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Trendsetter: Carolyn Cooke

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Can you give us a little background on your career to date?

Before starting Muma’s Market I worked in the retail industry (mainly for fashion brands) for over twelve years as a sales and brand manager.

Tell us about how it your business came to be? 

After realising I was not going to be able to work in my current role with a new baby, unless I was prepared to be a “part time” mother, I knew it was time to make the leap into starting up my own business.  When Harvey was 2 weeks old, and amid the haze of no sleep, nappies and nipple shields I created Muma’s Market.  The concept was simple – to enable families & craft makers to buy, sell & trade in a family friendly environment that was easy to use, quick, and affordable.

Can you talk us through any obstacles that you have faced in building your company? 

As my business sits within the online arena & I solely run my business from my home, it can be a very solitary experience.  My background in team management has always had me immersed in just that, teams, so the transition has certainly required personal adjustment.  My husband has also had to learn to be “on the team” becoming my sounding board for concepts, advice & strategy building.

Was founding your own business something you always had on the career agenda?

Definitely.  My Dad has always run his own business as a draftsman and my older sister is a freelance photographer, so I always felt I had strong role models to inspire me and who made the leap an easier one to envisage & start up.  It’s also great to have such strong support from others who have been at the starting line of their own, now successful businesses.

What the biggest challenge you faced in the start up phases of the website? 

Building the customers trust. We are only at the beginning of our second year and it is still our main focus that drives us.  When you launch an online website it can often be harder when you don’t have the foundations of bricks and mortar to ensure your customers trust & loyalty. Shoppers are definitely building their confidence when it comes to online shopping, so we hope to continue this transition by making our site user friendly & affordable.  At the end of the day, it is always about making sure the customer is happy.

What words of wisdom would you pass on to women in the same position as you where when leaving the corporate life behind ?

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Be brave & give it a go.  If you want a change in your life, it can only be you who makes it.

What advice would you give to our readers who dream of starting up their own business but just don’t know where to begin? 

Start by canvassing out your ideas and concepts – from a financial standpoint, to the creative aspects.  Do your research on your competitors and always seek advice from friends, family & of course professionals within your chosen industry.

What has been the most profound thing you have learnt to date in your career?

To be adaptable and resilient.

How would you best describe your investment style in three words?

Planned, cautious but also multi-focuse

 


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