Interview with a career change mum - Marie-Claire Frederick

This month’s interview is with career change mum Marie-Claire Frederick a handbag designer and a digital content commercial strategist. Marie-Claire is the founder of Nariva boutique

Marie-Claire is a mum to a toddler and has set up her own business that works around him. It was a pleasure speaking to her and finding out more about her and her business. 

1)    What gave you the idea to start up your business?

I used to have a handbag business, but also worked fulltime in TV advertising.  My handbag business was a wholesale and retail business, mainly supplying local boutiques abroad and department stores in the UK and I was very much involved. in the entire business. 

I have always been entrepreneurial, I grew up selling penny sweets to my school friends as well has managing and running my own market stall so I think that setting up a business and working for myself has always been in my DNA. 

During pregnancy I was concerned that I was never going to be able to juggle this, work, life, baby and extended family, how was I going to cope? – do I focus on something else, or do something I love. 

So I honed my idea down ONE product that I could use to make hanging out with my toddler boy more light, free and spontaneous, but looked good enough to go to meetings – go to work etc. so I came up with a handmade leather backpack. (I had nine enjoyable adventure filled months of mat leave) which included hanging out in libraries, museums, travelling, swimming, football, coffee mornings most of which was done with my proto type backpack.

I also wanted to create a community of women – facing the same challenges to come/ hang together and collaborate and not be judged.

2)    What did you do to prepare to start up your business?

Previously I had worked with a lot of oversees production houses and this time round, I wanted to keep everything local, small and manageable.  I investigated leather makers with the UK and even London.  I also started to research among my mother friends and family about nappy changing bags and the anguish of trying to find a bag big enough or small enough to fit everything in.

3)    Which aspects of your business did you need help with? Where did you get that help? 

For me I needed another pair of hands and someone to keep me from going off on tangents.  I do have a tendency to be mix of being the eternal student or otherwise jumping in elbows and feet first.

4) Describe what your business does and who you target it at / your ideal client

I’m launching my boutique and community which is designed to help mothers enjoy the work / life challenges, I offer products, fashion styling tips, inspirational quotes and hacks to help mothers have fun and enjoy their moments.

5) What is the most rewarding thing about having your own business?

At the moment, it’s not about free time - but it’s about creating something new and exciting and having fun in doing that and knowing that in the near future, I’ll be able to spend more time at my son’s nursey just hanging out with his class and have more input into his development 24/7.  It will also mean that I can enjoy more time with my nana who is 86 and suffers from dementia.

6) What has been the biggest challenge?

For me it’s the juggling hat at present and trying to wear the various hats.

7) If you could go back and give yourself some advice what would it be?

 I think it's that old saying done is better than perfect – obviously when you are in the designing phase of anything its really easy to keep going perfecting every detail and I can see that I wasted a lot of time and money doing this in the past.  I’m now trying to a) just do it and b) do one thing at a time.

To find out more about Marie-Claire follow her on instagram - or check out her website

Ruth Kudzi