Lucy Sibbald – founder of mepod maternity t-shirts (www.mepod.co.uk) – profile
I started out my career in PR and after 10 years in the industry I went on to become a PR Director – shortly after this my husband and I decided life was getting far too serious, and before we became parents we needed to go see the world. In the height of the property boom, we cashed in the house and took a teeny slice to go to South America, New Zealand and Australia – and, we never regretted it – we came back to the UK and everything had just stood still. Settling back in Sheffield, we went on to create our next generation with two lovely kids (well, I would say that) – Oliver, 4, and Heidi, 2.
So, my career has been on hold for the past five years as I’ve been busy breeding and rearing my blonde bundles. I was fortunate to be able to stay home with the kids but burning in the back of my mind was a little seed of an idea – mepod. What started out as sketches in my note pad is now reality as mepod has come to life, and I am now selling designer maternity t-shirts online (www.mepod.co.uk) – I like to think they are no ordinary maternity t-shirts but offer women something different and expressive – a t-shirt that goes beyond the baby bump and something you’d want to get pregnant to wear.
With launching a new business comes a tightening of the belt as, in its infancy, mepod is like having another mouth to feed – from purchasing envelopes to paying illustrators – toy buying and random clothing purchases (something I’m all too good at) are all on hold, and we look for money saving tactics. My Dad has always annoyingly had a little adage he recites to me for as long as I can remember – ‘if you watch the pennies the pounds will look after themselves’ – after 34 years I am slowly starting to understand where he’s coming from.
1) Playtime – my sister is a teacher and has given me some top tips for cheap entertainment for the kids – my two just love drawing and rather than buying pads of paper we go down to B&Q, or any DIY store, and buy large rolls of wall lining paper – kids love it as they can make gigantic pictures and it’s never ending. Other top favourites are making your own play dough, on good days giving the kids chalk to make crazy patterns on the patio, basic shaving foam on a kitchen surface or a pile of flour and a plastic tractor or train never fails to keep them entertained, making tracks and then loving washing them in the sink.
2) ‘Only buy if you’ve made’ – from clothing to old clothes – my husband and I have come up with an agreement that you can only buy something if you’ve sold an item(s) to cover the cost – this usually involves ebay. Where as before we used to give away clothes or toys in charity bags we have been going through our stash of old kids goodies to make bundles of re-sellable items. It amazes me how many friends have said they just gave stuff away and what a great idea selling on ebay is – it’s not a major revelation but if you can get in the swing of it – it can make you money that you thought was dead. This has resulted in my son regularly suggesting we sell some of his toys on ebay so he can have some new ones!
Park life – when I looked at where I could cut back to feed the mouth that is mepod, I realised how much I was spending on my social whirl that is ‘park life’. Whatever the weather we’re always out in the park putting mileage on the bikes, but the problem is that the kids are well versed and expectant that the trip will involve a stop at the café. After drinks and treats, you’re usually looking at a good £10 splurge and if you’re doing this three times a week…exactly! So, I’m trying to limit visits to the café or when we go feed and fill up the kids at home before we go – go post lunch rather than for lunch, take a juice bought in packs from supermarket which breaks down to 20p each rather than £1.20. I’ve also invested in two fantastic camelbak water bottles that the kids love and mean I’m never wasting cash on bottles of water for them or me. I load up my bag with fruits and raisins which always keeps them happy. Not quite got to the point of taking a flask, but depends how desperate I get!
Lucy’s business opened yesterday (www.mepod.co.uk) Do pop over and pay her a visit and thanks for sharing Lucy.