Want to start your own online shop? After running their own successful website for seven years, three mums – Natalie Lue, Lu Davies and Claire Archbold – have created a range of eCourses to help you.
Who are the ladies behind BG School?
Natalie Lue: Based in Caterham, Surrey, my background is media sales and marketing (radio, directories and magazines). I sold my first online ad in 1999 when clients used to ask, ‘What the hell is the internet?’! I’ve been blogging for over 10 years and am the founder of Baggage Reclaim, author of several books, as well as co-founder of BG School.
Lu Davies: I am a freelance writer, editor and proofreader as well as co-founder of BG School and I live by the sea in Brighton. My background is in glossy magazines – I was a staffer at Marie Claire for thirteen years.
Claire Archbold: I’m also by the sea, in Southsea. My background is project management. I worked on big builds with million pound budgets before deciding it was time to say goodbye. From 2009 I have worked predominately in the social media arena.
You’ve all had amazing careers. How did they change once you became mums?
Nat: Wooed back early from my maternity leave with a new role and pay rise, I returned to find that I had no desk or laptop, plus the role didn’t seem to be set up. This gave me the jolt I needed to focus on Baggage Reclaim and Bambino Goodies and I haven’t looked back.
Lu: I returned to my desk on a job share a year after my son was born, which worked well for a year or two. But when I had my daughter and my son was starting school, commuting to London just wasn’t viable (or appealing) any more, so I decided to go freelance. I started writing, editing and proofreading from home.
Claire: My job was great, but the hours weren’t. When I had my first daughter I needed to reprioritise. I thought working part time would be okay, but in my line of work it didn’t work. Before I knew it I was practically working full time, so I handed in my notice and started freelancing.
How did you meet/decide to go into business together?
Nat: I met Lu when she started writing for Bambino Goodies and we just really gelled. I think I met Claire on Twitter, then properly at an event and we worked together on a few things before she joined us to cover a maternity leave and also never left. A lengthy chinwag this past winter and BG School was born, and I also became partners with them on Bambino Goodies.
Lu: I started coolhunting and writing for Bambino Goodies as a sideline five years ago, while pregnant, and never left, so I’ve known Nat for a while. Claire joined the BG team in 2011. We all met to brainstorm ideas for developing the site one day and the idea for BG School was born.
Claire: The ladies have it covered. I can’t remember the exact details with Nat but we bonded over mojitos, Nat introduced me to Lu and the three of us became the BG family!
What’s Bambino Goodies?
All: Bambino Goodies is a lifestyle guide for everything that’s cool for families with children under seven.
We all love well-designed, good-looking ‘stuff’ that allows us to be parents and still have our taste in tow, and we share our finds with parents, grandparents and gift givers who feel the same way. Bambino Goodies now attracts in the region of 100K unique visits a month.
What inspired you to start BG School?
All: Over the past seven years, Bambino Goodies has helped hundreds of stores and labels come to life and sell lots of lovely goodies for design-conscious families.
After fielding many questions and helping where we could, we decided we needed to formalise our offering and bring all our knowledge and experience across retail, product design, project management, publishing, social media and branding together in one place.
Who is BG School for, and how does it help them?
All: BG School is all about helping wannabe and actual store owners grow online. We’re working with stores from all different genres (not just the children’s market).
What’s the dynamic between you? How do you carve up your workload/responsibilities?
Nat: I’m the voice of experience, having run countless courses with Baggage Reclaim I know what does and doesn’t work when delivering online.
Lu: I’m the words person. We all write modules and promotional copy, but I edit everything and proof it before it goes live – once a sub, always a sub.
Claire: I’m the whip cracker! I generally get my boss on and create to do lists for us all. We’re all ideas people, so it can get crazy when we’ve a million things brewing about so I try and keep us focused.
How do you all manage your work around being mums?
Nat: Mine are now both at school so it’s become a bit easier. I’ve had to learn to let go of this idea that I can be in control of everything and am gradually delegating. I scale right back for holidays and this has relieved a lot of stress – unsurprisingly, you can’t do your normal level of work and entertain the kids and sort the house out at the same time!
Lu: I currently work two days a week while my youngest goes to nursery and my eldest is in school. Other than that, you’re looking at a lot of late nights!
Claire: My eldest is at school and my youngest at home with me. I work around him. He’s a chilled little soul so it works. But I am also a late-night worker but that’s as much to do with insomnia as it is with children!
What’s your vision for BG School?
All: We want to do a book or few as well as start doing live talks/workshops. Inspiring and empowering women who will often unwittingly let their confidence and imposter syndrome get in the way is one of our missions because there are amazing stores and business ideas out there just waiting to happen.
Who inspires you?
All: That’s a good question. We’re mostly inspired by work ethic and creativity. Patricia van den Akker is a very cool woman who knows a hell of a lot about running and growing a creative business and is a ball of energy.
What advice do you have for mums thinking about going into online sales?
All: Get your idea on paper and do a spot of planning, but basically get working on it – don’t let perfectionism have you working on the idea until kingdom come. Accept that (and you’d be surprised how many of us forget this) you have to sell – that’s part of the business process and it’s not ‘salesy’.
Sign up to our eCourse, of course! And be committed. Think about it. It’s not the easy answer and there are no quick wins, but if you’re ready to graft and are authentic, you can make it work.
You can find out more about BG School and sign up for courses on their website.