Meet an inspiring career change mum – Joanne Stevens, founder of The Humble Hostess

October 19, 2016

One of the ways we can inspire each other is to share the stories of successful career change mums and see how they have made their new careers work for them and their family.

Today I spoke to Jo who is a mother of two. She is based in South West London’s “nappy valley”. Jo changed career from a role in International Development in Higher Education where she worked in North and South America to starting her own children's birthday supplies company

Jo’s previous job didn’t work for her when she had children as it required a lot of travel and she wanted to be there to pick up her kids from school and spend time with them. She was looking for something that she could genuinely fit around her kids but, like many mums, she wanted to have a fulfilling career.

She started the company in May this year after coming up with the idea when she was sourcing products for her son’s birthday. She realized that to get everything that you needed you had to put in a lot of effort sourcing the products for them to arrive from all over the world (often when you weren’t in!) in various different packages. The whole process was long winded and inconvenient for time poor mums. Jo’s vision was to have everything together in one box in the theme that you want personalized with your child’s name and age. This takes the pain out of planning the party and means that you can focus on the day. The box includes party supplies with a colour coordinated theme of your choice with personalized goodies including bunting, cups and pom-poms.

Jo’s business has gone from strength to strength since she has launched and I caught her taking a break from compiling all of her positive press. A significant highpoint for her so far is being stocked on notonthehighstreet. Jo talked enthusiastically about all the support that she has from her friends, local mums and the positive press and reviews that she has received. This has all helped make her business the success it is today.

Jo’s background in marketing and social media has really helped her in her new career. Her husband has helped her on the IT front especially with the website and automation of the personalization process. She has even been able to get her friend who is a photographer to help her out with shoots and offer valuable advise.

Longer term Jo is looking to grow the business by focusing more on product development and having other people pack the boxes and work on other areas.

Jo would advise other mums to get as much help as they can when starting up their business and would tell them to go for it!

The first thing that Jo did when she was starting the business was to cost the production and assembly time for every piece that she considered putting in the boxes so she could ensure that she had a robust business case and knew exactly the costs that she would incur and at what price point she needed to sell at. This is key to small business success as you need to make sure that you are have a financially viable product before moving forward with your business plan.

I asked Jo what she did on a weekly basis so other mums could get a feel of what it would be like to run a similar business. She spends time responding to clients;  following social media – Jo’s strategy is to post at least 3 times a week on her own page and local parenting groups; updating the website with press and testimonals; mailing out orders to clients; collating pinterest files for new product development ideas and investigating new selling platform opportunities or bloggers or parenting forums to work with.

It was great speaking to Jo and hearing how she is making her business work around her family two days a week. I am sure that you will agree it is a fantastic idea and I now know where to go when sourcing things for my kids birthdays that are good quality and personal. I am sure we will hear even more good things about The Humble Hostess in the future.

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