018: Steph Douglas – coping with hate mail from florists and growing an amazing gift business

In this interview I talk with Parentpreneur Steph Douglas, a mum of two and founder of the inventive gift company Don’t Buy Her Flowers.

The lightbulb moment of inspiration for Steph’s thoughtful gift company was sat on the sofa, looking at multiple bunches of flowers after giving birth and feeling leaky, weepy and overwhelmed. Considering that the typical gift – flowers – for new mums is something else to care for, it came to Steph that surely there should be another option. There it was born; a company who create packages aimed at encouraging the recipient to take a bit of time for themselves whether that’s with a hot cuppa, a cold gin or a good book.

She trialled the idea when friends had babies by sending a package with some treats and a magazine or by dropping a meal on their doorstep and was amazed by how appreciative they were.

Despite, returning part-time to her job in brand and marketing after both children, Steph couldn’t shake the idea the idea behind Don’t Buy Her Flowers. She was passionate about her mission – that new mums deserve something to let them know they are cared for and loved.

Steph begun a business plan and a blog called ‘Sisterhood (and all that)’, writing an honest, funny and sometimes emotional account of motherhood. The blog’s popularity gave her the confidence to leave her job to start the business.

Since then, Steph has grown the business significantly using social media, PR and collaborations, growing 180% from year one to year two. In September 2016 the business was moved out of her house to premises in Gloucestershire, with her brother employed as full time Head of Operations.

The business not only caters to new mothers but also offers packages for birthdays, bereavement, get well and any occasion to make someone feel special.

In this recording, we chat over Steph’s experience of starting her business alongside a part-time job and getting time with her two children. We learn how she coped with the upsetting experience of getting hate mail from florists, what’s helped her quickly turn the startup from an idea into a growing business, and how she’s managing that growth.

We also played a game where Steph had to guess what the worse gift I have ever given to my wife is (a game stolen from the Scummy Mummies!)

Resources / links mentioned in the podcast:

  1. Don’t Buy Her Flowers and blog ‘Sisterhood (and all that)’
  2. Ben from Graze.com
  3. Scummy Mummies Podcast
  4. Don’t Buy Her Flowers Facebook
  5. Don’t Buy Her Flowers Twitter
  6. Steph’s Instagram
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About The Author

Alexis Kingsbury

Alexis is founder of the Parentpreneur Accelerator and Making Greatness Ltd. He is a serial entrepreneur, with experience creating start-ups in a variety of areas, particularly in SaaS and EdTech. He is also a lucky husband and proud dad, and now helps other 'parentpreneurs' like him to achieve their dreams of having successful businesses, making a difference in the world, and spending time with the people they love.

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