Marvellous Mum Clare Golding started her own business, CLARE LOVES uk made in 2013. Selling well made and practical products, all made in Britain. Clare’s passion for supporting British makers and growers has become accessable to all.
Family members: Husband Richard, Annabel – 9, Poppy the dog
Which part of the Chilterns do you live?
We moved to Jordans from London 14 years ago. I grew up in Gerrards Cross and so we’re fortunate to have grandparents and aunties living nearby.
Sum up your business in a sentence:
Online store selling fantastic British made homeware & gifts.
What did you do before starting up your business?
Until the end of 2011 I worked as a Chartered Surveyor. I worked for over 15 years for a leading commercial property firm in London.
When did you start your business and why?
The planning and preparation for Clare Loves began in January 2013 with the website launching in August 2013.
I love well designed and well made practical everyday things – whisks, pen holders, lamp, cushions, toys, anything and everything! I also believe in the importance of buying British and supporting British makers and growers. That’s why we only sell products that are lovely to look at, lovely to use and lovingly made in the British Isles!
The best part of your day / running your own business?
I love that running my own business puts me in control of my day in a way I never was when commuting into London and working for a large company. The best bit of all is having more time at home with my family.
And the worst?
The part I’ve found must difficult is learning to prioritise. When it’s your own business every aspect is as important as the next – so I’ve had to learn how to share my time between fulfilling orders, selecting new stock, marketing, photography, book keeping, website updates etc. The one thing that takes priority over everything though is customer care.
How do you juggle running a business and family life?
I think juggling family life can be a challenge whether you work or not. For me, the best way to balance family and business is to be super organised and structured with the time I have to work. It’s like being back at school – I pretty much have a timetable I work to, it reads like a weekly to-do list on repeat! Of course it doesn’t always go to plan – but for me being ruthlessly organised with my work means family time is much more relaxed.
What challenges have you faced?
In the early days of Clare Loves before we were trading, I was challenged by one supplier that I’d never find enough British made products to fill the website. They were wrong! I’ve discovered that we make some brilliantly designed and beautifully made products in the UK – sometimes they’re not that easy to find, but hopefully shops like Clare Loves make it easier.
Your biggest success?
Our most successful selling piece is a lamp called Dog Lamp. Our first every photo shoot was of our family dog Poppy and Dog Lamp. The resulting photo was exactly what we wanted (thanks to Lisa Gill Photography in Penn) and it has featured in nearly all our adverts. The result, Dog Lamp is our best seller.
What business tip/advice would you offer new mumpreneurs?
Plan well then start. But do start! You don’t have to know everything or have all the answers when you begin – and accept that you will make mistakes and learn a lot of what you need to know along the way.
A key part of the Clare Loves dream is working with new and fledgling designer makers and craftspeople. As Clare Loves grows, this is one aspect I would like to develop – either by collaborations or sponsorship.
How do you relax?
Walking the dog. There’s nothing better that a stomp through the woods & round the field to clear my head.
What do you love most about where you live?
The people and the amazing sense of community.
What are you listening to at the moment?
My book group book – it’s better than reading it because I can do something else at the same time!
What’s your favourite tipple?
Gin & tonic.
Your simple pleasure?
Our Saturday evening family movie night. Sitting in a row on the sofa, eating pizza & watching a movie.
Dirty Dancing. The ultimate first love, feel good movie.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I just love Elizabeth Bennett’s outspoken, principled character.
Tell us a joke?
What do you get if you pour boiling water down a rabbit hole? Hot cross bunnies!