Hi! My name is Faye, and my business is Mama Movement. My religion is dopamine dressing, and I have purple hair! My passion in life is empowering women – at the tender age of 10, I created a blogsite called Galz Rule, a website to connect girls from around the world with the sole purpose of celebrating how awesome girls are. Our tag line was “Galz Rule, Boys Drool!”. Little did I know that 20-something years on, I would be the Founder of a fashion label which is all about empowering mums to love on themselves hard, by celebrating their bodies with colour!
When did you start your business?
Mama Movement officially launched in July 2020, yes it is my Covid-baby. I left my corporate career in January 2020 to pursue my dreams, not realising what 2020 had in store for us (hello global pandemic!). It meant my original intention to work part-time while building the business was no longer possible, but in many ways I am SO thankful that option was taken away from me, as it allowed me to throw myself fully into growing the business as my sole focus, and grow the business far quicker than I could have anticipated.
What was the inspiration behind starting this business?
I had a history of disordered eating in my 20s, and body image struggles, but after becoming a mother to a beautiful baby girl, I just knew I really wanted to do anything I could to give her a different experience of her body growing up, than the one I had. I also experienced the rollercoaster of emotions that came with the changes in my body through pregnancy and postpartum, a combination of awe at the miracle my body was producing, but also the grief and longing some days for the body I had pre-baby.
So all of my personal experiences, combined with my passion for celebrating women, and helping women and girls realise their strength, resulted in the idea for Mama Movement – an activewear label that would help women and mums embrace their bodies, embrace their strength, and lead by example for the generation after us, that there is SO much more to life, than worrying about our weight.
What are you most excited about in your business?
What excites me every day, is getting to see the amazing women in our community, of ALL shapes and sizes, ROCKING their colourful activewear. I’m always asking (begging!) our customers to tag us in their photos, not just because it makes my day, but I have observed the beautiful impact that can have, on all of the other women who follow us on socials. To be able to see “normal” everyday women and mums, embracing their bodies with colour, rather than hiding away in black. It’s what lights my fire every single day.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
I think the most challenging thing so far is the scale up. Starting was almost the easy part, I started small, with 2 boxes of leggings, and 2 boxes of sports bras, operating out of my garage, by myself. The risk and consequences of failure were low. But we’ve grown so quickly, that today, we operate out of a commercial warehouse space and I employ another FOUR women part time or on a casual basis. The stakes are high, as the income we generate now needs to cover rent, and the salaries of the wonderful team of women who we employ (and hopefully pay me after all that too!).
Oh, and in the midst of all that I went and had another baby in May this year, and suffered a very difficult pregnancy. So I’ll be honest, this year, there have been some tears, some sleepless nights. Scale up has definitely been more stressful than start up.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
Be really really clear on your WHY – and make sure this WHY is front and centre of every decision you take in the business. Because this “why” is the thing that will get you through all the hard bits of business ownership. Recently my dad stayed with me for a short holiday, and at the end of it, he looked at me and said “I’ve never seen you work this hard” – and it’s true. I’ve never worked this hard – and I worked some VERY late nights in my corporate career. Small business ownership is not easy, and it can be difficult to switch off from it at the end of the day, the way you can from many other jobs. But oh the reward of waking up every single day doing something you love, there is no Monday-itis, it is incredibly rewarding, and a labour of love.
Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?
I entered the AusMumpreneur Awards because I was really proud of the success we had this year as a business in scaling up – despite it also being the year I fell pregnant and had a baby. The pregnancy was so rough on me that in my first trimester, I was so violently unwell that I stopped showing up on social media (which I had been doing DAILY), but not only that, I also hit pause on all of our paid ads. I did this because I was so nauseous, and so low on energy, that I could barely get through the packing of orders just from word of mouth growth, that I did not want to have any additional sales on top of what was coming through naturally as at the time I was still the only person in the business. Well to still turn that around into 50% growth in our second year (after an outstanding first year), plus being able to hire the 4 staff we have today is an achievement I am incredibly proud of, and want to celebrate.
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?
I most enjoyed hearing the speeches from all the amazing and deserving winners. So many stories of triumph out of hardship, and of succeeding in business while juggling family life. I was totally inspired by every single woman who spoke on that stage, and consider it one of the biggest privileges I’ve ever had, to consider myself now amongst that incredible cohort of Ausmumpreneurs.
What surprised you most about the awards?
Winning Emerging AusMumpreneur VIC (Silver Nationals)??? HaH!! It was definitely a huge surprise… I was also genuinely delighted by how encouraging every woman was for EVERY SINGLE award. It was a long night of awards, and yet there was such genuine applause and appreciation for every single award winner speech. It was so beautiful to watch a whole room of women truly supporting other women!
How did the awards help you in your business?
I’ve already had some amazing opportunities knock on my door since attending and winning the Emerging Ausmumpreneur Award. From podcasts, to PR opportunities, to collaboration invitations, I’ve had such a wonderful experience post that night, and I am SO SO glad I bit the bullet and made my way to the event, even with 4 month old in tow!
What advice would you give to other mums thinking about entering the awards?
DO IT. Regardless of the outcome, it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate how HARD it is to juggle small business ownership and mum-life. And it is definitely worth celebrating! Plus regardless of winning, I had already throughout the night made so many valuable and wonderful connections with other women / mums in business and that is worth its weight in gold!
What has been the best thing about starting your own business?
No more Monday-it is HAH! I truly feel like I am now spending my precious time on Earth doing something worthwhile, and something I love. Plus I get to take my newborn baby to work with me and no one bats an eye hahh!!!
What’s happening next in your business?
Surviving LOL I’d be lying if I said it’s smooth going from here. As our expenses climb, I am constantly looking at how we grow our audience and revenue streams. We are definitely still working our way through scale up mode, doing our first expos and markets this Spring including One Fine Baby and Finders Keepers, and hopefully looking to start scaling up sales further by investing in Google ads, TikTok and influencer marketing. And then looking at opportunities for wholesale in 2023.
It’s funny, before I had my baby I had said to my hubby that this year the business would probably have to go on “cruise control”, but as it turns out, that’s not a mode I know how to operate in hah!
What are your big plans for the future?
I am no good at “5 year plans”, but I do have a secret dream. See where I live in the Inner West of Melbourne, we’ve had such amazing support from our local mums, that it’s not out of the ordinary for me to be driving down the road, or taking my kids to the playground and spotting a pair of Mama Movement leggings (or spray jacket) walking down the street. My big plan? That this is something I’ll see ALL ACROSS Australia, not just in my wonderful little pocket of the inner west. My wonderful community often send in messages telling me when they’ve spotted Mama Movement in their local towns, and it brings me SO much joy!!
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