Everyone at Bumble and Bee is incredibly inspired by the amazing people that we engage with every single day. Every person that comes to us to buy childrenswear, is doing their best for the little people in their life. Whether they’re a parent, a caregiver, a family member or a friend, every person that plays a special role in a child’s life deserves to be celebrated.
Because of this, we thought there was no better person to give us some inspiration, than the wonderful Sarah from Ted and Stitch. Here at Bumble and Bee, we are eager to show every mother what is possible, and Sarah is an incredible example of someone who has reached for the stars every step of her journey. We absolutely loved getting the chance to seek some advice from Sarah on business. We hope you enjoy reading as much as we enjoyed speaking with her.
Tell us a bit about yourself Sarah!
I always find this question the most difficult one, but here we go! I am a wife and a mummy to three little boys, Alfie, Nate and Arthur. I went to university to study consumer studies, and when I left university, I thought I would be a teacher! I got married to Paul, and once we had our first little boy, I decided to work part time while working after him. Then our second little boy was born, and before I got back to work, he was diagnosed with cancer. So, I suppose very quickly my role changed from mummy, to mummy and carer, very quickly. That was a very difficult time for us, but I truly think making our way through it together has made us so close as a family. My personal ethos, and the ethos of Ted and Stitch, is to always have so much gratitude. I wake up everyday feeling so so grateful for all that we have, and I believe that brought us through that time together. Just over a year later, we then had my youngest little boy. It was at this stage that we started Ted and Stitch.
And what inspired you to start Ted and Stitch as a business?
Whenever Nate got very sick, I just kept thinking to myself, ‘I just want to wrap him in words of bravery and empowerment.” And of course, I needed those words of encouragement for myself too, so I knew that surrounding my babies with those words was so important. Alfie had gone from having a mummy who was there all the time, to having both his mummy and daddy always away at the hospital. I remember Alfie just being so amazing, and his caring nature just growing and growing. He used to say, “When I grow up I’m going to be a doctor so I can help babies like Nate’. So when I was looking at my children, I just kept coming back to the idea that I wanted to wrap them in these words. And it started so simply. I thought, “I just want to make them a wee t-shirt saying that they’re brilliant.” Paul kept saying to me, “Sarah, you’re crafty, why don’t we get an embroidery machine, and you can stitch little words that you want onto the boys' clothing”, and that’s how it started. I started making Christmas jumpers, which wasn’t even the original plan, and it grew from there and people started requesting them to buy. Which was so amazing at the time, because obviously myself and my husband hadn’t properly worked for a year, as we were looking after Nate. And the rest is history!
Amazing! Sounds like it was meant to be. Since then, Ted and Stitch have had such incredible success. For you, what has been a career highlight?
There have been so many amazing things that have happened since then. Particularly with incredible collaborations. It’s amazing working with such big brands, like Barista Bar, Dale Farm etc. But to be honest, every facet of the business is a career highlight. When I see that one person has placed an order with us, I still can’t believe it, and feel so grateful for their custom. We have a customer database of around 3000 people, and we’re so grateful for every one of them and the impact that has. That pride definitely accumulated when we launched The Tedberry Market with Millson and Berry. Over 400 businesses applied to come to exhibit at the market, and over 1,500 people attended on the day. We completely sold out of tickets, which was amazing. I think this was so incredible for us, because we saw the huge impact it had on other businesses, other families and this wide community that has formed via social media. To positively impact so many people at once, was honestly amazing.
Ted and Stitch have grown so rapidly over the last couple of years. What advice would you give other business owners that are searching for ways to grow and expand?
I think the best advice would be honesty, authenticity and connection. Our collaborations with other businesses, brands and influencers have definitely helped us grow and expand. But we wouldn’t have had those opportunities without connecting with people, and showing the raw, real, true sides of us that make us human. I think it’s easy to think that you have to be and act a certain way when you enter the business world, but showing your customers the real you, and who you really are is key to organic growth.
We know you and Paul are always so busy! But, what advice would you give for achieving a work/life balance?
I would say it’s definitely not easy, and because we both want to be the best we can be for both our customers and our family, it can be hard. Two things I would say, is prioritising your time wisely. Myself and Paul make a point of still organising date nights, and time spent with just the two of us. We prioritise time with the children, time with just us and time for work, and all of those are equally important. It’s also so important to set boundaries. I no longer check emails at the weekends, because it is so important for me to have that time as a mummy with the boys, and the emails will always still be there on Monday. We also invested in employing other staff members to help us out, because we realised we can’t do it all. It’s not easy, but you can definitely make it work!
Sarah, you’re such an incredible example of a brilliant woman in business. What advice would you give to any women reading this who want to start their own venture?
My main advice would be just do it! And if you think you can’t, I promise you, you can! Running a business is not easy, but you can do it and you can do it well. We all think that everyone else knows more than us or has the secrets that we don’t have, but that isn’t true. There are ways to find out everything you need to know, you just need to start. If you’re scared, that’s great, because we all have to push ourselves.
That is amazing advice, thank you! As you know, we sell childrenswear here at Bumble and Bee. Do you remember how you dressed as a child?
Growing up, I actually dressed like a bit of a tomboy! But my mum always had us in the best of the best. On reflection, I think it was very ‘of the time’, and I’m not sure if my outfits would be sold in Bumble and Bee nowadays! But my mum did a great job.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I would say there are two people, and that would be my mum and Paul, my husband. My mum has instilled in me a resilience and drive that has seen me through the most difficult times. She always reminded us that there’s nothing we can’t do and I'm so grateful for that. Paul is the same, as he pushes me to be the best I can be, and we face everything together. He encourages me to get up and go whenever I feel like I can’t and inspires me every day.
What are your hopes for the future?
Whenever your family comes through something like cancer, everyone talks about you being survivors. They’ll say Nate is a survivor and our family are survivors. But instead of just surviving, I like to think of us as a family of thrivers! We’re thriving now, and my hope is that we continue thriving, and that we continue to feel happy and healthy. All I can ask for is that I see my family grow old. I want to build their resilience and strength so they can face whatever life throws at them.
How incredible is Sarah?! We feel so inspired by her as a mother, a business owner and a thriver! We hope that everyone reading this has taken something positive for their back pocket, and we cannot wait to see what is to come from Sarah and Paul at Ted and Stitch in the future.
To find out more about what Ted and Stitch offer, visit the link below:
Can never be serious, you can always be sure of a laugh when your with Sarah...