It’s IWD19! This year’s theme #balanceforbetter is all about the benefit of having a balanced workforce. We totally agree!!
Working mums are simply the most amazing people on the planet. At the Bshirt we recognise and value this. We decided to launch our own business because as parents we have skills that aren’t immediately recognised by traditional employers. We are ace time managers, jugglers, peacekeepers and multi-taskers. We have to deal with endless to-do lists, navigate the mental load of family life and also hold down a job! Those skills have been essential to starting a business, which can take on a life of its own.
It’s been great setting our own hours and feeling like we are available to our kids on our own terms, and not just tied to our jobs. But there is never enough time for everything. We’re learning the art of delegation at work and at home. Division of labour!
We tend to work hours to fit in with the school day - so we work 9am to 3pm - so that we can do the school run. But we might work evenings a few nights in the week to catch up. The highlight for us is being with our kids over the summer holidays - spending the day at the beach then home for dinner where we hand over to Dad, who relished taking the kids to the park for a play while we have some evening time in at the office. It’s a balancing act but it can be done.
When we started the Bshirt everything needed to run the company was up to us. We were designing the product, doing the marketing, picking and packing orders, bookkeeping, accounting, admin, etc. And also doing the school run, having broken sleep, washing endless laundry, tidying up toys, making sure PE kits were ready, getting packed lunches sorted, going to swimming lessons and doctors appointments, etc etc etc. We didn’t always make it through the day with a smile on our faces! We were often strung out, overburdened, mentally frazzled and exhausted. And chronically late to school.
Now as our business is growing our roles are changing. We have brought in some help (eureka!) to enable us to focus more on strategy and ensuring that our team (entirely working parents) is empowered, inspired and motivated to do their very best every day.
We are thrilled to have built a business that is not only helping women to breastfeed more confidently, that is not only providing a wage for us and supporting our families, that not only allows us to have a fulfilling career and make time for family life - but that now we are in a position as a business to extend those benefits to our team!
Over the last 12 months we have developed a team of 7 - all working parents - who work hours to fit around their schedules. We are 100% a flexible hours employer. Our team have the option to work from home whenever suits them (which for some is 100% of the time) and we also have an office space where we can collaborate.
We pretty much close up shop when it’s the school holidays - including the 6 week long summer holidays - and our team have enough holiday to determine if they want to work the holidays or not. It’s up to them. We work school hours if we are in the office. Otherwise anything goes. Several of our team work evenings a couple of nights a week to be with their young children in the day.
And you know what? We are running a successful business like this! We are a small business, we don’t have tons of resources, and yet we are bossing it! We are in profit and paying all our staff above average wages for Devon (average Devon wages are £24,285 pa according to payscale for a 37.5 hr week). We feel that’s pretty special.
And we are happy to pay our part-time working parents a decent wage because - surprise surprise - when your time is limited you are a person who puts in the extra effort, a person who goes that extra mile, a person who manages their time well, a person who doesn’t waste their or others’ time, a person who’s efficient and proficient, a person who does an ace job and a person who also gets to be a parent.
So we just want to say, on #IWD19, how freaking amazing our team of well paid, part time WORKING MUM staff are and how they are making the Bshirt an amazing brand and workplace. Part-time working mums rock!!!