8 January 2015

Mumpreneurs: Emma and Kristi - BerryClever

Emma and Kristi are the brilliant mumpreneurs behind BerryClever, a brand new social shopping site for new and expecting parents which aims to make online shopping more fun and interactive by giving parents the power to discover and choose the perfect parenting products by reading and sharing honest advice from the people they can trust the most, their friends. Emma and Kristi have been kind enough to spare some of their busy time and tell us all about them and their journey. You can check out BerryClever at www.berryclever.com.

1. So first things first, tell me a little bit about yourself and your family?
Between us we have 1 dog and 5 children ranging from 4 to 10 years old. Life is pretty hectic as we balance the busy demands of modern family life and our intense work schedules. At least one or two conference calls has taken place whilst one of us is collecting kids from school or preparing dinner! That's the life of a working mum! We have worked together for years and have supported each through all kinds of major life events from pregnancies to setting up and selling our last business.

2. What's the story behind BerryClever?
We have been talking about a business like BerryClever for years! As expectant first time mums we both experienced, as many women do, the feeling of utter panic when we came to choose what products we would need for our new babies. Other mums are incredibly generous with their advice but it came to us piecemeal and it was hard to remember who said what and which products we were supposed to buy! Very often we would see Facebook posts asking for advice on which pram to buy, for example, but after a short time these posts simply disappear.  There are product reviews on other mummy sites but these sites are first and foremost forums and the reviews simply get lost. Also, they are not optimised for mobile and as most busy mums are browsing on their phones it really is a poor experience. We believe that these conversations, which are happening all the time, should have a place in their own specalised community. We also believed that personal recommendation was very important to mums. We started by doing some research and found that what we had always believed was actually true! 86% of new mums lean on their friends and family first when considering what to buy for their children and they also prefer to read reviews from people they know and trust. We have worked together for over 5 years now and when we sold our last business we finally had the time and opportunity to make BerryClever a reality.

3. Where there any struggles along the way?
When we set our first business we did it from the basement of Kristi's home with 2 desks and a phone. During that time Kristi gave birth to twins and another son 14 months later! Life was insane! During that time we grew the business to 200 employees with outsourced operations in the UK and India. We quite literally learnt on our feet! Everything from HR to company accounting. So, setting up BerryClever has in some ways been easier for us. Firstly, we have done it before but also because as all our children are older now and at school we do have less calls on our time during the day.

Emma and Kristi

4. Looking back is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
We would like to have employed more mums to work for the business as we can be flexible on hours. We have found this really challenging.

5. What keeps you motivated as businesswomen? 
We were both brought up by strong and independent women who taught us to aim high and believe in ourselves. There is no doubt that as a working mum it is sometimes difficult to stay motivated. There is so much to do between work and home that there are times when it is overwhelming. It helps to be working with someone you care about and trust as much as we both do. At that moment when your list of things to do feels like it might explode it helps to have your friend by your side. Having said that the positive benefit we both get from working and creating our own businesses makes it all worthwhile. We love what we do.

6. Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
We are currently working really hard at the moment on new features for the site to improve and enhance the experience for our members.

7. A lot of mums would love to work for themselves, what advice can you give them?
Over the years we have met so many mums with fantastic skills and experience and know they find it very hard to get back into the workplace after children or find the courage to start their own business. We are both really committed to encouraging other women to go for it. We are currently working on a mummy internship with our company where women will have the opportunity to learn or refresh their marketing skills with us. The best advice we can give is just to go for it! It can be hard but the rewards are fantastic.

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