Bumble and Bee is absolutely thrilled to welcome Caroline O’Neill (our very own @DiggMama) to the blog this week! Caroline is a force to be reckoned with, and having previously owned her own childrenswear store, we couldn’t be more grateful for her support, knowledge and unmatched expertise.
This week, we were able to sit down with Caroline for a coffee and a truly incredible interview, where she gave us an amazing insight into where she has come from, where she is now and where she hopes to be in her bright future.
It was nothing short of a joy to speak with her and we truly hope you have as much fun reading as we have!
Tell us a bit about yourself Caroline.
I am firstly a wife to Gerard and a mummy to Pearse, Darragh and little Tess. However, as well as this, I have found myself in the online space as the founder of the social media platform Diggmama, which has over 120,000 followers on social media from all over the world! I also work as a business coach through my business Digg For Success which helps businesses grow their brand and expand on their business. That has also led to the amazing Digg Podcast, which I love so much. The Digg podcast is an educational platform that helps businesses learn as much as they can about the business sphere. And last but certainly not least, I am the founder of Digg Deep For Kids, which is a campaign that works every year to support charities throughout the country and I am so proud to say that over the last few years of this campaign we have raised over £400,000. That’s it in a nutshell and I wouldn’t change it for the world!
You also used to run a childrenswear shop, tell us a bit about that experience.
I would say I was always inspired by my daddy who was in business all his life, and there was always an itch to enter into the world of business. However, at the very start, I did go down the traditional route of going to university. I decided then to become an Occupational Therapist and that was where my career began. However, during this time, my colleagues always used to laugh because I was constantly chatting about my business ideas. I used to say “Imagine if you opened a bagel bar!”. Eventually I just took the leap and with the support of my daddy I was able to open Digg Childrenswear at the age of 24! The name Digg was inspired by the fact that my daddy owned a digger and it was him who helped me get started. From then the name Digg has always been so important to me, and even more so now with how much we have achieved under that name. I had the shop for 12 years and absolutely loved it. It was equally tough and so much fun, as I faced opening in a recession, learning on my feet, employing new staff and growing an online presence. But the greatest thing about the shop was having the opportunity to be so creative, knowing the business was contributing to the local economy by providing new jobs and most importantly the great sense of community the shop created for all of us.
You now work alongside so many brands and different businesses. What do you love most about this?
I suppose because I have lived it myself, and I understand the problems and challenges that businesses face, I feel so passionate about giving them the support and help that they need and deserve. I’m also passionate about giving businesses the space to put their hands up and say “I don’t know what to do here” or “This is hard, can you help me?”. I was never afraid to own up to the fact that I needed help with things, and needed support and I love reminding businesses that it’s okay to not have all the answers straight away. Digg for Success really began with me admitting that I needed help with certain things for my own business, and that led to a vibrant community of businesses starting to gather around me and my platform. It’s amazing to see people coming together and supporting each other in this way. I also love this work because of the incredible changes I see everyday. When I mentor a business or run a workshop with passionate business owners and all of a sudden I can see their businesses thrive and expand and grow, it makes everything worth it.
What did you want to be when you were little?
I have honestly never known what I have wanted to be all of my life! I think as well it’s a good thing for me to never have known, because it has led me to so many different and exciting paths. I am now a podcaster and a business coach and a charity campaigner and all of these things would not have happened if I had ever set in stone what I wanted to be.
Who’s your biggest inspiration?
My two biggest inspirations are my mummy and daddy. Both of them have inspired me and inspire me every day in what I do. My daddy has been in business all of his life and has always given me such a drive to push forward and be the best that I can be. And my mummy, although she didn’t go into employment herself, she has inspired me and guided me so much through the world of work. She brought up 6 children, and although she might have loved to have a career, she chose us instead and threw herself into creating an amazing life for us. She inspires me every single day.
How did you dress as a child? Do you have any high-fashion moments that spring to mind, good or bad?!
Thinking back, my mummy and my auntie Margaret dressed me. I was the only girl in a house full of boys, and so all of their aspirations for dressing a little girl were put on me! A memory that springs to mind is probably when I was around 9 years old, and I decided to rebel against this peter pan, white collared, blue dress that had a nautical print across it. They were insisting I wear it for Easter, and I remember throwing a huge tantrum and proclaiming that I was “Too old to wear a dress like that!”. My mother still reflects on that day being stressful for her!
Children can be unpredictable. Do you have any funny stories to share about photoshoots or campaigns etc when you owned Digg Childrenswear?
When doing the first ever photoshoot for Digg Childrenswear, I decided to bring along my own kids as the models. And from that moment, I swore I would never involve my own children in a photoshoot again! I think trying to direct your own kids doesn’t really work, because they don’t listen! Haha. But other people’s children have always been much more obliging. Every photoshoot after this one went much more smoothly!
What are your hopes for the future?
I think my key hope for the future is to just be together again with everyone in person. Both the business community, my online Diggmama community and in general, with friends and family. After so long apart, I hope to see an abundance of in-person events and face-to-face interaction. I’m looking forward to connecting with my online community with my ‘Big Day Out’ event at the end of April, as that’s a way to connect with my online family, who mean everything to me and who have opened up so many doors for me. So really, my hopes for the future are just more togetherness, and lots and lots of face to face interactions!
Any advice for those aspiring to conquer the world of childrenswear?
My main advice would be to make sure you do your research. Make sure you understand your target market because that will inform everything else! I would also say, you just need to be aware of what it takes. Regardless of what you’re selling, to open up a business you have to be just as committed to it as you are your family. Your business becomes another family member and it’s only when you understand that that you will grow and expand. If you maintain your passion, your focus and your drive, you will be successful. I would also just say, you have to be open to learning. You will not know it all straight away and being open and asking questions is the secret to success.
We are so delighted to work alongside you. Do you have anything else you would like to share?
The last thing I would like to share is just about how amazing Bumble and Bee Kids Boutique is. One of the main things that stands out about Bumble and Bee as a shop is that it never stands still. Bumble and Bee is always making sure that the brands available instore and online are consistently fresh, new, up to date and exactly what their customers want and need. I would also say that one of the reasons the business stands out above the rest, is down to the owner Laura. Laura is such a positive and hardworking person both online and when you meet her in person and this makes the whole experience even better for her customers.
There you have it!
It was so lovely to spend some time with Caroline and have the opportunity to dig a little deeper into the mind behind the magic of Diggmama. Here at Bumble and Bee Kids Boutique, we love hearing from inspirational parents that are doing amazing things!
Thanks so much to Diggmama and we can’t wait to see what’s next for you!