for inspiration, then our featured business mums show you what’s possible. Our message is “If we can do it ~ then so can you!”
Just loved reading this week's interview from another inspiring business mum. What really struck me was how she knows what her ambitions for the company are and how she's growing the business in order to make that happen.
Your name: Caroline Job
Your website: Lunchbox World,
main website and ecommerce shop: www.lunchboxworld.co.uk
Lunchbox World Blog : www.lunchboxworldblog.blogspot.com
365 Lunch Box Challenge: http://lunchboxworld.wordpress.com
Welcome to the world of lunch boxes! Lunchbox World is all about helping you put the FUN back into packed lunches! We stock the lunch bags, lunch boxes, picnic gear, basically everything you’ll need for lunch-on-the-go, whether it’s for a toddler, school aged kid, needing a healthy snack or packed lunch, through the teen years, to adults wanting to take lunch to work or for families wanting a picnic.
We are NOT in the catering business! Instead we sell the lunch box kit and have lots of inspiration, tips, hints, recipes and lunch box ideas on the website and blogs to help you create that FUN lunch whatever your age!
We are constantly on the look out for new ideas, new ranges that are not readily on the High Street, that are fun, and zany but above all are made of high quality and are totally practical and functional. My ambition is to create our own Lunchbox World range of lunch boxes and picnic gear...
Tell us about your children: I have 3 kids, all school age. Their blog names are Tuna (girl – 14), Spike (boy – 11) and King Julien (boy – 9)
Where do you live? Buckinghamshire, UK
PC or Mac? Has to be PC having started out in marketing at IBM years ago when PCs were first coming out!
Tell us about your business
The idea of Lunchbox World popped into my head in the Summer of 2008. I was searching for a washable lunch bag online and stumbled across Built NY, which we have stocked ever since – a range of washable lunch bags in zany colours that come from New York. I was fed up of smelly lunch bags.... Packing 3 lunches or sometimes 5 for the whole family can also be a chore and I just had this idea, wouldn’t it be great to create a website that had all of this on the one site – the kit, the ideas, the recipes, the menu planners.. making it easy for busy women to visit the one place and to create that healthy FUN lunch on a daily basis, and find some FUN practical kit that’ll put that smile back on their face, rather than the groan of “Here we go, cheese and pickle sandwiches again...
Working part-time I never seemed to have the time to search the supermarkets for new ideas to pop in their lunches or to have the time to plan the menus... It’s so easy for the lunch box preparation to become a chore. So as I continued working part-time, I started creating Lunchbox World in my spare time. A website was quickly created that went live December 2008, but I just knew it was not good enough. No sooner was it live, I wanted to pull it down. However, I was off the starting blocks, and sometimes it is not until you start the journey you realise what the next steps have to be.
I immediately knew I had to find a design agency and invest in a properly designed site that had the right look and feel and that brands would want to be associated with. The website Lunchbox World as it is today went live April 2009. The ecommerce shop was added September 2010 and the business has grown and grown since then!
What motivated you to become a mumpreneur?
Working in Marketing on a part-time basis for a company was no longer cutting it for me. Previously having worked full time as European Marketing Manager BC (before children), you’re just not offered the same roles on a part-time basis. I wanted to be there for the kids, pick them up from school but I also wanted a challenge and do something myself.
What’s been your biggest challenge in business?
Biggest challenge – the huge learning curve – the finances, the cash flow, the internet, social media – the constant learning and understanding how it all works...
How have you overcome it?
One step at a time. Biting off bits. Gaining inspiration from others online. Having a plan and knowing it’s all moving forwards. Being incredibly ambitious, sometimes things don’t move as fast as I want, but nevertheless when I look back, I have come a long way in such a short time...
What’s been your proudest business moment?
Proudest moments last year:
Getting the mention in the Sunday Times in April 2011 for the brand new MINI lunch bags
Featured several times in the Independent 50 Best Back to School Buys in August 2011
And being chosen by Theo Paphitis in his Small Business Sunday initiative on Twitter! (#sbs) – winners listed here, we won on 29 May 2011
What’s your catchphrase or favourite quote?
My favourite catchphrases are “Just Do It” – the Nike slogan and “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”
It’s the only way to move forward. You have to do the scary bits, but once you’ve taken the small steps and then look back, you wonder what the fear was, until the next one..
What do you do to relax or nurture yourself?
Ski when there’s snow around and meet with friends over coffee
What was the last treat you bought for yourself?
The latest Penny Vincenzi Hard Back book – a real treat NOT to wait for the paperback to come out, oh and some delightful Cath Kidston notebooks for blog jottings.
Favourite colour: fuchsia pink and purple
Favourite flowers: Lilly of the Valley – so delicate and creamy white
What one piece of advice would you like to give to a new mumpreneur?
If you really want to do something, the thing to do is to just start. It is only once you start the journey that you start to really learn and carve out the direction you want to take. You have to get off the starting blocks. Things start small and whilst you’re starting, it slowly grows, so you can learn as you go along. Yes, there are scary moments like last July when we moved the operation to the warehouse, but if you’re going to build the business, you have to feel that fear and you come out the other side! I have come a long way but I feel there’s still a long way until I reach that summit!
Fancy featuring as one of our amazing mumpreneurs? Drop me an email over on the contact page - and I’ll be in touch. Or let me know in a comment below. And remember to drop by every Monday to welcome our latest profiled mum.