Happy Mothers Day to all of the amazing Mamas out there. In celebration of this very special day, we take a look at the team of mothers behind the award-winning label, Outside the lines, how they balance motherhood with running a successful business, the reality of morphing into your own mother and teaching your kids valuable life lessons.
Who is the team behind Outside the Lines? How many children do you have?
We are a team of four mothers working from a design studio located in the rural heart of Leicestershire.
The company was founded by two friends Philippa Cloete and Kate Please in 2016. After a whirlwind first year we have been joined by Danielle Holton and Allison Redferne. We come from a similar work background, and after having children we all found that the industry “norms” of long, inflexible hours and extended travel away from the family just didn’t work for us anymore.
Between us we have 9 children!
What inspired you to set up Outside the Lines?
PC & KP: We initially had the idea for Outside the Lines sitting in a restaurant in Paris brainstorming ideas for a girlswear clothing label which was good quality but didn’t break the bank.
All of us in the team have worked in womenswear and the fashion industry for a number of years for some of the biggest names on the high street including Next, Topshop and Marks & Spencer. We shared the same vision that there were plenty of girlswear brands at both the designer and high street end of the market but very little to bridge the gap in between.
What are your biggest challenges around juggling work and family life?
PC & KP: As we all have young children, juggling work and family life is a challenge to say the least! We started the brand as we felt we wanted to use all of our experience to build something for ourselves and wanting a more flexible work/home life. We are all in the same situation and life is a constant juggle but we make it work and wouldn’t have it any other way.
DW & AR: For us, the fact that we now have a flexible way of working that many businesses can’t offer is invaluable. Being able to work part-time and pick up our children from school makes life so much easier. We are all in the same boat so we all understand the pressures and demands of trying to balance a busy home and work life.
What is the best thing about being a working mum?
AR: A bit of freedom. Sounds daft but it’s sort of me time, chance to be the old me, have adult conversation, use my brain…and of course go to the toilet without an audience or the call for “Mummmmyyyyyy” …ooh and a hot cup of tea!
KP: Being a working mum allows me to be me. It gives me an identity, passion and drive outside of the family and that makes me a happier mum to have at home.
PC: Doing something you love without your children as well as loving being with them. Feeling personally fulfilled sets a great example for your kids and makes me a better mum.
What are the most important life lessons your mother has taught you?
DH: To make time for yourself and to not feel guilty about it!
KP: That you can be whatever you want to be. My mother didn’t feel able to follow the career path she really wanted and perhaps as a result she has whole heartedly supported me in mine
PC: My mother passed on an amazing work ethic. She could turn her hand to anything and would adjust to any situation or time in her life. She always made a plan, got it done and no matter how tough it was or impossible it felt she did it and with elegance and attention to detail.
What’s the best or funniest advice you’ve ever been given about motherhood?
AR: Embrace the chaos…just after Ruby my youngest was born someone said to me “That’s it now, you’ll often be late, much more disorganised and the house will be messier , louder and chaotic” but it’s fun and children only get one chance at childhood.
DH: Pick your battles!
PC: Even on the days you feel you are failing, your children still think you are the best mum. You’ll never look back at life and feel you spent too much time with your children
As your younger self, what piece of advice do you wish you had known?
KP: Believe in yourself
PC: To believe in my own ability more. Have the confidence to show others how good I was instead of just getting on with it and hoping they would notice.
AR: Not advice really but I wish I’d known I wasn’t tired. Only once you’ve had children do you truly understand tiredness!
As mothers, what valuable life skills are you passing onto your children?
AR: Reach for the sky…you can do anything (but not everything). “Work hard and be kind”
KP: To be honest, hardworking and respectful. Enjoy life and say yes to opportunities that come your way. A positive attitude goes a long way
PC: As a mother of 2 girls I want to show them they can be independent, successful and can do anything they put their minds to.
What are your top tips for making it work i.e. spending quality time with the family and juggling work life?
DH: To choose a balance that is right for you. Some women want to work full-time some part-time. Choose what is right for you and your family. Neither is right or wrong. Be happy with your choice, and respect the choice of others.
PC: Make sure you have support at home from your family to allow you to focus on work when you need to. Set yourself a cut off and when you are home with your family, Be with them wholeheartedly and give them the attention and effort you put into your work. You can always catch up when they have gone to bed.
What advice would you give mothers who want to start a business? And for those who want to get back to work?
KP: Go for it, its not the easy option by any means. But if it burns inside you, you have to listen and follow your heart
PC: Getting back to work or starting your own business is a great thing for mums. For me its important to have something for myself and a sense of achievement outside my role as mum. My advise would be to make sure you have the support at home to juggle both as its tough, especially in the beginning. Give yourself a break, you won’t always get it all right and that’s ok.
If you could give one piece of advice to Mums, what would it be?
AR: “The days are long but the years are short”
DH: To enjoy every part of motherhood. Yes it IS tough and THE hardest job in the world. It is though, the most rewarding!
PC: Your children will become who you are so be the person you want them to be. Good mums have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens and happy kids.
We hope you enjoyed finding out a little more about Outside the Lines. Thanks for chatting with us.