An interview article at MumsonTop about being a “mumpreneur”



Featured Mum: Frances McInnes

Tell us a bit about yourself and your family:

Hi, I’m Frances. I am an arty person and love doing paintings, murals, mosaic, pottery, garden sculpture, renovating furniture, knitting, dying wool, and fibre craft! I have trained as an environmental engineer and am a “modern greenie” by way of nappies, recycling, conservation and all things eco.

I have a very supportive and understanding husband who after five years of marriage is getting used to my energy levels and contast ideas and plans. He’s beginning to understand that when I say “hey, I’ve got an idea….”it means that I will do find a way to do it, and that I’ll get totally obsessed until it is finished. I’d like to think that my motivation rubs of on him a little.

We have a gorgeous two year old son, who is simply the light of our lives. Being his mum has made me such a better person! Angus has added a lot of noise, fun, laughter and dance (particularly to Wiggles songs) to our household.

Tell us about your business and how you came to set it up:

Breastmates was initially started when I developed reusable wool breast pads for myself when Angus was born. I started by selling a few on Trademe and had a really great response. It took a lot of time, research, feedback and trials (which my engineering skills came in handy for) to develop the breast pads and the brand, but now I have a product that is being used by thousands of mothers around New Zealand and Australia.

I created the brand and the website myself too – which has been DIY and a huge fun learning curve.

After two years of hard work Breastmates has developed into New Zealand’s Specialty Breastfeeding Store. I have a full range of products on my site such as breast pumps, nursing pillows, clothing, maternity bras and natural remedies, along with my founding breast pads.

It is so awesome that I can provide these products to mothers around the country. I get lots of phone calls and enquiries from mums that urgently need products and need a little care to find what is right for them. I hadn’t planned it, but its so awesome and inspiring being able to promote breastfeeding in a positive modern way for women, and helping them out at stressful times.

What are your five-year goals?

Continue growing the Breastmates brand, both within NZ and offshore. Finish renovating the house. And hopefully have another baby (cross your fingers for us please!)

What is the most difficult thing about being a Mumpreneur?

Separating work and home life, and taking time off. We took an overdue family holiday to the Coromandel last week. Luckily I found the Out-of-Office Assistant for my emails, so it was easier for my to switch off my mind while at the beach and not to think about it. It was nice to be out of contact for a week, and by taking the time out. I came home refreshed and full of ideas – and hundreds of messages waiting for me. I think next time we take a holiday I’ll consider employing a real life assistant to help a little!!

What is the best piece of advice you would give to a woman looking to become a Mumpreneur?

I’ve got a couple of pieces of advice:

  • Firstly do something that you are passionate about and the rest will follow.
  • Research your idea and confirm there is a market
  • Start small. (I actually started with only a $50 budget and have grown since there – but that’s probably another story)
  • Finally the best piece of advise is to get an answerphone, and don’t answer the phone if your kids are screaming in the background – its not a good image!