Monday Mumpreneur with Sally Hall and Emma Fear

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!”

This week we've got a big treat for you - not just one mumpreneur, but two.  Just look at what can be achieved when we pool our resources and talents . . .

Your name: Sally Hall and Emma Fear

Your website:

Brief description:

Dorothy & Theodore is an exclusive collection of beautiful, stylish, unique and practical products for parents, children and babies; including furniture, home accessories, traditional toys, art, personalised gifts, stationery and much more. It is designed for parents who wish to accommodate the needs and wishes of their children without wholly compromising on their own sense of style.

Tell me about your children:

Sally:  Dalton has just turned 4 and is as lively and delicious as they come, and my beautiful Belle who is 6 months.

Emma: Sophie aged 3 and a half (she'd kill me if I just said 3!) and Joshua aged 9 months.

Where do you live?

Sally: Warwickshire
Emma: West Midlands

PC or Mac?

Sally: PC – That’s what Emma (she’s the technical one!) told me I needed!
Emma: PC

Tell us about your business:

As parents ourselves, each with two young children, we spent hours trawling the internet to find child-friendly yet stylish products for our homes and unique gifts for new babies and children's birthdays that are not mass-produced. Sharing frustrations over coffee and cake one afternoon led us to the idea for Dorothy & Theodore; a website that provides a single place where you can find beautiful and practical products which meet the requirements and desires of both parent and child, as well as some truly special gifts to commemorate the arrival of a child, their christening, first birthday or other important occasions.

The website went live in September 2011 and we officially launched at the Earl's Court Baby Show in October 2011.

What motivated you to become a mumpreneur?

Sally: The desire to make the best possible life I can for my family, the desire to show my children that anything is possible with hard work and determination, and a hope that I will make my children proud. Oh – and getting to make my own cuppa when I’m working as opposed to drinking tea just because everyone else is!

Emma: I wanted to do to something I was passionate about whilst at the same time being able to spend more quality time with the children.

What's been your biggest challenge in business?

Sally: When you are passionate about something – it can be hard to switch off. I often feel like my brain only has 2 modes – planning outings, adventures or the next stage of baby weaning or my D&T ‘To Do’ list.

Emma: It's been difficult trying to balance work and family time, especially with the "joys" of modern technology meaning that even if I am not sat in front of my laptop I can still do most things on my phone.

How have you overcome it?

Sally: I haven’t! I just embrace it now, but try to be clear on my different roles and family time is family time. Full stop!

Emma: I've had to try to accept that I cannot expect to get much work done whilst both children are at home and awake! Once I accepted that fact I felt less pressured to do both and felt that I was spending better quality time with the children. I do have relapses though and find it hard not to check my phone for new emails!

What's been your proudest business moment?

Sally: Being nominated and shortlisted for National mums in business award within 6 months of setting up was really exciting.

Emma: After a lot of hard work and late nights, seeing the website live for the first time was probably my proudest moment - made even more poignant by the fact that we had achieved it with me having a 5 week old baby and Sally being a week off giving birth!

What's your catchphrase or favourite quote?

Sally: Dreams really do come true.
Emma: At least it's not raining!

What do you do to relax or nurture yourself?

Sally: Being with my children nurtures my heart, my mind and my soul.

Emma: I have to confess I have little time for either but I do try to have one day a week where I don't work and spend the whole day with the family and I always feel rejuvenated the next day. I've also started trying to read a page or two of my book before I go to sleep to help switch my brain off after working until bedtime.

What was the last treat you bought for yourself?

Sally: I head up the research for new products and I do really find it hard to resist! I couldn’t resist buying Belle one of our fabulous 50s inspired petticoat skirts! It is way too big still but looks amazing hung in the nursery and she’ll grow into it!

Emma: I bought myself a new pair of jeans to celebrate that I had lost most of my baby weight!

Favourite colour:

Sally: Blue – but only since having Belle who we call BlueBelle (as she is always in Dalton’s hand-me-down sleepsuits – for bedtime only of course – frocks all the way when we’re out and about!!)

Emma: Blue

Favourite flowers:

Sally: Daisies
Emma: Tulips

What one piece of advice would you like to give to a new mumpreneur?

Sally: Give up sleep!

Emma: Try not to put too much pressure on yourself by accepting that having children means that you will never get as much work done in the day as you would like to.

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.