In today’s world, women wear many hats. This Mother’s Day, we’d like to introduce you to 6 mums who boldly blaze their ways through the business world while still making time to spend with family.
- Louise McCallum, Energetic Entrepreneur
This 36 year old Carrickfergus mum and her husband, Mark are the owners of Mr & Mrs Bath Boards NI. It was his penchant for watching football and drinking wine in the bath that inspired their research for a gadget to hold an iPad during his soak. Though there didn’t seem to be anyone in Northern Ireland offering such an item, they did find the seeds that were sown as the foundation of their business creating bath boards that hold electronics and a drink.
“Instead of wishing away the week until the weekend, try to find something you enjoy & can be passionate about, so you can enjoy so much more of your life, instead of just two days!” Louise advises other mums out there.
Personally, her favourite thing to do with her 14 year old son, Joel, is go to the beach. She also enjoys relaxed breakfasts or lunches with her husband. The freedom of owning her own business has allowed her the flexibility she needs to spend time with her family on her own terms.
- Barbara Hughes, Spirited Mum
Owner of Hughes Craft Distillery and RubyBlue Spirits, this 41-year-old mum is originally from Belfast, but now resides in Dromore. Her partner in business and life is her husband, Stuart. Her busy schedule includes managing time with her three children, Nathan, Hana and Mia, plus an adorable beagle named Dexter Dawg.
She and her husband made a life choice in 2010, resigning from their jobs to start Northern Ireland’s first small-batch spirit company. It was an effort to avoid missing their children’s sports days and enjoy a better work/life balance that has paid off I local and international awards and flexible family time.
Barbara’s advice for other women looking to pursue a startup is to “do your research to check the viability of the business idea and if you decide you can commit the time and energy to make it a reality then follow your heart.”
Her favourite things to do with her children are going to movies, dining out and taking family holidays. She also loves to bake for her family, though she does feel a bit of guilt in also helping them eat her sweet treats.
- Ciara Daly, Singular Sensation
This 38 year old owner of Belfast’s own Makeup Academy and Studio Ciara is also a single mum of two children.
Her advice for other young mothers is simply that “if you find something you truly believe in, go for it with all your heart and soul, don’t listen to the naysayers!”
Ciara started out as a freelance makeup artist, taking various courses in London due to a lack of local options. It was this experience that inspired her to create her own training in this area, not only setting up classes, but creating more affordable brushes for her students that quickly skyrocketed in popularity.
She enjoys spending time outdoors with her children, leaving behind the electronics so many children become tethered to in their rooms. Her own downtime is just as simple, revolving around having coffee and a few treats while enjoying her guilty pleasure of reading a trashy magazine.
- Karen Devlin, Hair Extraordinaire
This 42 year old Lisburn resident and owner of Rogue Hair is mum to four sons. She says that she doesn’t consider herself an inspirational mum at all, adding that, “being a Mum is the toughest most challenging job in the world and I salute all Mum’s, especially those women who have to do it on their own.”
Her passion for hair and fashion as a teen is what led her into her current business. It was in meeting her Rogue partner, Jody, that her dream of opening her own salon was realized.
Her advice to any mum trying to develop their own business is to “make sure they have a great support network around them. Learn to delegate, it is impossible to do everything – “Baby Brain” won’t allow it!”
Her time spent with kids leans toward the simple life that includes watching films or spending time in the park. Her weaknesses include wine and chocolate, but “not together.”
5 & 6. Angela Hunter & Nicola McIlhagger, Parent Partners
Aged 36 and 40, respectively, this dynamic pair run Cinch Corsets, as well as other independent businesses. Angela is a Holywood mother of two, Matthew (6) and Heidi (3). Helen’s Bay native, Nicola is the mum of 7 year old Nina.
It was a lack of comfortable shape wear in the local market that inspired their business in January 2015. Angela’s experience in purchasing shapewear and the impracticality or outright failure of it is what led her to a waist training corset. Showing off one she had purchased online to Nicola, an idea was born to create something to better suit women’s needs.
“Within a couple of months we had developed a sample corset that we were both absolutely thrilled with. We showed it to friends and families who placed an order immediately! We had to get to work fast!” she says. Two years later, their award winning corsets are available through a wide variety of retailers and pop up shops.
Their advice to other entrepreneurs is to “test the market, ask family, friends and friends of friends for their opinion on your idea. The Invest NI Start a Business Course is a good place to start – you meet like-minded people and are given lots of business guidance along the way.”
When these vivacious partners aren’t busy at work, they enjoy spending time with their children at National Trust properties, letting kids be kids by climbing trees, rocks and exploring nature as they see fit. On a personal level, Angela admits she revels in doing anything that is bad for her. Nicola admits to dancing around the house to Bollywood music.
We hoped we have inspired some mums to become budding entrepreneurs for us to feature next year!