Welcome to The Motherhood Takeaway a place to shine a spotlight on inspirational women leading the way in the fashion, beauty and lifestyle sector… Women who just so happen to be mamas. I’m back with mum and founder of luxe sleepwear label Made Wright London, Olivia Wright, who’s here to share her advice on the big motherhood juggle.
This regular slot is designed to empower mums, with each Motherhood Takeaway drilling down on exactly how one woman makes family life and her career work in the real world. If there’s just one thing you take away with you that leaves a positive mark on your own journey juggling parenting and work, then my mission here is complete.
There’s a big conversation around not putting pressure on mums to do anything other than be mum, which is great, but for anyone who does want to be mum and have a career, then that’s great too and this is for you. Let’s face it, work isn’t a choice for most of us, it’s absolutely essential to keep our children’s tummies full and new shoes on their feet every five minutes!
The Motherhood Takeaway isn’t here to make anyone feel like they should be doing less mum and more work, or more mum and less work. It’s about inspiring that little vote of confidence for anyone with a business idea, side-hustle project, mums on maternity leave and mums returning to the workplace. It’s about never feeling guilty for saying “I’m the best mum I can be and it’s ok to want my career to flourish, as well as my kids.” Zero guilt attached.
Olivia founded Made Wright London after hunting high and low for a pair of pyjamas whilst pregnant. Searching for a timeless silhouette made from quality, sustainable materials with an accessible price point proved difficult, so Olivia made herself a pair with her initials embroidered. Next, came a mini collection of matching personalised pyjamas for children. Striking the right balance between business and ‘real mum life’ is something we all strive for and after having her little boy in June 2020, Olivia knows a thing or two about switching from work-to-mum-mode in a flash. The ex-luxury personal shopping pro talks personalised pyjamas, striving to be fully present and her tricks to get a head start on the day.
The Motherhood Takeaway with Made Wright London’s Olivia Wright
Olivia, running a business and family life always comes with challenges. How is your week structured with a nearly-one year old?
I think you always have to allow for some flexibility (who knows when you’ll have a teething spell, or just “one of those days”), but we are quite structured. From around five months, we got Seb into a routine, meaning I know when he will be sleeping and I can schedule calls, join meetings or get some work done (and maybe grab something to eat on the go!)
Before launching Made Wright London in 2018, you were in luxury fashion in personal shopping at Selfridges. What did you carry through from the high end fashion world, to running your own business and then later, into motherhood?
I learnt SO much from my time at Selfridges, working at what is voted the World’s Best Department Store, with the most incredible brands, means the customers also deserve the best service. My lesson, and what I have taken through to my brand, is providing the best service we can – I wanted to make that service and experience accessible to everyone, and at an affordable price point. At the end of the day, we are nothing without our customers, and I want them to feel valued and enjoy shopping with us.
What’s your ultimate time-saving tips for juggling a business and family life?
Use all the tools you can – from online systems that speed up printing shipping labels, to a recurring supermarket shop, it all helps. You also have to be resourceful and realise that you can’t do everything – I have grown my team, as well as employing specialists in their fields, and that has helped me, the business, and my time management enormously.
How do you split your time and try to strike the balance between mum and business-owner?
This is something I am always working on and I definitely don’t have it sussed… I’m not sure I ever will. I think as we have established a good routine, I know that when I put Seb down for a nap, I can then switch hats from mum to business-owner. I set myself a goal to be fully present in whatever I am doing in that time, whether that be doing a baby sensory class online, or meeting with new suppliers.
How did motherhood force you to adapt and run your business differently?
I think motherhood has given me a real push to grow my business. I realised how much I love my business, but also that I am incredibly lucky to have flexibility and can be around for my son when he needs me too.
Any tricks for staying motivated on those days when mum-life takes over and it feels absolutely impossible to get anything done?!
I’m an avid note writer and will always jot everything down, getting your to do list out of your head and onto paper really helps. I will also split out tasks by day, to make it achievable. Lastly, I will always find time to go out for a walk and get out of the house/office. It sounds counter productive, but fresh air really helps to clear my head.
Everyone from Zoe Hardman to Alexandra Burke and Rachel Stevens has worn your designs and they’re pretty popular with the Instagram set too! What’s been the career highlight so far?
We feel so lucky and proud to have such amazing celebrity and influencer fans, and getting featured in the press as well as launching in new stockists – but every time we get a positive message from a customer, or a review to say why they love their pyjamas and shopping with us – that is such a highlight and motivator for me and our whole team.
Let’s talk about sleep. What are your ultimate tips for promoting good sleep for the whole family?
I have realised how important sleep is for us all (those newborn wakings are tough), we used a sleep consultant to help get Seb to sleep through the night and since then, I feel like a new woman! My husband and I have also started going to bed earlier to make sure we are getting enough sleep. We also wake up before Seb to exercise, shower and do a few emails to get a head start on the day.
Any ideas on how to make the bedroom a place of calm?
I have multiple books on the go and just having that “me” time before bed really helps. Even if I only manage a few pages before bed, it just resets me and gives me some time to myself.
What’s your advice for pregnant mums shopping their new season wardrobes?
I regretted not buying actual maternity clothing earlier, something that flatters your bump and keeps you comfy. I would also say not to over buy, I had some good oversized shirts, dresses and pregnancy jeans that I lived in, and then treated myself to some new bits when he was born. Of course, I also lived in my pyjamas on the sofa and they were an essential in my hospital bag!
When you were pregnant, how did you balance being boss with looking after bump? Did you do pregnancy yoga or become very strict about having downtime?
I did a lot of pregnancy workouts, meditation and reading – I didn’t want to stress myself out, so made sure I took lots of downtime as I knew I would regret not resting when he was born!
If you could go back and tell your pre-mum self anything about motherhood before embarking on the parenting journey, what would it be?
Don’t compare, worry less and enjoy every second. I can’t believe my little newborn is nearly one already, it feels like yesterday that we were in the hospital waiting for him to arrive.
How have you found new ways to stay creative and inspired during lockdown? Tell us what you’ve been doing to keep the ideas coming.
I actually find I have so many ideas and I have to slow down and fully focus on a few at a time. That way, I ensure we focus on quality, over quantity. During lockdown, I used the time to design my first kids collection, designed and launched two new colours, as well as using the time to make operational improvements like upscaling our warehouse to expanding our team.
Overall, what’s been your biggest business lesson so far?
To have a mission and remember why you started, and stay true to that.
And what advice can you give other budding creatives looking to take the leap and start their own venture in fashion?
Everyone says it, but honestly just go for it. I remember thinking taking out my website subscription was such a big step and since taking it, I have never looked back. Remember it is a marathon, not a sprint, you may not get hundreds of orders on day one, but persevere and the success will come. Nowadays there is so much support available to help setting up a business – easy to use website building platforms, podcasts from amazing founders, apps to design your logo and of course, social media. To that effect, there are more businesses out there than ever before, so make it something different, focus on the brand, the business and your customer (not your Instagram following) and make it something you genuinely believe in, you need that passion to get you through the late nights and stressful days!
What are you going to be taking away from the lockdowns into post-lockdown life?
I appreciate the small things so much more and it has helped me to almost realign my priorities. I can’t wait to be able to hug my family and for Seb be able to meet family he hasn’t met yet – I hope to never take these things for granted again.
Made Wright London starts at £35 for the mini range and £45 for adult sizes, madewrightlondon.com. You can personalise the sleepwear to make a really special gift, or treat to yourself! Follow the brand over on Instagram too @madewrightlondon.
There’ll be more from The Motherhood Takeaway soon. Navigating motherhood and career is all about community, so please don’t forget to leave your own advice in the comments below. It could really help to bring positivity to another mamas day.
For heaps more parenting advice, head over to my Alex and Alexa column where you can find my take on life with Two Babies Under Two a Mum’s Guide To Nesting and a check list of What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag.