Ask Her: Chloe Blanchette & Jaimee Masters, Bella Buttercup
Starting a business with your best friend was never going to be easy but Chloe and Jaimee have turned the Bella Buttercup concept into a fully-fledged business.
What motivated you to start your business?
We are two best friends who started our business Bella Buttercup over four years ago. We both come from design and retail management backgrounds and after talking about our shared desire to start a business we decided to join forces and build one together. We started Bella Buttercup knowing we wanted to create stylish baby and toddler products and since beginning we have continued steadily adding to our collection growing it to be what it is today.
What has been the most memorable moment in business?
There are a few special moments along the way and it is hard to choose just one! Getting new samples of something we have designed and brought to life is always an exciting moment and receiving the very first Play Bar prototype was definitely pretty special. There was also the time where our brand was published in British Vogue as part of a Dream Nursery section, that was a memorable moment as we have both grown up admiring Vogue and could never have imagined our designs would one day grace their pages.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
Living on different sides of the world when we first started the business was quite a challenge. Chloe was based in Melbourne and I was in London, but with both our passion to succeed and naivety towards what we were about to do, we worked together without distance being much of an issue. We had to rely greatly on skype, email and phone calls to keep us connected for the year that we worked apart from each other.
What is the best or most worthwhile investment you’ve made? Could be an investment of money, time, energy or other resource. How did you decide to make the investment?
Every time we place an order for product this is a large investment for us, but one that is crucial for us to continue to build the business and provide a great range of products for our customers. As we grow we are finding that this investment gets bigger each season, with a higher commitment in terms of spending and sometimes taking a chance on what we believe will be popular. This growing investment also comes with the positive of allowing us to build on the product lines available, offering different styles and colours within our collections.
What advice would you give to your 25 year old self?
Jaimee – Don’t be in a hurry to grow up and get serious about life. Enjoy the time that you have as a young woman who has few commitments around work, life and family. As much as we love our lives now it would be lovely to go back and live in that moment, even just for a little while.
What have you changed your mind about in the last few years? Why?
Jaimee – As my working life balance has changed over the last year and I have moved into more of a role with Bella Buttercup I have realised that a life can be forged around what you want it to be. It doesn’t have to match the perceived norm around 9-5 working days and it is entirely possible for women (mothers or not) to create their own working lifestyle that works best for them. I think I always wanted to believe this was the case but now that I am living and doing it I know it is entirely possible.
What are your morning rituals or any habits you do which set up your day for success?
Chloe – We both have a coffee addiction and need to start the day this way. We have a favourite local coffee shop that we frequent and once we have had our fix we can then begin the day properly. I also often drop Eva off at day-care in the mornings and although it is always hard to say goodbye I love that she is constantly learning and socialising while it allows me time to get my work done more easily too.
What is your favourite business book/tool/podcast/resource?
As much as we would love to say we have a favourite business book we tend to follow more blogs online and are inspired by women/mumpreneurs who are doing things for themselves. We love to read real life experiences and success stories to try to learn from and incorporate any great ideas into the way we do things ourselves. Some that we love are:
Not so much visual but great for practical parenting information:
What is your secret to juggling family and business?
Chloe – This is always an ongoing challenge but one I am getting better at as the years go on. I do try and balance motherhood and work by keeping my days as that, either being a mum with Eva or working when at work. There are some crossovers but I’ve learnt that I’d rather Eva see me working hard at what I love and hope in the future she does understand, plus she has become quite the little helper.
What’s next for Bella Buttercup?
We have recently just brought out two new colours in our soft goods collection and one new product line, the Any Space. This is a large mat big enough for all of the family to enjoy either inside or outdoors at the beach or park. We will be focussing on showing the new collections to our market through new imagery and marketing. So far these new products have been off to a great start with customers loving the sophisticated Midnight and Mist colour-ways. We are always developing new products to sit within the collection and look forward to launching a foam Change Pad insert to go with our very popular Change Pad covers over the next few months.