Welcome to part seven of our Wonder Woman Collective and thanks for visiting! Our mission is to showcase inspirational women who have made a leap into their own careers and are following their dream.
This week we introduce you to Ruth, A mum and ex primary school teacher who has channelled her ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ and left her career to carve out a new one in a whole new industry. We’ve heard from so many teachers lately who are leaving the profession to pursue a greater work/life balance, if that’s you, we hope you’re inspired by Ruth to have a glimpse into a potential future.
My name is Ruth. I’m 38, have two children (9 & 6) and am married to the lovely Paul (the most patient man I know!). We live in Leamington Spa and love it! As a family we all LOVE the beach and try to get there as often as we can (not always easy being land-locked in the Midlands!). We have lots of family in Norfolk and absolutely love the coast there as well as sunny Suffolk! Eating (and drinking) is also a passion of mine and I try to do that as often as I can too! Now I have a more flexible lifestyle, I go to exercise classes 5 x weekly (!) and I’m actually really enjoying it. However, those that know me, also know that I do tend to have exercise “fads” so we’ll see how long this one lasts!
Tell us about your job or career before you launched your new business.
I worked as a Primary School teacher for 15 years and for the most part, loved it! Every day was different and I really enjoyed having the opportunity to think creatively and watch children learn, grow and develop. During my time as a teacher I was responsible for coordinating English (reading and writing) in the school, as well as Music. Although this part of the job presented challenges at times, it was great to have such an active role in school life.
What made you take the leap to decide to start out on your own?
Entrepreneurial spirit runs in my family and for some time, I had a feeling that I would really like to try doing something on my own. But I guess the stability of the job, the great holidays (especially as a mum with kids) and the fact that generally I enjoyed what I did, stopped me from pursuing this.
But there came a point where I was finding teaching increasingly hard. I wasn’t comfortable with many of the changes in the curriculum and I do think that sometimes trying to work part time is almost harder! I had that constant niggly feeling that I wasn’t doing anything very well…being a teacher or being a mum! Paul (my husband) and I had many conversations about it all and eventually with loads of encouragement from him (and my wider family) I decided to leave and go it alone! It felt like such a HUGE decision and leaving teaching was incredibly emotional, BUT I’m glad I’ve done it!
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I’ve always loved clothes! That was the starting point! I wanted to start a business in something that I loved. My sister owns a company in Norwich, specialising in bespoke Logo embroidery and through many incidental conversations with her, I felt that there was something I could do in this area.
Urban Shore is a great name for a company. What is the inspiration behind it?
The name came quite easily. I grew up by the coast in Norfolk. We’d spend most weekends there, whatever the weather and I absolutely LOVED the sense of freedom I felt when by the sea! I now probably couldn’t be much further away from the coast if I tried! I love Leamington and living in an urban setting and wanted to create a brand that unites the two lifestyles.
Tell us all about urban shore and what you offer.
Urban shore is a British lifestyle brand. Our designs are for those who love life by the ocean, as well as the buzz an urban setting provides. It is my number one priority to source top quality products that are manufactured in safe and healthy work environments, where social responsibility is key. A considerable amount of time is spent ensuring that each suppliers policies meet our exacting standards and this is an ongoing process.
I am proud to say that the majority of urban shore’s garments are made from organic materials and some from 100% recycled materials. Urban shore’s aspiration is for ALL our products to be made from 100% sustainable materials.
Every urban shore garment is ethically sourced, so you will not only look great but feel good too.
Our shore designs are vibrant with pops of neon colour; the graphics and slogans give your clothes personality and let your inner beach goddess shine through!
Our urban apparel is clean and fresh with a metallic underground feel.
Where do you find your inspiration for new products?
I spend a lot of my time looking at what’s going on in the world of fashion/leisure wear. It’s a fast paced, constantly evolving world and it’s exciting to see what’s going and on and what’s coming next! It’s hard when you’re creating your own brand, not to just stick to things that you yourself would like to wear! But, I’d like to think that I’ve got fairly good taste and really hope that others like my ideas too!
What do you love most about being your own boss?
I love being in charge! I’ve got great support around me and really value being able to bounce ideas around and get open and honest feedback, but ultimately, I make the decisions and that’s a really good feeling!
How do you juggle being a mummy and having your own business?
I feel extremely fortunate that I am able to take my children to and pick them up from school every day. They had spent quite a few years in before school and after school clubs and although they coped with it well, they have both said how much they prefer the new arrangement! I never realised (especially being a teacher) that the school day goes so quickly! So…I try to make the most of every minute of the day whilst they are at school, so that when they get home, I’m there to do homework, get food and have cuddles! Then I quite often work in the evenings but I don’t mind that because it’s my own business and it excites me!
Do you have any particular rules to make sure you balance things so you get family time too?
A lot of my time is spent on social media, building my brand, responding to comments and enquiries and I have got into trouble sometimes from my children for staring at my screen too much! This is something I’m conscious of. Neither of my children have phones yet, but I know I will hate how much time they spend staring at theirs, so I try hard to not look at it (much) when they’re home from school. I pick it up again in the evenings! Weekend time is important too, so I try to get up in good time and get any work done then, so we can have family time (usually spent taxiing the children to and from sports/parties!) during the day. I love this time of year for Saturday night TV so we always try and make sure we snuggle up on the sofa together on a Saturday evening with plenty of snacks!
Is there anything in particular that you find makes things a little easier for you?
Getting food shopping delivered! Saves loads of precious time during the day! I’ve also started going to exercise classes as soon as I’ve dropped the children off (as often as I can) and am finding this REALLY helps to focus my mind for the day. Because I’ve been active for an hour first thing, I don’t mind sitting in front of the computer for long periods of time!
Do you come across any negativity from others because you’re a working Mum?
No, I can’t say I have. I have a great network of friends and everyone has been super supportive and encouraging in this new venture.
Business nowadays are not just about contact via email, potential clients reach you via social media as well as websites, do you feel a pressure to keep up to date with social media and if so, do you find this impacts on your time, especially in the evenings?
Yes I do! Keeping up to date with social media takes up a large proportion of my time and like I mentioned earlier, I have to be quite strict about when I do and don’t do it.
What do you think the hardest thing about having children and being your own boss is?
Because I generally work from home, I think the children sometimes struggle to see what I do as “work” or a “job!” I’ve had lots of frustrating phone calls when the children are shouting in the background, demanding things from me whilst I’m trying to maintain a professional tone through gritted teeth! Needless to say, we have had many “team talks” where I try to explain that just because I’m based at home, it doesn’t mean I’m not working!
And what’s the best thing about it?
Definitely the fact that I can take them to and pick them up from school each day. I love that and think they do too?! Evenings are generally a lot less fraught and we are able to get homework/reading done without arguing quite so much!
What advice would you give another Mummy who is considering changing their job or career to follow their passion?
Do it! I spent too long worrying about whether it was a sensible decision or not, but then had one of those “life’s too short” moments. Obviously with children, you have to take calculated financial risks, but if you have passion and are committed to it, then I believe that anything is possible!
Take It From Mummy would like to thank Ruth for taking the time to talk to us about stepping out of your comfort zone and following your dreams. Ruth is proof that you can be a Mum and do all of those things too, sure, it’s a juggle but when you’re passionate about something, it’s worth it!
You can find Urban Shore on the web here, on Facebook here & Instagram here.
I have some of Ruth’s gorgeous items (the hat being my absolute fave at the mo!) and can say with 100% honesty, the quality & feel of her garments is outstanding!
Here are my gorgeous items & me about to start a yoga class with my super soft slouchy one 💜 ! Urban Shore currently have a sale at the moment with up to 40% off selected stock items. Enter the code HAPPY at checkout to get free uk delivery on all orders! Visit the website here to see the sale.