Business tips from a Mum

Business tips from a Mum

From Mother’s Day until Father's Day, ShopAppy is celebrating family run businesses across the UK. As part of celebrating family businesseswe talked to Helen Crouch of The Design Hub in Coalville, North West Leicestershire


Helen, who is a single mum of one, runs two businesses - Concept and Completion and The Design Hub in Coalville.  Helen ran an interior design business refurbishing pubs, but when COVID hit she was forced to adapt, going on to set up the Design Hub in Coalville, which specialises in restoring vintage furniture, with a focus on sustainability and quality of finish. We spoke to Helen to learn more about her, her business and her motivation. You can visit her site here

Why did you start your business?

I started The Design Hub because I knew that with COVID, the pubs were going to be down for a long time, and I’ve got to feed my child and I’ve got a mortgage to pay. And also, it’s something we were doing anyway on site. We do a unique service so that someone can have something that no one else has got. They can come in to us with a piece of furniture that was left by probably a family member and we then create their dream piece that fits in with their modern house.

I just ran a response team for two years, you know, COVID started, I lost my business, I got a phone call saying, ‘Helen, would you coordinate a response team to support people that are struggling while they’re in COVID.’ That’s me thinking it’ll only be a couple of weeks, two years on, we’ve got a really strong constituted charity that is supporting people and we’ve done twenty thousand activities in two years, that’s twenty seven man hours of my time a week, plus running a business and setting a business up. But you do it because that’s what needs to happen

What keeps you motivated?

I think it’s a bit of everything. I think it depends what hat I’m wearing at the time! So I’m wearing four different hats at the moment; helping people I get a lot of joy out of that because you know you’ve made a difference;  providing for my family and keeping a roof over our heads, that’s an essential as well as something I have a drive to do; teaching my daughter to help other people which teaches her all those morals and ethics that are right in life; nurturing my creative side because that’s the joy when you see people see their finished product. 

"...I wouldn’t say I’m motivated by money, I’m too good at giving stuff away because that’s the joy of supporting someone else!"

What tips do you have for other mums starting their own businesses?

If you’re starting a new business, make sure it’s something you’re going to enjoy. Make sure you’ve got the right plates spinning, so sit down, don’t rush into it,  make a business plan. It doesn’t have to be a complicated one, just a simple business plan. One about your financial side, one about the marketing and who your audience is. Understand who the audience is, and understand what your skill sets are, and if you haven’t got all the skill sets, that doesn’t mean you can’t run that business.

"There’s lots of support out there for new businesses. It’s about you having that key plan to start with."

How do you balance work and life?

Years ago I used to work at Yellowpages and one of the training courses was ‘make sure you put the rocks in your diary.’ The rocks were rocks because they were heavy and unmoveable, so if that rock is going to the gym on a Monday morning you cannot move that rock. It’s about you managing your diary, just the same as being a mum. I think the key thing is balance all the time, whether it’s at work, whether it’s at home, whether it’s doing something you like -  it’s about making sure you’re as okay as everybody else. I think you’ve got to look after yourself to look after others and your business.

Why should people shop locally?

There’s a lot of reasons to shop locally. One is that you’re supporting local businesses, because they’ve supported a lot of people through the pandemic. By shopping locally, you cut down your carbon.I think small businesses are so important for the economy and to the community. When you support a small business it supports a family - it might support ten families. When you support the big boys  it goes in that one pocket at the top. Sometimes a smaller business is a couple of pence more but actually the service you get makes that couple of pence well worth it.

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