Lindsey Benson is the founder of The Birthing Shirt Company, selling bamboo birthing shirts and other complimentary birth preparation products.
Was having children a motivating factor in working for yourself?
Yes, I previously worked full time as an architect for a large Bristol practice which didn’t offer the flexibility required when you have very small children (Henry aged 3.5 and Edward aged 13 months ) and a lovely stepdaughter Phoebe aged 10.
Why did you choose to set up a business in this area, or how did you come up with this product?
Before I gave birth to my first son I had a very hard time deciding what exactly I was supposed to wear whilst giving birth. I realised through my own experiences that it is natural to worry about exposing oneself to others and I wanted a birthing shirt that would give me confidence and a feeling of calm through this serious yet wonderful event.
After discussing with many fellow mothers, it became clear that finding a shirt that ticked all the boxes for birthing was a challenge and we all felt there was a lack of suitable products in the market. I decided to use my experience in design to establish a company that could produce a better alternative.
After working closely on the design development with expert maternity wear manufacturers … The bamboo birthing shirt was born.
Do you manage to get a better work – life balance now you work for yourself?
I can now tailor my working week around my family’s needs and when unexpected events arise (as the always do with children) I only have to answer to myself.
Did you encounter any difficulties and how did you overcome them?
The change from long term employee to working for yourself is an adjustment; there is no guaranteed pay check at the end of the month and you have to rely on your own judgement much more than you did when you worked in a team.
Having good financial advice is a must, hiring an accountant as soon as you can will keep you on top of the numbers and help with financial projections.
To cope with working alone local ‘mums the boss’ and ‘women in business’ networking events have been invaluable in giving me motivation, making business connections, dealing with home working isolation and using as a soundboard for my business plans.
What is the best thing about working for yourself?
The thrill of receiving compliments – I have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback about my birthing shirts, which is really encouraging and drives me on and I know it has been all down to me, I get out what I put in!
And the hardest?
No back up – the buck stops with you on everything which keeps you on your toes and adds extra pressure if you are unable to work e.g when you are ill or there is a family emergency.
What advice would you give to other parents thinking they may like to set up their own business?
My 3 biggest tips to new mumpreneurs and dadpreneurs:
1. Research your business idea inside out
2. Make use of the endless free info online about business start-ups (Business link is excellent)
3. Don’t try and isolate yourself seek out local groups for motivation, sound boarding, advice and mentoring.
The bamboo birthing shirt
Made of bamboo jersey
For pregnancy, labour, breastfeeding and bonding
Colour – Midnight Blue
Increase your birth confidence and relieve your dignity worries with the most comfortable and practical birthing shirt you’ll ever wear.
Stretchy, super soft, breathable and durable
A great gift for a pregnant woman
The Birthing Shirt Company
P.O Box 2087