I recently read a series of articles about mumpreneurs, their contribution to the economy and their approach to flexible working. What was interesting was that without fail every article talked about the negativity connected with this name and then continued to talk about the amazing, inspiring things that these women had achieved whilst also managing the lion share of the childcare. This inspired me to find out more from women who happened to be mothers and run a business to find out how they got started, how they keep themselves motivated, manage their time and how they felt about being mumpreneurs.
My first meeting was over a cup of tea and a delicious scotch egg handmade by Esther Bickerton of The Kitsch Hen.
Esther is a keen cook and after receiving many a compliment about her scotch eggs, sausage rolls and cakes started to come round to the idea that this could be more than just a hobby. But like most of us she put the idea to the back of her mind and continued with her day to day life.
The turning point was a simple question asked by a close friend, who challenged her to explain the reasons why she couldn’t start to cater for other people and set up her own venture. That simple challenge was enough to help Esther realise that there was little stopping her.
She started out small with traditional scotch eggs and used her connections in the construction trade to test out her products and pricing and took her scotch eggs to some of the big construction sites around Cambridge.
The feedback was encouraging making the 6am starts worthwhile!
After that Esther simply made a selection of scotch and risotto eggs and took them to various places for people and shop owners to try, each time it was a hit. And now I know why.
Esther packed me off with a selection of her scotch eggs from the traditional pork to the vegetarian options of risotto rice and pesto eggs and the delicious sun dried tomato and pancetta egg!
All the ingredients are sourced locally in Suffolk from the sausagemeat to the Rattlesden eggs and breadcrumbs. Each egg was deliciously scrummy; and with each bite there was a range of textures and tastes from the crunch of the coating, the moisture of the sausagemeat and herbs to the creamy egg in the centre. I particularly enjoyed the vegetarian option, pesto risotto eggs with sun blush tomatoes, fresh basil and whole pine nuts. The risotto rice was creamy and moist still with hints of sun blush tomatoes and pine nuts to provide more taste and substance and yet again the Rattlesden eggs were golden and creamy, almost like velvet on your tongue.
As we talked it was evident that she had built up a huge bank of knowledge, from how to avoid getting the grey green ring around the hard boiled egg and how to drain the eggs after they have been cooked. Timing in fact is everything with making these little gems which is something that Esther has down to a fine art – turning out some 300 scotch or risotto eggs a week.
She keeps herself motivated by a determination not to fail, which was even more present at the Cambridge Rock Festival in August this year and by reminding herself of all the amazing comments about her scotch eggs.
“I couldn’t quite believe that people loved them that much, who knew they would be so popular at a Rock Festival! And then I was interviewed by the radio about my scotch eggs too!”
Esther Bickerton, Chief Scotch Egg Maker
Managing the time….
Many of the Mumpreneurs I have spoken with have a haphazard way of managing their time that works for them, the key is that it is flexible and allows them to work a range of hours throughout the day and night without compromising home life. The trick is to not be too hard on yourself if you can’t get the job done in the normal 9am – 5pm or 10am – 2pm hours as you can do overtime when it suits you. Other important lessons learnt is not to over promise to your customers whoever they may be and not to undercharge – make sure you are making a profit unless this isn’t important to you. It sounds obvious but how many of us have offered to do a favour to a friend and ended making no profit and taking up a huge amount of time.
On the subject of being a Mumpreneur Esther asks, is this too grand a title, I beg to differ she has made it happen and made her business work over a period of 18 months. She has built it up to almost 300 eggs a week. She is determined to keep growing the business and come what may those scotch eggs will arrive hot and on time to all her customers. Esther currently supplies her scotch eggs to a number of local businesses including The Linton Kitchen, Jigsaw Bakery Linton, The Old Butchers Cafe in Balsham and Humphreys Butchers based in Saffron Walden, Braintree, Bury St Edmunds and Bishops Stortford. Most recently she was a sell out at the Cambridge Rock Festival, feeding all those rockers some local scotch eggs to survive the festival.
You can catch up with Esther on her Facebook page – The Kitsch Hen – or pop along to her stockists and try her amazing scotch eggs.
If you are a mumpreneur and have an interesting story to tell then get in touch with us firstname.lastname@example.org