Mums In Biz: Plan? What plan?

Marjorie Burnside, a lady in her 50s, shares with us her new business venture, and how she decided to Go for It! It’s often life changing experiences that make us think about our jobs and lives, and Marjorie is no exception. I’m Marjorie and  recently started as the East Lancashire Bralady. I have two daughters in their twenties and this is my story. I have never been one for long term planning or any planning if I am truthful. I worked in the NHS as a podiatrist for 34 years and although I enjoyed my job it was never a career that I had  thought much about , I wanted to do something medical and  due to my subjects  was offered a place at  Glasgow School of Chiropody so that was one important decision drifted into. After I got married to Richard in 1976 we went to live on the Isle of Wight, we had previously been on holiday and when I saw a job advertised I applied, got the job and then we moved there. I live in Blackburn and yes, yet again, the same thing happened when we wanted to move nearer to relatives in Scotland. There was a job in Blackburn so we ended up here. It could have been anywhere in the north west but we were lucky as we are very settled and enjoy living in this area. I did plan to have 2 children , Richard wanted 2 girls,  we thought about 2 years between would be good  and yes  I do have 2 daughters one aged 29 and one aged 22  so...

BOOBS!! – Now I’ve got your attention…..

This week’s guest post is from a lady I’ve seen twice at the Women’s Business Network Group Lancashire (WBNL). I was asked to do a talk last Monday about bra fitting, and here’s Emma’s post about what went on. When you think you know everything about being a woman, there are still some things you don’t get right. I’m not talking about the next fad diet or how to control those horrible things called hormones but this week I learnt just how important one of our everyday items of clothing is! My surname is Booth so I’ve been called ‘Emma Boobies’ since the age of 13 and have been wearing an average-sized bra for years. However, that didn’t mean it was right for me, in fact specialist bra-fitter T-J Hughes, from bras4mums & bras4all, showed me just how wrong my size was!! The WBNL monthly meeting which took place at Haighton Manor, Preston, was led by T-J who gave a group of businesswomen of a variety of ages and sizes a wealth of information about, yep you’ve guessed it… the importance of the right bra size! I discovered that your size changes regularly for a number of reasons; pregnancy, medication, illness to name a few, plus that dreaded time of the month makes you generally bloated and increases your breast size. Wearing the wrong size bra can cause problems when we encounter these changes such as neck and shoulder tension due to inadequate support, stretching or sagging of the tissue and more commonly discomfort from under wires, unadjusted straps and back panels that dig in. In addition, I was...

I’m so excited!

Not about the election, although it is the first time ever I haven’t known how to vote. Had thought about doing a post on “Do you vote for a good trustworthy MP, or do you vote for the party politics you agree with most?”. Which I may do, although I think my Friday guest blogger is going to blow us away with her thoughts on party politics. No, I’m excited that the first bra fitting agent for bras4mums is now trained and ready to go. This seemed a dream just a few weeks ago, but now I’ve done it! I’ve trained someone else. Passed on my knowledge so that she can share her new knowledge with women in her area and get them wearing comfy, suitable bras during pregnancy and when breastfeeding, whatever their shape or size. When I first started bras4mums my ambition was to have bra fitters across the UK to be able to offer a home fitting service to pregnant women and new mums. Why? Well, the business started when I had a toddler and a new born baby, and I really couldn’t figure out how to go to a shop to get a bra fitting with a toddler and a pram. I was also horrified with the bra fitting advice and information that I was given during my pregnancies – virtually nothing, and some of it totally wrong. So, you can see that I’m excited. I’m over the moon that Tracy Jones in Wrexham, Mum of 2, who also works as a Hypnotherapist, wants to offer women in Wrexham, Chester and Nantwich the opportunity of...

Change of plan, (but all part of the vision)

Just when I thought I knew what I was doing, something has knocked me off my simple straight road and sent me off on a new track. Am I ready for it? No idea, but I’m going to give it my best shot and see what happens “If you have a clear picture in your mind of what it will be like when you’ve won the fight, you won’t feel the pain”, Mohammed Ali After all the customer feedback and juggling I’ve been doing, I thought I was moving down one track with the bras4mums business. Slow and steady. Then out of the blue I asked a question on Facebook about our home bra fitting service, and a new path has shown itself to me. I really wasn’t expecting it, even though I’ve mulled it over since I started the business. But, I’m now pursuing it as a real option for expanding the business and offering a home bra fitting service to women across the UK. My colleagues on LEAD are being extremely helpful, and when I meet with my business coach tomorrow I’m hoping to pursue some of my thoughts to progress the idea. So am I open to new ideas? Can I really change the way I do things? Can I allow others to do what I’ve only allowed myself to do in the past? To achieve my VISION for bras4mums I have to. I have to DELEGATE to others. And, as long as I TRAIN them well, then why shouldn’t other people be able to do what I do? Maybe they’ll do it better? Am I...

Customer feedback

I really enjoyed my weekend at the London Baby Show this weekend with bras4mums. It was great to meet new and returning customers on the stand, and offer a free bra fitting service to pregnant and breastfeeding women. Overall, I probably did about 200 bra fittings over the weekend, which is quite amazing really. Everyone is a different shape and needs different shape bras for support. Plus we all have different tastes and budgets. It was also good to hear people’s feedback on our range and service so that we can grow and develop our range to suit women of all bra sizes. bras4mums currently offer the widest range of maternity and nursing bra styles and sizes in the UK, but as we were told at the weekend, there is still room for improvement! We’ve recently asked for feedback through a short survey, which is making  interesting reading! I’m asking more people to complete the survey so that we can ensure that women who are both existing customers, and also those who have never used our online bra fitting service can let us know what we can do better for them. I’m also getting a lot of helpful feedback through our facebook fan page, and via conversations on twitter. I take account of everything that’s said, even if I can’t change things straight away. Please do join in the conversations. Tomorrow I’m heading to MODA, a trade fair for lingerie and fashion. I have a long list of styles and shapes that I’m looking for for existing customers. Some are for ladies who’ve had a mastectomy or lumpectomy, others...

Bra fitters are crucial to women’s health

I’ve just returned from training 7 bra fitters in the wider issues of bra fitting for maternity and nursing bras, using the RCM accredited Bra Fitting Awareness Course. During my long drive home it’s really struck me that, even though all these women have been bra fitters in the shops they work in, they still had very little understanding of how important bra fitting is to women’s health and well being, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The exact point made by last week’s Which report I talked about previously. I’m not saying that I have all the answers. However, during one of the sessions one of the ladies requested that I measure her to confirm her own bra size. She was surprised with my answer. She was even more surprised when I adjusted the bra she was wearing and she found that she could breathe and her bra didn’t hurt! Yes, it was simple enough for me to do as I know what I’m looking for. But I would have expected that someone who has been carrying out bra fittings on other ladies would have known that if her own bra was not comfortable, (and she shared with us that she’s been to the doctor as she’s had pains in her breasts), would have been able to do these simple adjustments herself. Out of the 7 women who attended today’s course, only 1 of them said that they’d had a good bra fitting themselves. The others had all had awful experiences, and now tended not to have bra fittings as they didn’t trust the bra fitters, or felt that...