About me...Kyra, Co-Founder of Oh Mumma

About me...Kyra, Co-Founder of Oh Mumma - Oh Mumma

About me....


I'm Kyra, co-founder of Oh Mumma and Shannon and I thought it'd be good to share a bit about ourselves so here goes.  I grew up in Bexley, South-East London and still live here today.  I love it.  It's green and leafy - technically we are in Kent, but only a few miles or short commute into central London so the best of both worlds.  My childhood is (luckily) very textbook, a real 2.4 children story.  My sister is two- and a-bit years younger than me and although we fought like cat and dog when we were younger (sorry mum) we are best friends now.  Our mum and dad taught us from a very young age that anything is possible if you work hard for it and not to expect anything to come to us on a plate or to get given handouts.  They both worked full time to make ends meet but I never remember them not being at something - first day at school, sports day, parents evening, graduation etc.  Back in the 80's I remember a lot of mums didn't work or worked part time and mum later told us that she encountered quite a bit of criticism for going back to work with small children, bloody cheek!  Anyway, family holidays were caravans at the coast or trips to Cornwall with the odd overseas venture and our best holiday ever - Disneyland in Florida when I remember having Dr Pepper and jelly for breakfast as all normal rules had gone out of the window.  I literally can't think of anything worse now...




My first job was in the local Co-op for £2.14 an hour, yep, you read that right!  It was diabolical even back then but gave me enough to go out with my friends at the weekend.  Some of my best friends are those I met at school plus we've gained a few more on the way who make up our squad.  They and my family are everything to me, we've been through it all, births, deaths, marriages, divorces, heartache, illness, holidays, laughter and everything else in between. 


Life before becoming a mum...


I knew at school that I wanted to work in Marketing (apart from a brief spell of wanting to be a children's TV presenter, don't ask) so when I graduated from the London College of Fashion, I got a job at Arcadia, working in instore events initially.  I loved it - the buzz of anything live and the unknown kept me on my toes and confirmed what I already knew, that I couldn't have a traditional 9-5 job where every day was the same.  I get bored too easily, I always have...  I was there almost a decade, definitely during some of the brand's glory days and worked my way up but never knew where I would go from there.  I spotted a job in beauty, an area that I'd never really considered but the more I found out about it, the more I knew it was for me.  It was around this time that I met Shannon, but more on that later.  Again, the role of building brand awareness and making sure that you create memories for customers and give them the best customer experience is so rewarding.  It was during this time that I met Dan. 





I'd had one serious relationship when I was quite young and was then pretty much single (give or take a few scallywags) for 10 years....  Sorry, I drifted off then remembering girls’ holidays and messy nights out and am now very thankful that social media wasn't around then!   Anyway, Dan.  I met Dan in Ibiza, he was working, and I was there for a friend's wedding.  We got chatting and realised that we didn't live that far away - he lived in East London, literally about 8 miles away so we met up when we returned.  We soon worked out that although we had had quite different upbringings and childhoods that we had a lot in common.  We agreed on the fundamental things in life - always a good start, work and careers were important to both of us and a huge part of our lives, that good manners cost nothing, that we wanted a family and to get married.  So we did.  We got married on New Year's Eve 2015. 



Dan works in live music and is away a lot, like, really a lot, so NYE was a day neither of us would forget and one that he wasn't working for once.  We'd been 'trying' for a baby for a while but hadn't put pressure on ourselves or worried about it.  It was only almost two years later that we started the ball rolling to see if anything was wrong.  It was, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome which explained it all.  We decided to go for IVF and were SO lucky when it worked first time and our little man, Brae was born 9 months later in January 2019.  I say we were lucky because we were compared to many but there were still over 200 appointments all in, a tonne of drugs, not all of which worked for me and a massive emotional rollercoaster of a journey.  Read more in our blog 'IVF, let's talk about it'.



Since becoming a mum...


The majority of my friends had children or at least one by the time Brae was born and we have a clan of gorgeous nieces so we knew what to expect to some extent, but they say nothing can prepare you for being a parent yourself and that's so true.  He's a good boy, pretty chilled and always happy (apart from teething days...why do they seem so much longer than any other day?) but life is definitely different to before.  One of the things that surprised me the most was the 'stuff'.  Little people need so much 'stuff' don't they?  Leaving the house needs more thought than before for sure and the ability to plan for every possible scenario is now mandatory.  I never knew how long I would take off for mat leave and after waiting so long to become a mum I knew I wanted to spend as much time with Brae as possible but on the other hand I'd never not worked and was scared that my brain cells would slowly die.  My mum was really sick during Brae's first year, so my mat leave consisted of hospital visits most days with my new little buddy.  Seeing him with mum was, and still is amazing. 



Dan worked a way a lot which was tough on us and him but then when he was home, we'd all be together 24/7 which was the best.  We spent a month in Ibiza in the summer where Brae had many of his firsts - he first sat up, rolled over, slept through the night and I can't wait to go back there again with him although this time I think they'll be less sunbathing and more chasing him around.  




I was never worried about returning to work as I'd always enjoyed it and knew Brae was in safe hands, but nothing was better than getting back to his smile, a quick bath and story before bedtime.  


Oh Mumma...


Shannon and I met years ago and stayed in touch mainly through work.  I was already for a boozy night out with Shannon when she announced that she was pregnant...not such a boozy night then after all.  Having both worked for huge companies and brands our whole lives we started to talk about the prospect of doing something together, we didn't know exactly what, but we knew we would work well together and were both ambitious.  Fast forward to 3 babies later between us and trying to work full time in demanding roles, we knew we had to take the plunge.  We'd talked about how becoming a new mum is so life changing and how different everyone's experience is but mainly about support for mums and new mums and that's how Oh Mumma was born.  We knew our main goal was to support mums and the Oh Mumma box was the way to do that. Firstly, it was a gift for the mum (shock!) when she'd just given birth, and not something for the baby as most gifts traditionally are.  Then we wanted to ensure that we were supporting mums in other ways too so worked hard to find fellow mums in business that we could work with whether they were mums who'd created products we'd put in the box, charity partners who support mums or mum freelancers to fill in the skill gaps within the business we had.  We learnt a lot really fast, largely because we had to.  We were used to working in an environment with big teams and experts in their fields but for the first time we had to work out a lot of new functions ourselves.  Our combined careers cover most elements of creating a brand and running a business, but we know our strengths and our limitations equally.  We surrounded ourselves with people who we could learn from and worked out where we needed specialist support - designers, digi peeps and numbers nerds too to name but a few.  




It's fun, it's scary, it's exciting and it's personal.  When we see a sale come in, when we get emails from customers or a new review, we get SO hyped.  We get frustrated that we can't spend as much time together as we would like (we live an hour and a half from each other which is not ideal, boo) to plan and strategize what's next and we get bogged down with the operational side of the business but we know we are doing our best.  I love that it's a different way of thinking and working to what we are both used to as it tests us.  We both have good days and bad days but knowing you have someone to bounce ideas off and work through things together makes it all work out...somehow.  We remind each other that we are still pretty new to this and are both navigating this together whilst being mums to small people too.  


What's next...


What's next is something we ask ourselves over and over.  In a dream world we'd be able to plan a lot further ahead, I think.  We have so many great ideas of what else Oh Mumma can become, we just need the time to plan them properly and execute them how we would want to.  We had the idea of the Father's Day box quite last minute and managed to create a box that sold out and was featured on national TV, so we know anything's possible when we put our minds to it.  We'd love to expand the range of boxes, explore doing a podcast, find more ways to support other mums, be able to have a team to work with and lots more so watch this space.  What would you like to see from Oh Mumma?


Kyra xx


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