Interview with Emily Tredget from Mummy Links
Find out how post-baby loneliness and PND inspired Emily Tredget to launch MummyLinks, a network (and soon app) that helps women to meet other local mums.
What’s your career background?
I studied at Oxford, went into consulting, then worked in supply chain management at Innocent drinks getting all their lovely smoothies and juices onto the shelves!
How did your career change after having children?
Massively! Instead of trying to climb the ladder I’m now running my own social enterprise helping mums overcome loneliness. It’s great as I’m so passionate about it, and I can fit it around my son. It’s called MummyLinks and it helps mums create local, ad-hoc playdates safely.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I struggled terribly with post-natal depression and anxiety. I found it really hard (because of this, but also because of my personality type!) if I didn’t have something planned or somebody cancelled last minute due to their kid being sick etc. I’d Whatsapp my friends to try and make plans, but often everyone was already busy.
I have a great circle of support – lots of family, old, and new mum friends close by. So if I was finding it hard a few times a week, I couldn’t imagine how hard it must be for mums who aren’t lucky to live close to friends and family.
To help my PND I knew I needed to get out and about and chat, but if I couldn’t find a mum to get some fresh air with, how many other mums were also sitting in their livings rooms wanting to get out but couldn’t find others?
How did you move from idea to actual business?
I just got started! I’m not a techie, so I found a technie to help me out. They created the website and I did everything else! From getting my friends to try it out, to running MummyLinks events to get mums out and about and meeting in their local area.
I read The Lean Startup, which basically advises getting going, seeing how it goes, and then tweaking and so on. So it’s by no means perfect as we ‘launched’ very early on, but it works and it helps mums, so now I’m focusing on continually improving it (and launching an app soon as this will make notifications work much better!)
What’s your USP?
MummyLinks is invite/approval only. This is key as it ensure mums know that those they are meeting are mums – not just anyone wanting to sign up.
We also are focused on actually meeting face to face – at the moment there are no profiles (beyond child’s age for age appropriate playdates) and the platform discourages chatting online. We don’t need more online chats to debate over!
Who’s your target audience?
I love it when mums sign up when they are pregnant as it means they can start to create a support and friendship group around them even before the baby comes. I think this is really important so that you can call on those friends if (when!) times get tough.
Mostly it’s new mums – still on maternity leave, but we also have a good number who have remained SAHMs. It’s also open to dads and carers but we have been focusing on mums for now.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
It’s mostly word of mouth – that works best it being invite/approval only. However, I also have a Facebook page where people can ask to join if they haven’t been invited.
As soon as somebody in the facebook group that they know approves them, they can join MummyLinks. It doesn’t take long if those joining are active in inviting all their trusted mummy friends – we are now only three degrees of separation through Facebook!
What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?
Inadvertently it would be a maternal mental health awareness campaign I ran in May called #ShoutieSelfie. I ran it from my @MummyLinksApp Twitter and Instagram, but only because I didn’t have my own personal accounts at that time (told you I was new to this!).
But it was a great success – getting maternal mental health trending in the first half hour, and 600k impressions in eight hours.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
Finding the right people to work with. It’s really tough to find people who have the time and passion to get involved! I don’t have any funding, it’s just a project I’m doing at the moment.
In fact I’m trying to find somebody to look after social media for me so I can focus on what I’m good at, but it’s really tricky. I’d want them to be as passionate as I am – and ideally not need a huge wage!
And your proudest moment so far?
That’s a tricky one. The events I run make me really proud – they are not-for-profit events to get mums out of their houses and meeting locally and I always have great feedback. Mums have to come up with fun ideas to fill days and weeks, and they really appreciate you doing the planning for them so that “all” they have to do is turn up!
Personally I was really proud of speaking out about my struggles with PND on C4 News back in February. It proved to me that I was better! I was pretty proud of #ShoutieSelfie too – I only came up with the idea 10 days before I launched it and hadn’t a clue what I was doing really so I was really proud of the results!
Why is work so important to you?
I’ve always loved to work, but what I love even more about MummyLinks is that it doesn’t feel like work. I’m so passionate about helping mums that I just feel like I’m having fun!
I get my energy from work, and when I wasn’t working I found myself much less energetic.
But working full-time for somebody else definitely isn’t on the cards right now. I love the flexibility of “working” for myself so that if my son is ill, or I just need to take a quiet few hours I can!
Who inspires you?
I know it sounds cheesy, but EVERY mum inspires me now. Before I was a mum I was definitely (I’m ashamed to say…) in the “mums just have fun all day” camp. But it’s the toughest job in the world. You are constantly on, have no time to yourself, and have no idea what you are doing most of the time. It’s so tough that I had to do some work as work is way easier!!
How do you balance MummyLinks with your family?
It’s really tough. And I get it wrong often. I’m lucky having family close by, so my son is with my parents 1.5 days a week. He has also just started nursery 2 mornings a week. So I use that time, plus some evenings and weekends to work.
I have weeks when I’m working whilst my son is around for an hour here and there, or my husband takes him out for Saturday morning whilst I get things done, but as much as I can I fit it into what we’ve allocated as my work time so that we can enjoy weekends and evenings.
I’ve learnt that things can wait. You don’t have to respond straight away to an email, or a tweet. Yes you might miss an opportunity, and my natural inclination is to respond straight away so I do find that tough, but it’s not worth it. I work hard when I’m working, and try my hardest to stop when I’m not.
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
- Do something you are passionate about.
- Just get started! You won’t know until you try.
- Surround yourself with great people (when you get to that stage).
You can find out more about MummyLinks on their website.