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. 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.
To mark Mother’s Day, the mother and daughters trio behind Nue Hoops is here to share their advice on juggling business and family life with The Motherhood Takeaway. The co-founders of this playful and empowering family brand, mum Tory and daughters Emily and Camilla are pros at navigating parenting and career, so get set for some stellar tips and tricks to help make sense of the motherload.
Their collection of interchangeable hoops is everything to love about contemporary demi-luxe jewellery – clean, minimal, stand-out and oozing special little details like shells, stones and of course, just a touch of twinkle. There’s also a keen focus on sustainability, which I can absolutely get onboard with.
The idea for Nue Hoops sparked when Tory attended a jewellery making course in East London in 2018, she began experimenting with the concept of interchanging charms on hoop earrings. Next came a chat with her two daughters Emily and Camilla, a whole load of entrepreneurial spirit (plus, a combined skillset in marketing and finance) and the rest is history. Now a collection of charms inspired by their different styles, countries they’ve visited and a celebration of cultures, is at the core of what they do. Tory loves bohemian chic, Emily is into classic, casual, off-duty styles, as well as bold print and Camilla flies the flag for anything glam and playful.
The Motherhood Takeaway with NUE Hoops
Ladies, how have you all found ways to stay creative and motivated during lockdown?
Tory: Staying creative is not a problem, in fact I find it hard to stop designing and curating for Nue Hoops!
Emily: You know what they say: “If you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life.” I have found so much energy in the simple act of working towards growing this business. It has been a truly welcome distraction from the home-schooling and meal prep.
Camilla: I don’t think any of us have a motivation issue! In terms of inspiration, it seems plenty of other people have used the additional time they have to do interesting and creative things so seeing that online has been really great. I do like to challenge my brain in other ways so I take small breaks to work on a puzzle I have on the go and that helps me to reset and refresh my thinking.
Tory, you set up soft leather baby shoe company Daisy Roots and ran it for ten years before selling and setting up NUE. What did you take with you from old business to new? Is there anything you vowed to do differently the second time around?
Tory: The most important thing I learnt was the importance of finding people to work with who are passionate and talented.
Did motherhood force you to adapt and run your (shoe) business differently?
Tory: I started the shoe company when Emily and Camilla were at school. When my son arrived I couldn’t find anything suitable for his soft little feet so I was inspired to do something about it. I really wanted it to work so the children had to fit in, often they had to come to work…they had jobs from an early age! It was really them that had to adapt! I think most working mothers would say the same, you can’t just drop everything and kids adapt if you can give them something useful to keep them occupied.
Do you all have a structured working week that you stick to? How do you make time as a family for (non-work related!) catch-ups?
Tory: Not a particularly structured week during lockdown as each day seems to blend into the next so we work as the need arises. Family catch ups happen mainly at the weekends when I can see my grandchildren (Emily’s kids). Mostly it’s a video call at the weekend as we’re all in different places. I speak to the girls numerous times a day so sometimes in the evenings we’ll talk about things outside of work.
The mother/daughters dynamic and to be working together as a family, celebrating women, must be wonderful. Tell us one of your favourite Nue memories where you stopped and thought ‘Yes, this is why we do this!’
Tory: I love the idea that I have enabled my daughters to have their own business and that we have been able to enlist the help of one of my sons and husband as well, who have both been roped in to help! My son taught himself product photography, and jewellery product photography is notoriously difficult so we’re very proud of him and what he’s done to help us. My very obliging husband makes our boxes every evening in front of the TV! So it’s a real group effort. In terms of ‘yes this is why we do this’ – I think we each have our own personal moments of achievement and satisfaction so far. There are many aspects to the business that are rewarding, from being complimented on the concept, to finding new suppliers, to receiving wonderful customer feedback and of course, when we have a big flurry of orders and things sell out, getting the validation that we’re producing something people value and want is gratifying.
So, how does it work when there’s creative differences and split ideas? Who is the decision maker of the team?
Tory: We tend to discuss things together to a great extent to make sure we’re making the best decisions, and as each of the girls has their own area of expertise it usually falls to the expert to decide. If it comes to a 50/50 split then I will have the casting vote.
What’s your ultimate time-saving tips for juggling a business and family life?
Tory: Working from home at the moment makes it very easy to do the washing while I’m on the phone speaking to the girls or working with other members of the team. So multitasking from home is really the trick. My husband is also around a lot as well, as he is a farmer, so we get to see plenty of each other – we spend time together in the evenings packing boxes – so again, more multitasking!
Emily: Sunday menu planning for the week ahead has been a good one for me. It takes away a lot of the hassle of what to buy when shopping and means I know what I’m cooking during the week.
Camilla: I’ll always try to have at least one night during the week with my boyfriend where we have a proper dinner together and one day at the weekend without (too much!) work too so that we get some quality time together.
And a piece of advice you would go back and tell your pre-mum self about motherhood before embarking on the parenting journey?
Tory: Well that was so long ago I’m not sure I can remember myself pre-motherhood, but I think the one thing I always remember my mother saying: “There is no school for parents, always follow your instincts!”
Emily: I listen to what Mum and all the other older mothers say, experience counts for a lot and is the main thing that helps to make the journey smoother. As I get older I feel that, so I’m very grateful for her and other more experienced women’s counsel.
What are you all taking away from the lockdowns into post-lockdown life? Things you now do differently? The positive outcomes of the pandemic.
Tory: My family and friends are so important and I never knew how important they were until this pandemic showed me. I have a new sense of gratitude and appreciation for them. I think Covid has given us all a new perspective on everything we have taken for granted for so long – our freedoms, leisure, connections, work, family and friends. I never questioned how life as I knew it could suddenly be taken away from me, so I think I see things quite differently to how I did before.
Emily: Before lockdown I was buzzing around all over the place keeping people happy. I am going to be better at saying no and just slowing it all down a bit. I think it will be tricky for us to remember these lessons once we are all allowed to socialise again but I am going to try hard to stick to it because it has really benefited me and my family.
Camilla: I’ve realised my old life used to be too busy! Now I’m busy, but it’s a different kind of busy. I realise I don’t need to make so many plans to enjoy life. I think after lockdown I’ll try to keep my new simpler style of living. I will definitely cherish the time I have with friends and family a lot more as I miss hosting and group socialising, but I’ve loved cooking with my housemate and boyfriend, reading and watching films, which I never really did much of before. I take solace in building some resilience during this time, knowing that I can (in fact) survive as long as I have my friends and family.
It all started with a jewellery making course in East London. What advice can you give to any budding designers looking to take the leap into the world of makers?
Tory: My advice would always be ‘Don’t let not knowing stop you, ask questions and then find experts’
And the top three pieces/charms to begin a Nue collection?
Tory: Well you would have to start with a beautiful pair of hoops, I love the Mili Hoops as they are the perfect size and all our charms work really well on them. I think one of our chains is also essential for versatility, so you can swap charms from hoops to chains. I can’t choose a charm as I love them all, but I think you can’t go wrong with pearls (so it would have to be Ada , Grace , Eve or Tora charms), they work for any event or setting and always look chic.
Finally, what break-out trends are you championing for SS21? What can’t you wait to wear?
Tory: We just released a limited edition toadstool charm for March that is very cute. We’re seeing lots of brands (Alexa Chung among others) also championing this emblem so our hope is, it will strike a chord. Big statement pieces like large shells we’ll also be championing. We have two new styles coming which are really fun. Our Adira charm has consistently sold well as a statement shell charm so I’m looking forward to seeing how the new shells do. Since the 90s trend is still so big we’re also releasing some fun and optimistic charms that build on this revival and to that point tie dye is something I have always loved and it seems to be very popular again this year. My grandchildren have made me a tie dye T shirt that I can’t wait to wear on holiday, when I finally get there!
Charms, starting from £12 and hoops, starting from £35 at nuehoops.com. You can follow Tory, Emily and Camilla @nuehoops_jewellery.
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.