SPOTLIGHT: STEPH DOUGLAS
We chat to Steph from Don’t Buy Her Flowers about her gift packages for new mums
Buying a gift for a new mum isn’t always easy, and there’s always the chance of doubling up on gifts or giving them baby clothes that don’t fit or aren’t to the parents’ tastes. And what about the heroine of the hour – the mum herself? Steph Douglas has come up with something all mums (and non-mums!) would be pretty darn chuffed to receive through the post.
So, what’s wrong with flowers then? What was the inspiration behind DBHF?
I think flowers are lovely, but when someone has had a baby, I think there are better gifts. Apparently, 96% of women receive flowers after giving birth and most of them get three or more bunches. When you’ve just had a baby and you’re tired and sore and feeling all sorts of emotions, I think you need looking after – not another thing to take care of. The idea behind the packages is that they offer anyone that has recently had a baby some TLC and encourage her to take 10 minutes to herself. They are all about the mum, because I think motherhood is awesome, but can be a roller-coaster. Knowing someone is thinking of you and what you need is really powerful. So, ultimately, the inspiration was how I found those first months after a baby, ie, tough.
Tell us about the types of packages on offer
The Care Package is the most popular package, with a magazine, tea, flapjack, truffles and a scarf. While pampering kits are lovely, I know some things sit on the shelf gathering dust, so The Essentials package is full of stuff that can be used every day to make you feel a bit more human – eye cream, hand cream, lip balm and dry shampoo. We also do a Date Night In to help couples spend time together when going out isn’t on the cards, and we teamed up with COOK (chef-prepared meals ready for your freezer), so their vouchers can be added to any of our packages. Good cooked food they don’t have to prepare is always a great present for new parents.
You also blog at the (frankly, hilarious) Sisterhood (And All That), attached to your site – was there a day job before you became a brilliant blogger and entrepreneur?
Oh, you flatterers… I worked in brand and marketing. I went straight in to PR when I left university, and then moved in to big advertising campaigns and sponsorships. My ‘speciality’ was integration – bringing all the elements of a campaign together, so the PR, advertising, customer and internal communications, etc, and getting all the different agencies working together. I loved it, actually.
What are the challenges of combining a new business with motherhood?
A lot are the same as with any job and motherhood, I guess – the juggle. Getting out the house, getting somewhere on time, chucking it all up in the air when someone is sick, arguing with your partner about who should drop everything… I run my business from home, which means if we’re there it’s hard to escape it. I’m still working on being realistic about what is possible with three days of childcare, and remembering that within my idea of success, at this stage, is balance and not to desert my young family.
And do you think mums make good businesswomen?
We get sh*t done. Also, regardless of whether you want it to change or not, a lot of women feel differently about their work after having a baby. Lots of friends have said they want to ‘do’ something with a bit more meaningful or that they’re really passionate about because they’re paying for someone to look after their kid and they want to know it’s worth it. If you’re doing something you’re passionate about, you’re always going to perform well and put in that extra effort.
What’s been the hardest bit of setting up DBHF? And the best bit?
The hardest bit was probably overcoming the fear and getting on with it. The fear of failing or looking daft or no one buying anything. Pretty quickly it was obvious that all the fears were wasted energy – it’s been so well received. The best bit is the feedback. I get emails all the time from customers sharing their recipient’s joy. We also get a lot of orders for birthday, get well, and ‘just because’ gifts, and that’s pretty cool, as it’s happening organically.
And the best and worst bits about being a mum?
The hardest thing for me was probably the range of emotions, feeling high as a kite one minute and like it had all gone horribly wrong the next. Having a good day where everyone fed and slept and feeling on top of the world, and then the next one everyone’s angry and you’re so tired your body aches and you feel like a rubbish mum. Mostly it was hormones and tiredness and feeling just a bit lost for a while. We come out of it, but it’s a confusing old time and there’s lots of change to get your head around.
But the best? Well, that would be my babies. Watching them turn into these funny, quirky, strong-willed little people. On a good day – and there are some shockers, obviously – but on a good day, when one of them says something smart or ridiculous and we’re reminded that these incredible kids are growing and thinking for themselves, my other half and I will look at each other and say, ‘We did that’.
Lastly, are there any mums who inspire you?
I’d have to say my mummy. Sorry, I know that’s probably too obvious, but she’s a gin-drinking, bridge-playing vicar’s wife with a huge heart and a bit of a potty mouth. She drives me mad as she likes to be contrary with her opinion, which I think is her giving us payback for all the drama of having six children. Sometimes I phone her and we’ll laugh for five minutes without speaking, because I know what she’s about to say and it’s daft. I’m very proud of her.
Visit www.dontbuyherflowers.com for packages from £21
And grab a cuppa and sit down with Sisterhood (And All That) when you need a good chortle