Monday Mumpreneur with Amanda Burrows and Judith Langham
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.
This week we have not one, but two wonderful Monday Mumpreneurs for you. I love that we get double the inspiration and I love their products and I think that you will too....
Your name: Amanda Burrows and Judith Langham
Tell me about your children:
Amanda has one boy – Frankie 4 years old
Judith has a girl and a boy – Ellie 14 and Sam 12
Where do you live?
Amanda – lives in Hackney East London
Judith – lives in Chiswick West London
PC or Mac?
Both Mac and would never go back
Tell us about your business
Panda and the Sparrow sells clothing made from bamboo – surely not…..
We hear this all the time and we’re here to tell you that if you don’t have a piece of bamboo clothing for your baby you’re really missing out!
After many years working hard as Directors for businesses including Whistles, House of Fraser and Warehouse we decided it was time to do it for ourselves….
When clothing our own kids we discovered the amazing properties of bamboo – Amanda’s son Frankie suffered from eczema, bamboo sleepwear really seemed to help. BUT it was really hard to get hold of bamboo kids clothing and when she did most of the styles were really boring…… Panda and the Sparrow was born.
So we have created a range of unique clothing. We offer you all of bamboo’s natural eco credentials as well as fun and functional design. We aim to make kids clothing that says a lot about you and what you care about. Pieces that not only look great but are also easy for your kids to wear, whether out and about or snuggled up at night. Pieces destined to become treasured keepsakes or prized hand me downs.
Here at Panda and the Sparrow we love bamboo – not only is it the fastest growing plant in the world it also produces fabric with incredible qualities that make it just perfect for kids clothing. What makes it REALLY great is: it’s as soft as cashmere, it’s naturally hypo-allergenic, it’s thermo regulating, it’s UV resistant, it’s breathable and it’s absorbent.
For us it’s about giving you the best… Best for you, Best for your child, Best for the planet, Best for everyone
What motivated you to become a mumpreneur?
In truth it was a change in both our careers. Amanda and Judith were Brand and Merchandising Directors at Whistles. When Whistles was bought by the Ex Topshop team we were both asked to work on other brands that our parent company owned.
The shoe company Amanda worked for was then also sold after a year so she took voluntary redundancy. Judith worked for Warehouse and then decided it was time for more of a work life balance.
Think we were both really happy about the opportunity to leave very busy very stressful jobs and for Amanda it coincided with her getting pregnant with her son.
The light bulb moment came to Judith one day when her friend who owns Bam Clothing started asking her about kidswear and whether she thought kids would wear bamboo.
She started looking into the idea and soon realized that there was a big gap in the market for bamboo babywear. Bamboos amazing natural properties are just perfect for babies and toddlers. She started talking to Amanda who had dressed her son Frankie in bamboo as a baby but had struggled to find anything colourful or fashionable.
What’s been your biggest challenge in business?
Realising that you need to reinvest all your profits back into the business for a few years and not pay yourselves. This is also true of most product led businesses where you constantly need to reinvest in new stock to keep the brand fresh and moving forward. Its really hard when you’re used to a salary every month!
How have you overcome it?
We both have very supportive husbands/partners and you just have to readjust the budgets to suit your new lifestyle – there’s one benefit of working from home – no need to worry whether you have the latest “Look” on – only your make-up for Face Time!!
What’s been your proudest business moment?
Winning a Prima Mother and Baby Gold Award in our first year of business. We beat some really amazing big brands and were so proud of ourselves
What’s your catchphrase or favourite quote?
Panda and the Sparrow ….“Just feel it Baby” With Bamboo once you feel it you’ll never dress your baby in anything else apart from maybe cashmere – it is SO soft
What do you do to relax or nurture yourself?
Spend time with our families and friends – it’s the best way to relax and switch off – that and a long hot bath or strenuous spin class to work out the stress!
What was the last treat you bought for yourself?
Amanda –a bunch of sunflowers to help me hold onto the last thoughts of summer
Judith –an amazing much needed end of summer facial
Amanda – Orange – love the vibrancy but also find it really calming
Judith –Grey – it just works with everything, home and clothes!
Amanda –Sunflowers – remind me of family holidays on the canals in the South of France – massive field full of them!
Judith –have always loved lilies
What one piece of advice would you like to give to a new mumpreneur?
Sorry we have 2!!
Love what you do- We cannot stress how important this is. We were in the corporate rat race for a couple of decades, which was both mentally demanding and physically exhausting with the demands of frequent travel and time away from friends and family. It's amazing how you can train yourself to keep going when you're excited and buoyed by something you love doing.
Make time with your family- the most important thing is to ensure you "log off" from everything over the weekend. Leave the laptop at home and go and get some fresh air or run around the park with your children. It gives you much needed energy and perspective before you re-immerse yourself in work on Monday morning. Running your business from home can become stressful, especially when you're trying to work but can see the washing up out of the corner of your eye! For Amanda with a 4 year old this has been particularly hard as when he’s around he’s wanting attention. She has a rule that when he’s around the phone is off – pretty hard to handle but one of the benefits of being able to work when you want not when your boss says!
To find out more about Amanda and Judith and their business, visit their site:
And connect with them on social media:
Think your mumpreneur story will inspire our community? Drop me an email over on the contact page – and I’ll be in touch. Or let me know in a comment below.