Great Mum In Business Feature Loretta Bridge of Blue Friesian Personalised Magazines
Ces Creatively Asks : Hello Loretta, welcome to Supportive Business Mums and thanks for taking part in this interview feature to help us all get to know you a little better.
To start with, will you please describe yourself in five Words?
Loretta Replies : Hi Ces, thanks for featuring me on this great new site! Right, here goes : Passionate, perfectionist, self-critical, driven, wired.
Ces Creatively Asks : Ok, so what about your business, can you describe that in five words for us?
Loretta Replies : Yes, that's easy : Fun, great-quality, unique, personal, thoughtful.
Ces Creatively Asks : Tell us how you got started with your business Loretta.
Loretta Replies : I was looking for a unique present for my mothers 70th birthday and wanted to create a funny spoof magazine celebrating her life. I could find several companies offering spoof magazine covers but none that created multiple paged magazines. I ended up creating a magazine from scratch.
I received such positive feedback that I created a football magazine for our friends son’s football club as well as several other gifts for friends and a leaving present for my daughters school friend. From there, I researched the software required to create an automated solution for customers, printers etc and I haven’t looked back.
Ces Creatively Asks : That's brilliant Loretta, you hit on a real gap in the market and I can see why these really special personalised magazines are in such high demand, they are a great idea! What do you enjoy most about running your business?
Loretta Replies : I have been a “home worker” for 14 years and have always enjoyed the flexibility that it brings but working for yourself removes the need to justify your actions or answer to anyone else. I love being able to work the hours that suit me and the family.
I usually start around 630am and some days I might finish at midnight but in the meantime I may well have helped with a school trip, watched the children play tennis, gone to the gym or had a cuppa with my parents (and I always do the school run).
Another thing I enjoy immensely is photography and I use a lot of my own photographs for the magazine mock ups. Sometimes I have to go out with my camera to get a specific shot and I find that very relaxing. Seeing customers create great magazines using my templates and being really chuffed with the results is also really satisfying. I take customer service really seriously and getting a lovely testimonial is a great way to end the day.
Ces Creatively Asks : I totally appreciate a love of photography, as my followers know I am always tweeting pics from the beautiful coast! It is great that you can use your photograhs in your work too. What does a typical day in your business involve?
Loretta Replies : Get up, start working before the children wake up, make their breakfast, help them get ready for school, work a bit more, do the school drop off, work until school pick-up/after school activity/afternoon at granny’s. There might be some distractions in between e.g. meeting the printer/accountant etc or an impromptu lunch with friends etc. After picking the children up I will always be ‘online’ via the iphone and I may work ad-hocly later in the afternoon/evening as and when appropriate.
While working I might be processing orders, supporting customers with their creations, creating new magazine templates, testing out new functionality from the software company or performing any number of marketing activities (emailers, Facebook, Twitter, advertising, wedding fair direct mail etc etc).
Ces Creatively Asks : A great example of a multitasking mum! LOL. So what do you find challenging about running your business Loretta?
Loretta Replies : Not having someone like a business partner to bounce ideas off - share the celebrations and support each other in the unsure moments! My husband tries to get involved and support me but he works very hard (with Europe, the USA and Asia Pacific) and so when we both switch off from work, we tend to just relax.
Ces Creatively Asks : Here is something a lot of us mums have a hard time with... Do you have a clear divide between work and family life?
Loretta Replies : No! I love what I do and so I find it hard to stop and switch off. It’s not a new problem as I am a perfectionist and have always given 110% to all the companies I have worked for - even when they haven’t deserved it! It’s even harder when it’s your own business and you love what you are doing. My children are great and know when to give me some space but don’t necessarily believe me when I say “I just need 5 more minutes”!
Ces Creatively Asks : Oh I totally relate to that Loretta! So tell us about your family and what makes you tick outside of business?
Loretta Replies : I have a lovely husband (we met in France 13 years ago and moved back to get married and start a family). We have two great kids and both sets of parents (grandparents) living within 30 minutes of our home who are incredibly supportive. We live close to where we both grew up so have a great network of old school friends and love the village/school life with the children entrenched in the football/swimming/tennis activities. We have a little boat and love camping, day trips up the Thames - simple stuff.
Ces Creatively Asks : What would your advice be to someone about to set up a business in your industry?
Loretta Replies : Get your sleep in before you do! Focus on the things that make the difference and learn to accept that sometimes good enough IS good enough.
Ces Creatively Asks : What ALWAYS makes you smile?
Loretta Replies : Definitely my children. Natalie is 9 and Lewis is nearly 8 and they make me smile every single day as they get on so well and are (usually) quite thoughtful and caring. We often borrow Grandad’s dog. I enjoy her unconditional love.
Ces Creatively Asks : Why would you like to #WIN a facebook fan page design from www.biz-brand-buzz.co.uk
Loretta Replies : I have a Facebook Fan page but I know there is so much more engaging content that could be included. I ran a competition and my fan numbers increased very quickly in a short space of time but I haven’t had the time to really get my teeth into it since then.
Name : Loretta Bridge Business name : Blue Friesian URL : www.bluefriesian.com Email : Loretta@bluefriesian.com Contact tel : 07903 388 838 Twitter name : @bluefriesian Established : April 2010 Location : Hurst, Berkshire Delivery area normally covered : We are an online service and have had customers from the UK and other countries such as Australia and Spain (ordering for their loved ones back in the UK) as well as people ordering as ‘download-only’ for printing locally i.e. anyone anywhere could be a Blue Friesian customer.
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