Q How did you originally come up with the concept for your denim brand, I Am Denim?
A About a year after my son was born I had to undergo major stomach surgery. It was in the weeks after recovery that I found something as simple as pulling on a pair of jeans an absolute struggle and an uncomfortable one. Searching for the right pair made me realise how much we all struggle after pregnancy, c-section and surgery to find a great pair of jeans that are comfortable, look good and are of a high quality. I wanted to create jeans that everyone could wear with total confidence and that’s how I Am Denim was born!
Q How do you balance working life (especially the demanding nature of running your own business) with the responsibilities of motherhood?
A Running my own business is very demanding, and you do have to consciously be aware of finding that balance. With access to technology round-the-clock and from any location I find my hours can be flexible, which is great and makes things so much easier. If I haven’t completed everything in the day due to a school event I always have the option of working at night from my laptop in my pyjamas! For me family comes first and so I find if I plan my hours and schedule my tasks for each day it’s really beneficial and more productive. Having a good support network of friends and family around you during school holidays can also really help.
Q Do you support flexible working? If so, in what way do you do so and is it something that more companies should be championing?
A Absolutely! It can be a real struggle for mums getting back into the workplace and often the cost of childcare can literally mean the reality of mums working for nothing. With 24/7 access, flexible working allows for higher morale, better health and far more productivity. For businesses to thrive, being open to a flexible approach is key, whether that’s part- time or working from home.
Q What’s the most challenging aspect of running a business in today’s fast-paced world?
A For me, personally, it’s knowing when to stop or take a break. It’s very easy even on days off to be thinking about new designs and ideas or tasks to be completed the next day. Making sure you have a digital detox on days off is really beneficial and actually helps you feel more refreshed and focused and enhances family time.
Q What advice would you give to other new mums looking to start their own businesses?
A Honestly, if you’re passionate about it then go for it. If you believe in what you’re doing and have a vision then never ever give up. People often like to give you their opinion along the way, sometimes negative, and they sometimes dress it up as advice – but in your heart you’ll know what’s right for you and your business. Have a plan in place, and always be prepared for things to take longer than they do. Lastly, never be afraid to ask for help or support. Starting out by yourself takes a lot of courage, self-belief and determination, and is so worth it. For me, being able to help people feel more confident and comfortable, and enabling them to look great in the jeans I design, is really special.