Tuesday, 18 October 2011

"When I thought I couldn't go on, I forced myself to keep going. My success is based on persistence, not luck." - Estee Lauder

At the end of last year, I was celebrating my wedding anniversary and looking back over 5 years of wonderful life with a man I loved. Just weeks later my world was blown apart and I found myself facing a scary future as a single mum. Looking back now, I don’t think I have any real recollection of the first quarter of this year. Most of it was lived through a haze, a basic survival instinct and nothing more. My only reason for getting up each day was Toddler Tyke. Despite what was going on in our lives, he still needed his mummy, still needed to be fed, dressed, nappy changed etc.

As we head towards winter and the end of 2011, I keep reflecting upon this year and how it has changed me. When things were tough, everyone kept telling me I was tougher, a strong person who could get through this. It is only when you really need it do you actually realise how strong you can be. Your inner strength comes from somewhere, deeply hidden and takes over to carry you through.

Tykes Tights took a major battering at the start of the year. Like I said, I could barely function let alone work on a new business, devoting the time and energy it needed to send it into it’s first spring and summer. I spent a lot of time wondering how other people do it, how do other’s cope?

I read about Rebecca Taylor, who at 23 was a single mum sleeping on her Grandmother’s sofa. With a lot of determination and hard work, she turned her life around and is now owner of The Original Lash and Nail bar in the North of England with an average annual turnover of £200,000.

You may have heard of Sharon Wright, inventor of magnamole, a magnetic cable device to help put cables through walls. Another single mum who worked hard to achieve her dream. She is now an award winning inventor with a hugely successful business and has published books.

And of course, there can’t be anyone who hasn’t heard of Kirsty Henshaw of Dragon’s Den fame. Single mum who created a dairy and nut free desert for her young son. Since then, she has developed a range of products available on the supermarket shelves and Worthenshaws Freedom is set to become a huge name.

And that’s when I realised. Troubled times are sent to put us down or ruin our plans, they are sent to give us determination, to build our characters and help us to find the motivation we need to move on to a brighter future. So here I am, Winter season 2011 building a brighter future for me and my boy 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

How will you keep your family warm this winter?

So it looks like our Indian Summer is over and has disappeared as quickly as it arrived. Who would have thought that this time last week we were baking in temperatures of nearly 30 degrees and I am now digging out winter coats and seriously considering turning the heating on.

So how are you going to keep your family warm this winter?

When Tykes Tights started, it was all about tights for boys but since those early days, our range of stock has gradually increased to include girl’s tights, socks for both boys and girls (including boy’s knee socks), slipper socks, and our latest addition, thermals.

Our range of thermal wear isn’t just for the kids either. We have thermals for the whole family, whether it be long janes for mum, thermal t-shirts for dad or vests for the kids. We also have fab adult thermal socks which have been tried and tested here at TT HQ.

Are you planning a winter skiing holiday? Do you or your partner work outdoors? From farmers to builders, market stall owners to lollipop men/women, we now have something for everyone!

So, how are you going to keep your family warm this winter? Easy – Tykes Tights!

Pop along and see what we have for you and your family ;)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Calling all business mummies and baby forum users!

While facebook and other social media sites are without doubt one of the best ways to get your name known and promote your business, I have become increasingly frustrated with another excellent source. Stick ‘tights for boys’ or ‘boys tights’ into any search engine and, as well as finding us!, you will find links to a whole range of parenting websites and forums. Mums and dads all over the country are starting discussion threads “where can I get tights for my boys?”. The answer is simple – Tykes Tights of course! Except it’s really not that simple. The rules on these forums state that you are not allowed to advertise your business. I was even banned from one forum for thanking a particular mum for adding a link to my website.

I can see all these people that need a little nudge in my direction and there is nothing I can do about it! It is so frustrating! As a mum who had exactly the same problem, I would have appreciated someone sending me a link but when I write on these forums, in the mediators eyes, I am no longer a mummy, I am a business woman touting for business. Gah!

So, I have to just sit back and hope that someone else will mention Tykes Tights.

How do other people get around this? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Oh, and if you happen to come across a discussion on a forum and wish to mention us, please feel free!!!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Mixing Business and Babies!

Juggling a tiny person and work commitments is hard for any parents and the reason why many mums and dads choose to look for a new way to earn money - a route where they can manage their time more effectively in order to meet the demands of a growing family.  I had never planned to start Tykes Tights, the idea came looking for me and I realised that it could work.  Yes, it has taken a lot of time and some days, I feel like I let my son down because I have orders to pack, emails to reply to and blogs to write rather than getting stuck in with the play doh.  Other days, I can give my son 100% attention and leave the admin side of things until he is safely tucked up in bed.  Working, whether for yourself or someone else, and being a parent is always going to be juggling act but hundreds of new mums are full of new business ideas, looking for a way to make family life a little more manageable.

When I started Tykes Tights, I can across mumsclub where I found all the help and advice I needed from like-minded mums, as well as making great business contacts and good friends along the way.  Each year, Jane at mumsclub organises a Business and Baby Show where mums (and dads!) with new businesses or just a seed of a business idea, can gather for advice, whether it be on the legalities, setting up a website, managing social media, advertising and even gaining funding.  At the show, there is also a 'mumpreneur alley', a row or two of stands showcasing businesses who are run by mums. 
A couple of weeks ago, I entered a competition to win one of the mumpreneur stands and was delighted to find out that we were one of 20 businesses chosen to go along.

On Friday afternoon, I packed up Toddler Tyke and drove him to stay with his dad whilst I carried on my journey to Birmingham.  After an overnight stay at a local premier inn, me and Nanny Tyke were up early to head to the venue and set up for the day.  As well as selling our products, there were lots of seminars and networking events set up throughout the day.  I went along to listen to Antonia Chitty talk about the use of social media and how to promote your business.  I also went along to a 'speed networking' event where I met a host of other business mums and learned about their businesses as well as talk about how we could work together and help each other out.  It was great to finally meet some of the other mumsclub regulars who I had 'virtually' known for over a year but never before met face to face.  For any mum thinking of setting up a business, or even running a business, it was a great day with lots of information and help available.  Whilst I was busy making contacts, Nanny Tyke did a great job of promoting our products and we returned home on Saturday night with a lighter car load. 
A big thanks to mumsclub for organising the event.

I was even more delighted when I got home to find out that I had won the prize draw from Vitabella, a fab new company offering gorgeous beauty products direct from the heart of Italy.  I had tried out the handcream at the show and it smelled gorgeous, as well as sorting out my dry skin.  I can't wait for my prize to arrive so that I can try out some of the other products.  VitaBella are also looking for consultants to host parties so that they can expand the areas they reach out to.  if you are a mum looking for a way to juggle work and family, this could be an ideal opportunity!