Category

Lifestyle

For the first in my series of interviews for #MumsWhoWorkIt I am very pleased to introduce you to Helene from Croque Maman. Helene is an Ealing Mum who initially started Croque Maman as a blog just over four years ago and since then it has developed into an online boutique selling a beautiful range of baking kits, table/kitchenware and children’s accessories.

Helene, thank you for agreeing to share your story with The Ealing Mummy. Tell us a bit about yourself and how Croque Maman came about?

I’m a Mum to twin boys living in Ealing and originally from France. Back when I was on maternity leave when I was living in Chiswick I was part of an NCT Group and it turned out I was the only Mum from France. The other Mums in my group were always intrigued about what I was feeding my boys, so I started to share my recipes and tips. One of my friends suggested that I start a blog to share my ideas on feeding children in the French way and it grew from there.

What did you do before you had Children?

Before I became a Mother I worked in marketing and branding, so both aspects of my previous career have been extremely useful in moving my business forward.

When did you decided to take the next step and move something that was a hobby into a business?

Once my Maternity leave came to an end I decided that a return to work in my previous career would not offer the flexibility that I needed to care for my boys. This is when I realised that I could turn my love and passion for encouraging other parents to feed their children a varied and healthy diet into a business.

I invested in some training which included a food photography course and also was involved with Google Campus for Mums, which was an eight-week programme where I met other Mums who were developing their own businesses.

Tell us more about the products you sell in your on-line Boutique?

The products that I stock are all sourced independently from France. They reflect my love of good food and healthy eating.

I sell baking kits that contain organic ingredients and are prefect to have at home when you would like to do some impromptu baking or even for a special occasion.

I also have a range of high quality kitchen accessories and tools. I believe that having tools and implements in the kitchen that make your like easier to prepare fruit and vegetables, that way you are more inclined to make dishes from scratch.

My diverse range of products also extends to small toys which can be played with at the table and are something you could keep in your handbag when you are out and about.

Tell us about one of your favourite products that you sell?

I particularly love the large bibs, they are really handy with slightly older children who still need to protect their clothes from spillages at the table, but want to feel more grown up and not feel like they are wearing a bib.

French toddler bib, organic cotton – Lion £15.95

What advice would you give to other Mums who want to start an Online Business?

I would say try to find your niche and something that your passionate about and also stay true to yourself. This might mean turning down some opportunities if they don’t fit with your brand.

Where do you see your Business going in the next five years?

I would like to develop my own range of products to sell in the boutique. I also want to continuing blogging and sharing my recipes online too. So watch this space!

You can find Helene over on her Blog and you can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest @croquemaman

 

Helene kindly gave us one of her reusable colouring in placemat sets to try out. This clever item will keep your little ones busy at mealtime and comes with five erasable colouring pens and a superhero wristband. It is made from high quality soft silicone and is easy to clean, you can even pop it in the dishwasher. You can see here how much my Daughter is enjoying it!

Reusable colouring in placemat set – Cactus £20.49

 

Would you like to be featured in my #MumsWhoWorkIt Series? I am always looking for Mums to interview. I welcome Mums to contact me who have started their own business. You must live in the London area, as I like to come and meet up face to face. If you are interested then please contact me at: hello@theealingmummy.com I would love to hear your story!

This is my first official post as The Ealing Mummy and the first in my series of posts for #MumsWhoWorkIt. My plan is on a weekly basis to interview another Mum who like me has either re-trained or has set up her own business. This week I wanted to tell you about my journey from someone who had only every used social media to share my child’s photos on Facebook, to now a fully qualified Social Media Manager.  I am really excited to have re-branded and combined my original blogs which were Mummy of the Suburbs and Ealing With Kids. I wanted to write this post to firstly explain what I have been doing since September 2016 (as I have been off the blogging radar so to speak) and secondly to let you know what my plans for the future are.

My blogging journey started back in July 2016, so officially I have been blogging for almost a year! I started Mummy Of The Suburbs having absolutely no idea about the blogging world and very little knowledge of social media. The blog did fairly well and I gained a reasonable following and managed to have two articles published on Huffington Post and even got interviewed by local BBC radio. Like many things in life, one thing lead to another and I soon realised that social media was something that really intrigued me.

Digital Mums had popped up in my Facebook feed a number of months previously and I had looked into it, but at the time I didn’t really understand what a Social Media Manager did, so I dismissed it. However once I started to write my blog it became apparent to me how powerful social media was and how by using it in the correct way it could make all the difference to your following. So once again Digital Mums stood out to me and this time it was the right time for me, because now I knew I wanted to learn something new and I took the next step and actually applied for their Social Media Manager course!

The application process involved writing a short piece about how you could “Do The Hustle”. Digital Mums call it their mantra and I think you have to have this special type of self belief to be successful in the world of digital marketing. For my example I wrote about how I set up a small business back in 2015 and how I managed to convince another business to work with me. Sadly that particular business didn’t work out, however I learnt a lot of useful lessons from it. After I had written my piece a member of the Digital Mums team contacted me.  We had a chat over the phone. and talked about why I wanted to do the course and the commitment that was involved. Shortly after this I was accepted on the course and I was over the moon to be started something new!

My course begun in November 2016 and from the start I was introduced to five other Mums who were also doing the same training, they became my support for the next seven months. My peer group didn’t live nearby, but that didn’t matter because we had weekly meetings online and shared messages in a WhatsApp group. The training material was all formatted on an online platform and was a mixture of written lessons, videos and quizzes. Each week we focused on a different topic and we really did start from the basics in social media and as the weeks went on we built on our knowledge.

The idea with the training is that you build a grass roots social media campaign from scratch and that is where Ealing With Kids came from. I knew that I wanted to write about activities with children in the area and I also wanted to support local businesses too, so that is what I focused on. By completing my training with Digital Mums I have learnt so many valuable skills from understanding the basics of setting up all the social media platforms, from creating a campaign and running it on a day to day basis, to developing an understanding of the analytics used in the background to measure success and improve performance. I could go on and on as my learning curve has been steep, but what I really what to convey to you is that is possible to learn to work in a completely new field.

We often hear how it is common to embrake on a new career in your thirties or forties, well I am proof that it does happen. I trained to be a Registered Nurse when I was eighteen and almost twenty years later here I am starting a career in something completely different. It feels refreshing and exciting to have learnt a completely different skill and I have managed to do it at the same time as working part time as a Practice Nurse and of course being a Mum to my five year old Daughter. I have to tell you the truth it has been a real challenge to study, work and be a parent all the same time, but with hard work and determination it can be done!

So back to the present, you may be wondering why I decided to re-brand my blog? Well the reason behind it is that when I was running my grass roots campaign I blogged about local businesses and activities for children in the Ealing area and to my surprise these local posts were much more popular than anything I had written about general parenting on my other blog, therefore I decided that writing about my local area should be my niche.

My goals for the future are to have a successful blog and to start working as a freelance Social Media Manager. I have come a long way in the last eight months and I am looking forward to living a more flexible lifestyle. I will continue with my Nursing role, but I am hoping to take on less hours and focus on my passion for writing and helping other businesses grow their social media following and presence.

If you have any questions about my training with Digital Mums #WorkThatWorks then please do contact me! Or if you would like to be interviewed for my #MumsWhoWorkIt series then please let me know.

Cuddle Fairy