Name: Gill Hayward
Number of children: 2 boys, aged 12 and 14
Job title: Co-Founder of YUUworld
Duties: As a business owner these are many and varied! Although my business partner and I broadly split the roles (and I oversee Operations and Finance), the reality is we both get involved in the bigger projects. This past month we have both been working towards the launch of our Crowdfunding campaign to bring our new YUUgo GPS tracker backpack to life. From liaising with our tech partner to writing copy for our pitch page we have been juggling a lot of tasks!
Hours: On the one hand running a business can be a 24/7 operation, and it can be hard to shut off, particularly as I work from home. On the other hand being your own boss does have huge perks and it does mean it’s easy to pop to the boys’ school if one of them is, for example, performing in music or playing a match. The long hours are definitely offset by the flexibility.
Childcare arrangements: So much easier now the boys are older. My youngest has just started secondary which has brought increased independence. Prior to that I would do morning drop offs and afternoon pick ups, often followed by sports or clubs – then catching up again in the evening.
What I love about work: Working on a children’s range is both great fun but also really rewarding. When I see a child walking down the road wearing a YUU backpack I still feel a buzz of excitement. Ultimately the challenge of bringing a product to market and all the stress this involves all fades away when you hear a child singing the music from your TV ad, or a Mum emailing to say her child was over the moon with their birthday/Christmas present.
The next most enjoyable part of my job is working with my best friend and business partner Kellie. We bounce off each other really well and support one another when needed – as well as celebrating the successes too!
What I find difficult is: Switching off! It’s so hard, and the only way to do it is to physically leave my phone/laptop in another room for an hour or two to stop the temptation of checking emails etc.
My working life would be easier if… our team were bigger! There are three of us which on a ‘normal’ week is fine. We just don’t seem to have many of these and the last month or two preparing our new product launches YUUgo and YUU max have been flat out with deadlines flying at us left right and centre.
Work/mum life balance: To be honest, good and less good. I am here for the boys when they come home and I can ensure they are settling down to homework etc, but the distinction between work and home is blurred.
How having children has changed the work I do: Our four children have been instrumental in helping Kellie and I develop the YUU brand. From helping us create the early prototypes with their fabulous ideas, to patiently modelling endless prototypes and even starring in our TV ads are kids have helped throughout.
Fantasy job / If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be… helping other small businesses and sharing my experience. Or, maybe just running a beach bar somewhere exotic!
Mojomums helps mums get their mojo back – what advice would you give to mums who feel they have lost theirs? Take a deep breath and jump in, don’t worry about making mistakes or having to relearn or retrain to move onto the next stage in your life. Picking up new skills is so rewarding and you will be surprised at what you can achieve. Feel proud of what you do – and for the occasional off days don’t bottle up stress and instead talking about things always makes a positive difference.
YUU was founded in 2010 by ex-colleagues and mums Gill Hayward and Kellie Forbes with the launch of the first range of kid’s activity backpacks after they identified a gap in the market to create an exciting, durable and portable solution providing entertainment for children on-the-go in a caring, protective way.
Since then, YUUbags have been a storming success with sales exceeding 75,000 YUUbags from the website alone. YUUbags are also sold internationally in Australia & NZ, Russia, Benelux and Scandinavia.
In 2012, YUU appeared on Dragon’s Den in 2012 and secured investment from Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden following a highly successful pitch which left all 5 Dragons wanting to invest.
The YUUgo is aimed at children aged 7-12 years.
visit www.yuuworld.com for more information.