Founded by Carrie Roberts, Mère Soeur is a website and an online retail shop specialising in selling motherhood items such as t-shirts, bags, pins and mugs, amongst others.
Mère Soeur has recently started trading and offers a wide range of mother and children wear and personalised items. Since its launch, the business has taken off dramatically: once a new product is advertised, it is often sold out within 24 hours. As a result, Carrie has been involved in a variety of exciting projects; she is continually blogging and attends regular meetings of like-minded people in London. She has also been involved in a number of photoshoots in order to publicise her website and advertise her products.
Carrie has just registered for PAYE as she has taken on her first employee.
What they did
Business Wales’ adviser Carol Williams first met Carrie in 2015 at a drop-in session at Mold Job Centre. At the time, she was in receipt of maternity pay and wanted to start her online shop meresoeur.com selling children’s and mothers’ clothing and items. However, Carrie had no prior experience of self-employment and turned to Business Wales to enquire about available start-up support and general business advice on how to go about setting and running her own business.
In the last year thanks to support provided by her Business Wales adviser, Carrie has taken Mère Soeur from strength to strength. Her recent achievements – appearing as part of Estèe Lauder’s breast cancer campaign and also featuring in an article in the high-end magazine Riposte, have cemented her success and have opened doors for further expansion and growth. Additionally, Carrie’s latest range appears in the children’s directory ‘Little Flea’.
Having previously relied on help from friends and family, or used subcontractors, Carrie has recently employed her first member of staff.
As Carrie is very passionate about motherhood and is an active blogger, she has also launched an ‘Art of Motherhood’ colouring book for adults, which raised money for charity.
What would they do differently?
Carrie would not do anything differently, she had no prior business knowledge to start so she is grateful for the support provided by Business Wales and for their input.
Their proudest moment in business
Carrie’s proudest moment in business to date was being invited to the Instagram’s #MyStoryUK exhibition. She was one of 24 women from the UK who were invited to take part in the event, which celebrated the diversity of the female experience.
Additionally, in the summer Carrie went to Los Angeles to photoshoot her new collection – this showed the long way she’d come from her first photos, which were shot by her mother in the porch at her home.
Describe the type of support (financial / non-financial) they’ve received from Business Wales / Welsh Government
Business Wales adviser Carol Williams helped Carrie start her own business by providing extensive start-up and general business support. She assisted Mère Soeur with the creation of strategic business, marketing and financial plans, including comprehensive financial forecasts and cash-flow projections. Business Wales also advised Carrie on Equality and Diversity issues such as employment rules and regulations, pay bands, tax and NI.
Carol provided Carrie with book-keeping guidance and helped with her HMRC registration. Business Wales also assisted Carrie with the completion of a funding application for the New Enterprise Allowance Fund, which enabled Mère Soeur to hire their first employee and ensured the early stage working capital for the business.
Carrie Roberts’ top tips for anyone else starting up their own business would be:
- contact Business Wales – the support and guidance are invaluable
- believe in yourself
- network – there are always people out there who can help and advise you