Name: Jane Johnstone
Company: Perfectly Happy People
I’ve only ever met Jane Johnstone once, but she is someone who I will never forget. Her business advice is realistic, tailored towards hard working mums and she has so much passion for what she does. Most notably she is a very happy person and willing to help others. Love her! Read how you can be happy and run a successful business
Born in 1963 (yes really quite old now) my Father was Tea Planter in India and my Mother was a lady of leisure. I started working as a nanny to numerous families across the UK, I then moved onto working in a Children’s Day Nursery, which progressed to be a teaching assistant in a school with children with very ‘special needs’ I loved this job and felt I was really making a difference or was I!
I then left working for this ‘special school’ and started working for Child’s Play International, a brilliant children’s book publisher in Swindon, where I put illustrators and authors together and I then narrated there stories across the world!
I then Met Carol Cotton my Co Director at PHP at the back of the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham one wet and cold winters afternoon, she was selling baby products and I was selling books at a consumer show. A friendship was born and we now run a multi million pound baby business based in Chiswick in London.
We have a Warehouse and Call Centre and 20+ staff, supplying 1000 of parents across the UK with baby products. Our Mail order and Distribution of baby goods has now reach Europe and we are about to launch in the USA!
Run us through your typical day as Businesswomen, Mother and Wife.
5.20 rise and off into London (leaving my husband and step son at home to get up and off to school!) I live in London 2 nights a week and juggle the home life as best I can, ensuring when we are together as a family we have a good and happy time.
Our office is attached to our warehouse so all shipments in and out of our building I can see from my office window. From containers to Parcel Force it is a busy environment! Each day we review orders, stocks quantities and communicate with my buyers. Each customers needs something different and when we are in discussions over new product listings, every single one of them has a different method of working and the form filling is endless.!!
Luckily I have a great support team around me, who truly look after the daily orders and shipments as most stores have a 2 day lead time, so no room for error!
Lunch does not feature, normally lots of coffee and the day is gone. Some days I am in the car for 6 – 8 hours depending upon where our customers are and I put together full product presentations, for the buyers to touch and feel our products and indeed understand why we are so passionate about all that we do and the great product ranges we can offer.
What’s your advice for other working Mums to balance the work / home balance?
Do it all I say, it can be done, life is about compromise and keep your friends really close and laugh every day, we truly try too.
How has your business developed over the years and were you ever cautious of making changes to your original business plans?
We originally started out very firmly as the baby catalogue and we offered innovative baby products for parents. Each product had something special about it, they were not gimmicks! Now we are supply every National Retailers across the UK with a great range of branded baby products and many of them award winning!
Life has changed and you need to be flexible in your approach and be willing to work in different ways, yet at the same time be true to yourself and your family.
Have you ever had ‘low days’ thinking if your business would be a success? How do you re-motivate yourself?
I would never really say low days, more like days when things just don’t seem to flow! I usually over come this with a good laugh and a joke with my team here at PHP, we usually see the funny side to life, eventually!
Finally, what’s your golden piece of advice to other parents who are thinking of starting up their own business and is there any support available?
I am often approached by Mums with truly great ‘baby product ideas’. Some products I just know will be truly successful but sadly this is probably 1 in 10 products. So my advice would be, do not give up the day job!
If you want to succeed you have to be determined and give it your all, and yes this does mean compromise in all areas of your life. I have also met some fantastic people and our journeys through life have been entangled and I am thrilled to be part of their life.
WOW Jane is a true inspiration – If she can build a multi million pound company so can you! Like Jane said you can have it all, you just need to keep going.
What a great Mumpreneur of the Month – I’m feeling inspired already