Hey everyone, I’m finally back. 3 weeks of sick kids, sleep deprivation and no time for anything has finally ended and I have a day off to get some writing done. Procrastination has stolen my morning but my determination to bring you this months Mum Life Success Story has finally won out and here I am typing, typing, typing with a thousand thoughts running through my head about what I need to get done for Christmas and my sons second birthday on the weekend.
Isn’t that just a typical Mum Life Story though? I mean, there’s always so many things to do and to organise, it’s a never ending juggling act of priorities and responsibilities that go through seasonal ups and downs where we sometimes have it all together and perfectly balanced and other times we have to put some priorities on pause while we attend to the most important responsibilities in our lives.
What’s important is that we don’t let those momentary deviations reroute us, but we get back on the horse so to speak and get back to juggling and balancing our butts off! Perseverance is the key if we want to succeed in those goals we have, to make our dreams a reality. Perseverance and hard work, nothing can beat it!
One lady who’s perseverance and hard work has seen her, in her own words, evolve from a table top scarf seller to an influential ethical fashion brand, is Dawn Hurd, founder of Hurd & Co. Dawn is basically a one-woman fashion store. The designer, the maker, the marketing department, admin department, finance department, etc, etc and her hand-made products are winning awards and getting her noticed in the world of ethical business.
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Dawn Hurd lives in Somerset, England with her husband, affectionately known as Mr. H, (whom she started dating when she was 17) and their 3 children, Joshua 16, Jake 11 and Olivia 10. She is 46, a wife, a mum, a part time admin assistant for her husbands construction business and a mumtrepreneur.
Dawn didn’t always know what her business would be one day but she always had an entrepreneurial spirit. She says “I grew up in a small village in Somerset surrounded by family and open fields. I scrumped apples, played in hay barns, scuffed my knees and rode horses. I started my first business when I was 13 making and selling jewellery to holiday makers from the local pub.”
After leaving school, she couldn’t settle “I worked in a yoghurt factory, I picked peas, I drove a 7 ½ tonne lorry for parcel force, I worked as a cashier, a cleaner and a barmaid before settling as a lifeguard, then Gym Manager and eventually started a successful Fitness & Lifestyle Consultancy.”
Dawn loved the fitness side of her business and business was booming with 3 local council contracts as a GP Referral Coordinator. “I worked as a link between the GP’s, referring patients with medical conditions like asthma, angina, arthritis, diabetes, etc. I worked to educate them and increase their confidence so they could get into mainstream gyms. I did a bit of cardiac rehabilitation work also, which I loved.”
A Change of Trajectory
Things were going really well, but sometimes life can throw us a curveball and we are forced to change our trajectory in a completely different direction. “Due to 8 miscarriages, I was advised to stop exercising as my doctor felt I was over doing it. We have since discovered, due to a bone fracture, that I have Coeliac Disease causing malnutrition which caused the miscarriages as well as Osteoporosis.”
So the fitness side of things had to be scaled right down, but just three months later she was pregnant again, this time with her son who is now sixteen years old. Dawn turned her attention toward her family and became a stay-at-home mum, but the entrepreneur in her could not be silenced and she ended up running a craft business called Ribbons and Rosebuds.
But it wasn’t until 2016 and three beautiful children later, that the opportunity would present itself for her now successful, ethically sustainable business. “In early 2016 a friend popped in for lunch. She spotted a scarf I had made and asked me to make fifteen scarves for an upcoming fashion show she was assisting with. They sold out. This was the beginning of Hurd & Co. I managed to convince my husband this was a good idea, he gave me £400 which I have since paid him back…….with interest.”
As most mums know, juggling a family, work and a life is no easy task and finding the dreaded ‘B’ word can sometimes be an exercise in futility. I always ask my interviewee’s how they find balance and the answers are always different. For Dawn, balance takes the form of ‘self care’. “I ‘attempt’ to dress in workout gear every morning for the school run so that when I return I have no distractions from getting onto my mountain bike and cycling every morning straight from school……However this does take second, third, fourth place more than it should. On days where I need head space I head to the nearest woodland. I cannot describe how at peace I feel when I’m surrounded by trees and nature, it’s a good place for me to be. I also feel a huge amount of pressure to inspire my children, especially my daughter, I want them to see that hard work really pays off. They are the Co. in Hurd & Co and they help me whenever they can.”
Three years later, Dawn has a whole range of products and her business is championing conscious fashion. On her website, you’ll see that Hurd & Co are committed to providing a sustainable, ethical business model in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. So not only is her business becoming more successful, but it is playing a huge role in reducing the environmental footprint of the production industry.
This success is now being recognised by the industry.
“In early September this year I headed up to the NEC in Birmingham to the Spring Fair to receive an award for Fashion Accessory of the Year ‘Made in Britain’ category, from the BTAA (British Travel goods Handbags & Accessories Association). It is the greatest highlight for the business so far. I still catch myself smiling in disbelief that I actually won, I am thrilled to bits.”
I asked Dawn what the biggest obstacle was in moving forward in the business and how she overcomes it and she said “My biggest obstacle is lack of funds, however, this has always been my largest hurdle and up to now through determination, creativity, collaboration and hard work I have managed, on a shoestring, to grow the business. I shall continue with the belief that if I work hard enough for it I will achieve it and although it may take me a little longer to get to the point where I have a large enough budget to invest in my business I am under no illusion that there will ever be enough money in the budget because there will always be opportunities requiring cash investment. Sales equal income, so for now I need to get my head down and keep knitting.
I believe Dawn is an awesome example of how perseverance and determination can turn opportunities into successes. Dawn didn’t get where she is because of a university degree, or lot’s of cash or a huge following on social media. She is where she is because she believed it could happen and she took the opportunity when it came and worked hard to make it happen.
Dawns business is already involved in some great causes, she is an official supporter for the Campaign for Wool, she supports the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and 10% of her customers purchases are directly donated to the mental health charity MIND. When I asked her where she saw herself and the business in 5 years, she said that in 5 years she will:
- Have set up community Sit & Knit sessions for elderly people living in rural communities who are suffering with loneliness, isolation or depression issues. Welcoming them to gather together to drink tea, eat cake, knit and natter in a safe environment where they can share any worries, concerns laughs and tears all funded by Hurd & Co.
- Have donated a minimum of £1000 to charities dealing with loneliness, isolation and depression.
- I will have a team, a group of women employees knitting my collections allowing me the time to develop the business.
- I will be mentoring other women hoping to start their journey to running their own successful business.
I can’t wait to interview her again in 5 years and see if she has indeed reached all these goals but I am sure that she will have not only reached them but far exceeded them.
Dawn‘s advice for anyone looking at delving into the world of mumtrepreneurship (should definitely be a word) is “Download the Youtube app. Being a mumtrepreneur can be an extremely lonely place where ‘Imposter Syndrome’ creeps into my head daily. I am constantly listening to motivational speakers, podcasts, ‘how to’ tutorials etc.
My time, like yours, is so very precious, so if whilst I’m making beds or hoovering I can have my earphones on with Tony Robbins motivating me to believe in my abilities, to work for my goals or Jasmine Star explaining how to nail social media or an SEO ‘how to’ tutorial to educate myself to take the business further, I come away feeling I have been super productive with my time and I feel inspired to give the business my all for another day. I have had some huge failures which have eventually resulted in lots of lessons of what not to do, so that eventually I can learn from my mistakes and start again. Having the school of You Tube behind me assists me in learning for free.”
When it comes down to it, no one’s story is exactly the same. We all have obstacles to overcome, failures to learn from, fear to fight and losses to recoup, but if we stay the course, learn from our experiences and never give up, we can accomplish anything.
“Failure doesn’t bother me, fear and regret do.” ~ Dawn Hurd
Thank you for reading this blog, if you’d like to have your story featured just like Dawn’s, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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