- Interview with Founders Abi Fennell & Guy FennellMarch 24, 2021
- Interview with Expert & Founder, Vanessa ChallessMarch 8, 2021
- Interview with Founders Kyra White and Shannon BarrieJanuary 19, 2021
Hi Kyra White & Shannon Barrie, let’s start by getting to know you. Can you please tell us a little bit about you and your background before starting your business?
Shannon: I’ve worked in beauty since my teens. I started on the counter and worked up to a global role within an LVMH brand in brand management spending time in different functions of the business in San Francisco, where I’m from.
Kyra: I’ve always been in retail too and started at the Arcadia Group in an events role which allowed me to travel and launch brands in other markets. I got into beauty about ten years ago and have been a Marketing Director at a UK skincare brand and met Shannon when we both worked for Benefit Cosmetics where I looked after all things brand.
Thank you for that great introduction. Can you please tell us in your own words how and why did you both decide to change direction and become a founder?
Shannon: It all started over lunch one day when Kyra and I were both pregnant, me with my second son and Kyra with her first baby. We were talking about how life was going to change and how amazing it would be to create something from scratch that we could own and control. There was a gap in the market for new mum gifts. It was easy to find a new baby gift but what about mum?
What a great story behind starting your business. Can you now please tell us, a little bit more about your business.
Kyra: Oh Mumma is the ultimate gift for any mum. We create boxes of beauty and lifestyle products for mums and mums to be. We also cater to mums at any stage in their journey and no matter how old her kids are too. The Just for Mum box is exactly that, and the Mum & Baby box includes something for her little one too.
We try, test and recommend every product in the box to ensure it actually works and is worth it. Lots of products don’t make it in and we promise never to add ‘fillers’. The boxes are perfect gifts as they start at £22 but are always worth at least £55. You can buy a one-off box or subscribe for 3, 6 or 12 months.
Thank you for sharing that Kyra. What has been the story behind your success and what led to your ‘aha’ moment?
Shannon: It was becoming a mum for sure. Everything changes, priorities, time and focus. We knew we wanted to create something that begins and ends with mum in mind. From the brands, we work with to the charity that we donate a percentage of our profits to, mum is at the heart of it.
Kyra: Both Shannon and I have always been the friend that would turn up with something for mum when meeting our friends and families newborns for the first time. Whether it’s wine or skincare we’ve always reached out to give mum a hug first when most people want to hold the baby.
What’s been your biggest hurdle so far and how did you overcome it, and would you do anything differently?
Kyra: The biggest hurdle has been how to prioritise and focus. Being a small business, the massive advantage is that we can be really active and agile. However, the reality of being just two people then comes into play and we have to weigh up what focuses would be most beneficial to the brand’s journey and success.
If there was one piece of advice you would say to another founder or someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be and why?
Shannon: Go for it!
Seriously, there’s never been a better time to start a business. Most things can be done online and from home. Everyone is now having to think differently, be that shopping small, supporting local businesses or expanding their own knowledge, just go for it. Prepare to work hard, really hard and it’s all worth it when you have even the tiniest of wins!
Kyra: Ask for help.
Think of who you know and how they may be able to help or advise you and be free in giving your help back to others who ask for your help too.
As we come to the end of our interview, let’s throw you both some quick inspirational questions your way. 1) What has been your biggest achievement and proudest moment so far and why? 2) What is your favourite quote? And lastly… 3) What motivates you both on a daily basis?
Shannon: Our biggest achievement was seeing our product on TV for the first time. ITV’s Lorraine show featured an Oh Mumma box in their Mother’s Day special only a few months after we launched, a feeling we’ll never forget.
Kyra: My favourite quote is from my mum who told my sister and I when we were very little that you can be whatever you want to be inline, you’ll just have to work hard for it, there are no short cuts.
Shannon: I think we motivate each other, that’s the best thing about having a partner. We’re in it together and can encourage each other, sound out new ideas and celebrate together too.
We also LOVE hearing from customers. Whether they email to say they love their box or comment on our social media posts, sharing bits of their lives. It’s great to be reminded that we are doing what we set out to do and adding a bit of ‘me time’ to mums.
And lastly…What have you learned from the year 2020 and what do you look forward to in 2021?
Shannon: Well, experiencing a new business during a global pandemic has been the best. All be it a most dramatic learning curve.
We’ve learned to react quickly and adapt. When it was clear that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day would not be the traditional affairs. We did everything we could to get gifts out to mums and dads everywhere, handwriting cards in every box sharing messages from loved ones.
Kyra: 2021 will bring some changes for us as we’ve had a year to look back and analyse and then learn from. We want to ensure that we are even more visible than ever to new customers but that we are loyal to our customers who started the journey with us. We also can’t wait to have real-life meetings in person again!
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