This weeks Mother Hustler is the Fabulous Bridey from Wild Flora Clothing. An ex Falmouth dweller who now lives in Shropshire and juggles two children under 4 and her thriving small business as a dressmaker. I've been a massive fan of Bridey's work from the beginning and it has been a true pleasure to watch her empire grow, as well as adding pieces to my wardrobe! Her clothes are beautifully made and designed with a real understanding of women who want comfortable, timeless and versatile pieces that fit into a capsule wardrobe and can be worn on the school run as well as out for drinks. It goes without saying that all of her work is lovingly handmade with the finest ethically sourced fabrics. Bridey is also the co-founder of 'Trade my make' (@trademeymake on Instagram) a space where makers can swap their goods, such a great idea!
Not only are her clothes gorgeous but she is also one of the nicest people I've ever come across! The sort of person I can DM with random questions, quite often related to our shared experience of our second child 'wild things'! More recently I have been bending her ear about the complicated issues and emotions surrounding childcare when running a small business (taking the leap/ the guilt/ the relief etc!) She is very wise and always manages to help me clarify my thoughts so I wanted to share these nuggets of wisdom with you too!
Tell us a bit about who you are, where you are and what your family looks at the moment.
I'm Bridey, designer and maker at Wild Flora Clothing. My son Henry is five, my daughter Mabel is two. Me and my husband are both self employed and work mainly from home.
Tell us all about your business/ side hustles/ work life and where we can find you on the interweb?
My clothing line Wild Flora clothing started very much (as these things often seem to) as a maternity leave hobby eighteen months ago. I'm mainly active on Instagram @wildfloraclothing , which I love, and my website is Wild Flora Clothing
How do you find the Juggle with work/ family/ life / childcare etc?
It's certainly a busy one, and the perfect balance is a work in progress! Taking the decision to stop working evenings and committing to sending my daughter to pre school during the day gave me the motivation to earn actual money from the business and also the validation that it mattered enough to make it a priority. I am really lucky to be involved in a childcare swap with my neighbour, so I get one full day a week of free childcare and I return the favour too. We love it and so do our girls. My husband's schedule is a bit more rigid than mine but having him at home means that we take joint responsibility for school and nursery runs, which we both appreciate. We are lucky. It can be chaotic at times, but I try to remember to be grateful.
What would your ideal balance be, and are you close to achieving it? If not what needs to change?
I'm happy with the way things are at the moment, but must admit that I am also making plans for in twelve months time when Mabel will be three and the long awaited free 30 hours of childcare starts. Childcare for small children is just so expensive and is an issue that needs to be addressed nationally as a barrier to work for new parents.
Why did you decide to work for yourself?
I don't remember making the decision at all, but I think at the time of starting Wild Flora, I decided that I didn't want there to be a gap in my CV whilst my children were small. It was about giving myself valuable experiences and applying new skills and carrying on learning. I'm really happy to be working for myself right now but I'm always excited by new challenges, too.
Would you say you have been more productive since having children, or less?
Definitely more. I value my time so much and I try never to waste any. That's not to say that I don't relax; I do and I think taking some down time is essential for keeping productivity up. Having children has just taught me to be time efficient, I suppose.
What is your favourite thing about being a mother?
Those moments of reflection when I am aware of all the ways my children have grown, all the growing they still have to do and what a privilege it is to have a place in all of that.
And your least favourite?
The school run with a completely uncontrollable and utterly uninhibited toddler. Both exhilarating and unimaginably stressful. Definitely the school run!
What do you love about where you live and what does your ideal weekend look like?
Shrewsbury is a big, beautiful, soulful town. Two thirds of the shops in the town centre are independents and there are so, so many wonderful places to eat. My ideal weekend involves a long picnic lunch with friends at the park on the riverside and maybe a solo mooch through town. Weekends are also great for a longer than usual run, I love running alone. I think it's to compensate for the painfully slow progress on the aforementioned school run.
And finally do you have any tips for working from home with toddlers?
Try and set up a childcare swap with a like minded parent. On the day when I'm in charge, my daughter has an extra buddy to play with so it seems a very small price to pay for a whole day to work in peace.
THANK YOU BRIDEY X
(photos by Florence Fox - @florencefoxphotography & Bridey)