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As we know Nottinghamshire is home to some fantastic burgeoning creative talents of all shapes. One fast growing aspect of this are the creative business mums; women who have found their lives change beyond all comprehension once they have children, and have used their skills to launch new businesses and career opportunities that offer a flexible approach to balancing an amazing parenting experience and fulfilling career aspirations.

The range of enterprises these women have ventured into are immense from photography, writing, sewing and jewellery designing and making through to creating art with fused glass, children’s cookery classes, personal branding, setting up a bakery and producing 2D and 3D casts of baby’s feet and hands, pregnancy bumps and hand and finger prints in silver. Here is a snapshot of just a few Nottinghamshire mums who are juggling parenthood with meeting their own creative needs and carving successful businesses from it.

• Tonniann Harwood, mum of four, runs Knot Just Jigs selling a range of products, including traditional toys, rag dolls, jigsaws, bunting and fabric party bags to name a few. She sells on and offline at events in and round Nottinghamshire and is very proud to offer handmade and personalised products. She is a huge supporter of small business within this area and is on the steering group of one of the craft show organisations.

• Liana Stevens followed her passion to set up local business Star Bakery in 2008 specialising in creating unique cakes and bakes for all occasions after her first child was born. She is also in the process of merging with a fellow Nottingham based cake business to form a new business, Swirls bakery, concentrating on large volume cake orders with national delivery options. Liana thinks her eldest child is her best marketing asset as he is always telling people she makes cakes!

Mama Jewels have amassed several Industry awards since they were established in 2009 and owner, and mum of two, Amanda Waring has created a very unique and niche brand in a competitive market which is going from strength to strength. Amanda also founded the Nottinghamshire Mumsclub networking group which provides a forum for mums to get together and share ideas in a child friendly, open environment.

• Since becoming a mother in 2010 Emma Owen made the decision to leave her career as a secondary school Art teacher in the city to concentrate on her hobby creating art in painted and fused glass and set up her business EmArt. She works whenever time allows although usually in the evenings, when her husband is at home or when her son sleeps. Emma has had work exhibited around the City and currently is selling products at ArtWorks in Chilwell and at Alan Woolley’s art and craft fairs around Nottingham throughout the year.

• Emma Wilsher’s love of photography was inspired by her children and she treasured capturing every detail of moments and milestones they achieved before branching out to realise the dream of having her own business Emma Wilsher Photography last year. Emma captures special memories and moments for individuals, couples and families to cherish. Her work includes lifestyle portraiture, location shooting, wedding photography and studio sessions.

• Recent winner of Theo Paphitis’s “Small Business Sunday” on Twitter, Bambino Beads is run by Notts creative Helen Keightley. Her jewellery for children from 3 years and over can be personalised and fastens with a magnetic clasp, making it easy to remove. Her collection was inspired by her twin boys who liked to borrow her jewellery to dress up, and she quickly spotted a gap in the market for fun, safe accessories for children.

• Nottinghamshire born and bred writer Becky Goddard-Hill is a published author of of “How to afford time off with your baby” (Vermilion 09) and runs several successful blogs including, and She decided to leave her career as a child development trainer for Social Services to concentrate on writing as it offered flexibility with a young family.

• Alexia Leachman was already self employed as a personal brand coach and head trash liberator, offering creative workshops and training in the area, before becoming a mother, with her business Headtrash. She has worked in the County with owners of creative agencies, photographers and writers to help them be better versions of themselves. As she says “the creative mind is brilliantly creative at being distracting!”. Since having her first child last year Alexia had to make significant changes to her business model, the range of services and her working hours to allow for her change in circumstances. This, however, has allowed her to open up new avenues, creating a number of digital products offering the ability to work with people all over the world, rather than face-to-face.

Blueberries junior Cooking Company, another winner of Theo Paphitis’s “Small Business Sunday” was launched last year by Bernadette Lawley offer fun, cookery parties, workshops and courses for children in addition to selling a range of children’s cookery equipment and cookery themed party bags via the website and stands at various craft fairs. At Blueberries Junior Cooking Company, the emphasis is on using quality ingredients and devising creative menus and course formats so that children learn a wide range of cookery skills in a fun environment. Bernadette’s son has also got involved in the business developing and producing the original artwork for the website, the party invitations, menu cards and advertising material which they worked on together helping make Blueberries a real family business!

• Nicola Kelsall, runs Precious Memories Nottingham, who create 2D and 3D casts of baby hands and feet in addition to older children, adults and pets and also silver fingerprint jewellery and baby bump casts. Nicola, who left her teaching career when she became a mum five years ago, works part time juggling the work around her family commitments and also volunteering as a breastfeeding peer supporter.

With female entrepreneurship under the spotlight as business community network Everywoman and the Federation of Small Businesses partner up on the Real-Life Entrepreneurs campaign, pressure is on the government to place targets to raise the number of female entrepreneurs in the UK. The groups claim that 150,000 start-ups would be created each year if women started businesses at the same rate as men.

Getting the work-life balance right is something these women have had to work hard to achieve, particularly as many have young children and don’t want to sacrifice missing out on the precious early years. This often means getting up before the children to fit in a couple of hours work in the morning and continuing when they have gone to bed in the evening. Even though they may be working long, and often unsociable, hours it means that the quality time they have with their children is even more precious.

Working from home or in a studio alone can also be quite an isolating experience so child friendly networking groups and conferences provide much needed interaction and support and are essential in allowing these mums to share ideas and experiences. If you are a mum in business, or thinking of starting a business, Nottinghamshire Mumsclub’s next meeting is on Tuesday 15 November at Broomhill SureStart Centre in Hucknall. If you would like more details or to book a place, Amanda can be contacted on 07720 890552 or

Photo acknowledgement: Thanks to Lisa Baker at Hassled to Happy coaching for the photograph of a juggling mum used as thumbnail.