Work-life balance and starting your business

Our first in a new blog series that celebrates mums who have started a business in pursuit of a better work-life balance.

Hi, I’m Sally-Anne Guibert, mum of two young scoundrels and founder of Cotswold Pure Botanicals. We’re a range of luxury scented candles, which are free from any nasties. I had been burning candles for years, even at the breakfast table. So when I heard that lots of mass market candles contained toxic ingredients, I was convinced there must be a better way. With that in mind, I embarked on making candles containing nothing but pure, natural ingredients and a new business was born.

Sally-Anne Guibert and her two boys

The world after children

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial streak. As a kid, I’d be making crafts and selling them in the front garden. Or putting on plays and charging the poor neighbours for tickets.

After leaving the professional work of marketing to have children, followed by a house move to a new area, it was difficult to go back to my old job, so I needed to get creative again!

After trying a few things, I knew that I was seeking a job that not only stimulated my mind but would also fit into the to-ing and fro-ing of kids and could work with all the school holidays (which I had calculated to be about a quarter of the year, gulp!).

The hands-on approach

Being a hands-on kind of person, someone who likes to create and make stuff, I combined that with my love for nature and the great outdoors and Cotswold Pure Botanicals was born.

I began making non-toxic candles inspired by the glorious countryside of the Cotswolds. I was now a chandler (haha!). But it turned out that I was also a marketer, writer, salesperson, the IT lady, cleaner, cook… basically the everything person. Of course, I was, that’s what it’s like in the early days of a business.

Candle being lit

A new work-life balance

Working on Cotswold Pure Botanicals allows me to manage my day as I see fit.  I can choose when and how to mould my work-time around my life.  And it’s great to be able to go to the Family Assembly or sports day, and then make and market my candles in the evening. Flexibility and work-life balance are such valuable commodities.

But it does take discipline.  There’s always 101 things to do, so striking the right work-life balance takes good prioritising and planning. I always start the day with a list of the things I need to get through and then build a structure.  Things may chop and change – and some things may not get done – but having a structure ensures I stay productive and keep on top of everything.

Giving it a go

It’s early days yet, but I’m optimistic. I’m growing the business in line with my own aspirations and that of my family. And my business has the potential to be as big or small as I want it to be. But most important of all, I’m in control of my work-life balance.

My advice to any budding entrepreneurs would be to give your idea a go. Do your research before you begin, go slowly, don’t rush too much and if something works do more of it. And finally, get loads of honest feedback so that you can improve your offering all the time.

Warm wishes Sally-Anne x

What’s your candle?

To find your favourite Cotswold Pure Botanicals luxury non-toxic candles, visit www.cotswoldpure.com or follow on Facebook @cotswoldpure

Cotswold Pure Botanicals Rage of candles

We’d love to hear from you

If you’re a mum who has started a business or you have any tips on finding the right work-life balance please get in touch with emma@armyofmums.com

And, to keep up-to-date with the Army of Mums launch plans, visit the AoM website and sign up.  Or follow us on Facebook @armyofmums

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