In the course of my work, I get to meet all sorts of fabulous family related business people so I’m giving them some time on my blog to tell you all about themselves and the wonderful products and services they have to offer. Here’s Sarah O’Connell – the founder of the Sussex Baby Show to tell you more about her business and herself in her own words…
Describe what your business does in one sentence?
Offer an engaging and information hub for Sussex families and suppliers to connect, including our flagship…. The Sussex Baby Show.
How long have you been trading?
Are you a single operator / owner or do you have staff?
I fly solo, with support from my VA and Graphic Designer, not to mention my amazing family.
How did you come up with your business name?
Over a cuppa and a digestive. I was already onto a winner. Baby and todd for toddler. It seemed so obvious to me.
What makes your business different?
Babytodd was born from personal experience and continues to ensure this is at the forefront of what is offered. The experience received by families and exhibitors is so very important to me.
What are you most proud of about your business?
The wonderful and supportive following that has been built over the last three years just blows me away. I am so grateful.
By supporting and nurturing the business community with opportunities, not otherwise available, has meant that so many families have had the opportunity to make conscious parenting decisions and purchases based on their in depth understanding.
What’s your biggest business challenge?
The work/life balance has to be up there. Working from home means strong discipline to leave the work and focus on the family. With no one to pick up the slack and self-inflicted deadlines, it can be tricky to give myself a break at times. When I do, it feels sooooo good and the family time is even more precious.
How have your overcome it?
Boundaries are there, but so easily moved so I continue to work on this. The holidays can be tricky, with the children home but being able to adapt my working hours in order to enjoy time with them and my husband is a real treasure.
What’s your plan for the future?
Show number 5 in October. This time 2 days and in an exciting new facility for our show. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.
What did you do before starting your business?
My ‘proper’ job, before I had the girls was a Sales and Customer Service Manager. Heading up the internal team and infrastructure for an international business. In short, it meant I got to lead and ‘look after’ staff & customers. You know me….. I love to look after everyone and be ‘Mum’ ????
Why did you start your business?
From personal experience, I knew there was a lack of opportunities for families to direct connect and learn about services and suppliers available to them, especially those in their area. So, being a do’er, I tool the bull by the horns and got to it. Plus, many of my memories are cemented around occasions, so I was keen to share an event that celebrated this special time for families expecting and with little ones.
Tell us a bit about you and your family if that’s relevant?
I am married to my husband Geoff, we have twin girls who are off to secondary in September and I am partial to a G&T, love a catch up with friends and am partial to the odd trip out on my Roller Boots with the girls. Not that I have done that for a while.
Who is your biggest influence / supporter?
My husband Geoff. He is my number one supporter. I am so grateful for his support and he is a big part of why and how babytodd has been able to grow. Thanks to his dedication to the family and wanting me to succeed and achieve my dreams. The hours are long and late, and he makes a mean toastie when its grub time which really helps too.
If you could meet yourself aged 13, what advice would you give yourself?
Don’t worry about what others think, go with your gut and believe in yourself. Oh, and cut yourself some slack sometimes. Simply, enjoy life and be kind to you and yours. x
What do you do to relax?
When the light goes off in the office, I love to share time with my family. It is a rare treat, especially as we get ever closer to the next show. Time with friends is even more infrequent but I love nothing more than a cold beer or G&T and catching up with friends and having nothing to distract this sheer indulgence.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Hehe, Sarah Fisher, I think you know the answer to this. I am certainly a night owl, although if I could switch my body clock I would LOVE to be an early bird. I love the idea of catching the start of the day with time on my hands. Something to aspire to.
What was the last film you watched or book you read?
I never have been a great reader although holidays are a lovely time to enjoy a good book. Film: Mary Poppins, the original and I simply love it. I will never tire of it.
First thing you’d buy if you won £10 million on the lottery?
Ooooh, good question….. I am sure there are some creative ideas but honestly…… A holiday for our family. Just the four of us. Plus, a polaroid camera so I could ditch the technology and capture the memories old style
What are your words to live by?
I heard this from a fellow babytodd Hub Bub Member and have adopted it…. In the wise words of Cinderella, ‘have courage and be kind’. Short, simple and perfect.
Get in Touch
If you’d like to talk to Sarah, then here’s the numbers and places where you can find her!