Here at House of Coco we’re a sucker for a family business, we love hearing about how they manage to hustle together whilst still having a relationship outside of work. One story that we fell in love with was that of The English Beagle which started around the kitchen table one June afternoon where three generations of the Laker-Moon family sat talking and drinking tea. Just like that leisurely afternoon where the talk was of family, so too is the story of The English Beagle.
Here, we went deeper with one of those family members, Audrey, to find out more.
Tell us about the journey you had that lead to you launching your company, The English Beagle
** With a change in my personal life about 4 years ago made me relook at everything including the job I was in. When I realised that I respected the work but did not love it I knew it was time for a change. I had spent 15 years travelling the world visiting manufacturers and loved it, but times and my life had changed and I needed to do something different. My years of factory visits gave me a new founded respect for British manufacturers and I wanted to support them, hence the birth of The English Beagle.
I wanted to create a brand which evokes family and love. The English Beagle began as a gift boutique to support small British brands, offering unique British made gifts. I have met some wonderful people who have left their mark and some I can now call friends.
A family run company, how do you separate work from family time?
** I am fortunate that my daughter is in secondary school which gives me more flexibility in my working day. I do cherish those moments when she pops her head around my office door and asks what I am doing. Showing her that women can do and be anything.
What inspires you?
** Inspiration comes in many forms. The name, The English Beagle, is named after my beagle Suzy. Having the guts to start a new venture was inspired by my parents. Looking back at my daughter’s toddler and little girl photos where she insisted in dressing herself and being an individual. Having a partner who holds my hand at the end of the day. Most importantly knowing that my parents are proud of me and what I have achieved inspires me.
Tell us something that people would not know about you
** I am incredibly shy! I am much happier sitting behind the desk or sewing machine getting on with things than at a network event. I dread Instagram stories for this very reason.
Looking back, is there anything you would do differently
** Everything you do as an entrepreneur or small business owner is part of learning process and would not do anything differently. There certainly have been plenty of lessons learnt but without them I would not have grown as a small business owner and find it amazing that I can now offer advice to fellow mumtrepreneurs. The times we live in result in us having to constantly learn and adapt our business to grow.
What does 2020 look like for you?
** I have finally found my niche and 2020 is looking great. The launch of the clothing ranges (both girls and women’s skirts) has brought me back to me roots and I now relish sitting behind my sewing machines. There is something so simple in its reward seeing something you made heading out the door all wrapped in beautiful tissue paper. For 2020 I hope that the pieces become the go to piece for comfort and ease of wear.
Our readers love to travel, where’s your happy place?
** I have two happy places. The first being Cape Town as I spent my childhood there, and the feeling of home is most prevalent when sitting around the pool with family and friends having a BBQ. The second happy place would be Istanbul, perfect for a city break. I have not found a better combination of people, food and atmosphere. I must drop one more happy place in, which would be any Greek beach in the middle of summer.
For any aspiring entrepreneurs, what advice would you give?
** Getting your branding right and finding your USP is crucial. I worked with a wonderful branding company who helped bring my vision to life. I was able to put all my plans and thoughts onto the table and they sifted through it to create the brand look. I was fortunate to have my mother with me at the brand reveal which made it even more special to include my mother. Another strong piece of advice is to go with your gut. Trust your instincts and believe in yourself.
Tell us about your most recent Bossbabe moment
** The English Beagle was shortlisted for Self-Employed Person of the Year in the Tonbridge Business of Year. It was a great feeling to be part of such a well-deserved group of people. And to think and the 3 finalists were all women!