Girlbosses of Great Britain : Talking balance and business with Arabella Baby

Family owned, Arabella Baby is the brand that makes life easier for busy families. [...]

Family owned, Arabella Baby is the brand that makes life easier for busy families. RossAnne is at the helm after acquiring the business a couple of years ago when she spotted an opportunity she couldn’t refuse. She has since taken things to the next level and her story is one that inspired us.

We spent some time with RossAnne to find out more about her plans for the brand, how she juggles her hectic schedule and more…

Tell us about the journey that lead you to launching Arabella Baby…

At the end of 2018 I began looking at the idea to build an Amazon business.  As I was learning about how to build an Amazon business the opportunity to purchase some inventory from a woman that no longer wanted to be in the business came up and I jumped at the chance to take over Arabella Baby. She had only been working on it for about 8 months, so it was just the bare bones of a business, but I was excited to “sink my teeth” into a new venture. I quickly decided to build the brand on and off Amazon.

You’re a busy mum, how do you get the balance right between work and home life?

I’m definitely not perfect at this, but I do my best! 

I work at home, so for me the number one thing to is communicate with my family! I tell my husband and 9-year-old son when I will be unavailable because of a business call or other meeting and allow myself to be flexible throughout the day if they need me. 

I also take time for self-care EVERYDAY! This includes, scripture study, prayer/meditation, exercise or a walk/hike, and a shower;) I also carve out time for personal “maintenance” i.e., hair, lash, and wax appointments. I am a “mature” woman in my late 40s and have learned that reducing stress is the most important thing we women can do for our health, which is the most important tool in my business. I have a “rest and relaxation” mindset. That means  I do what I can to reduce the feelings of stress in my life by walking, spending time with friends, spa days (which has been tough this year!), take a 10-30 minute nap (yes this is a tool I use daily!), take a bath or long shower, and anything else that relaxes my body and mind. Hobbies are another great tool. I love putting puzzles together and am currently working on a 42,000-piece puzzle! I usually work on it in the evening before going to bed. Taking a walk, especially in nature, is a fantastic way to reduce stress and lower cortisol levels in women, which does a handful of wonderful things for our health.

A daily task list is a life saver. I love to use the Google Keep app. I also tend to do things on a schedule like planning meals on Sunday, running errands at the same time during the day (for me that is around 2p.m. on the days that I need to go), and going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. 

I also take Sundays completely off. A day of rest from work is a great way to re-charge and re-focus for the week. 

Another valuable tool I use to stay balanced is writing in my journal before I go to bed. This settles my mind and helps me sleep. 

For any mums wanting to launch their own business, what advice would you give?

I think the biggest key is to look at your skills, gifts, and talents, and choose a business that allow you to shine in those areas and then decide what areas you will need help. Are you really good with your hands? Can you easily manage many “irons in the fire”? Are you a great leader? Can you motivate people easily? Do you excel at public speaking or speaking in general? Can you network easily? What types of activities do you LOVE doing and would you be able to make money selling what you do/make or teaching others how to do/make? These are just a FEW of the questions I would ask. 

There are so many types of viable business options that narrowing down the one you want to start can be daunting. Throughout my adulthood I have had numerous businesses, so I am pretty clear on my strengths and weaknesses. I’ve had a few business failures that taught me valuable information about myself. Don’t be afraid of the failure! 

I’m also a believer in taking action. Don’t get stuck in “analysis paralysis”. If you have an idea for a business, just start and see where the journey takes you. If it doesn’t work the way you thought it would, most likely it will lead you to another opportunity that is just as great or even better than you thought! 

I’m of the belief that God will direct my path, but only if I’m moving. I often think of this quote, “You cannot move a parked car.” Even if the car is barely moving, it can be steered. Just take the next step over and over!

What has been the biggest learning curve since launching the business? 

The biggest learning curve in my current business has been marketing and branding. Most of the businesses I’ve been involved in were direct sales where the marketing and branding were done by the company. My husband and I had our own mortgage business years ago that we branded and marketed, but not to the scale I wanted for Arabella Baby. I’ve had to learn how to brand and market my own label this time and it’s been very challenging, but also very fun!

How do you want mums to feel when they buy from you?

I want mums and dads to feel uplifted, motivated and supported by my brand. That is our purpose behind EVERYTHING we do. 

Talk us through an average day in your life… 

As soon as I wake up, I start with scripture study. This usually takes about 10 minutes, followed by prayer/meditation and then going over my to-do list for the day.

Then I put my workout clothes on and make my son breakfast.

3 days a week: a quick 15-20 minute workout followed by a walk or hike (sometimes on my treadmill if the weather is not permitting an outdoor walk/hike). 

Other days: 60 minute walk/hike outside if possible or on treadmill.

Shower and dress for the day.

Time to sit at my computer and get to work. 

I have a balanced smoothie for breakfast around 11. 

Around 2 p.m. I fulfill orders and drop them off for delivery. Then I run any needed errands. (This is a part of the business that I will hire out as we grow.)

I also eat a balanced lunch before I leave, which usually includes a high-quality protein bar or grab-n-go snack pack (these are sold in the US and include a portion of cheese, sliced meat and nuts).

Around 5 p.m. I start preparing to make dinner. Eating well is a HUGE part of being successful, so I take time to prepare a meal every day except Friday and Saturday when we eat out. If I ever find that taking time to prepare a meal isn’t feasible in my schedule, that will be the time to hire help in my business. 

My inventory is made in China, so there are times when I need to communicate with my suppliers after dinner because they are 14 hours ahead. They are typically starting work around 6 p.m. my time. 

Looking back, is there anything you would do different since launching the brand? 

There are lots of things I wish I had not spent capital on like marketing programs that didn’t net any noticeable sales. When I started, I was searching for anything that would help me be successful at marketing the brand, so I paid for a lot of “expert” programs. What I’ve learned is that marketing takes time and it’s ideal to be marketing EVERYWHERE! Also, it’s best to invest in the experts to do the marketing for me instead of trying to learn it myself!

How much has Covid19 impacted you? 

My biggest month so far was May 2020! Lots of people were home shopping and my bundles in a box are perfect to send to new parents!

At this point there are only two members of my Arabella team, me and my Marketing Manager, Madison, who lives in another state in the US, so we did not have to make any changes to be physically safe.

Other than that, the biggest impact has been my supply chain. It has taken a lot longer to replenish my inventory from factories in China slowing down, to shipping issues. Our family has not been directly impacted by the virus, thankfully, so other than being home a lot more, our lives have not changed very much. My heart goes out to the millions around the world who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. 

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is to be very aware of my thoughts and work hard to maintain thoughts that empower and strengthen me. I listen to self-help books on a regular basis and this is a theme that comes up over and over. Our thoughts direct our whole life. If we think sick thoughts, we will be sick. If we think healthy thoughts, we will be healthy. If we let our thoughts “go” and direct our lives, we will not end up where we want to be. It is the toughest work in the world to take charge of our thoughts, but it the most valuable work in the world! 

Where can people find out more…

You can find out more about our products at arabellababy.com. We’re on the social @arabellababyco. We do our best to create uplifting, entertaining content so come join our club!

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Laura Bartlett
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