Becoming a mum is one of the best things in the world. Being a mum is also one of the most difficult jobs in the world.
You're discharged from hospital hours after birth then expected to keep this tiny little baby alive. Your thoughts and efforts are all concentrated on baby. Your mind goes into overdrive after countless sleepless nights - constantly wondering if you're doing the right thing That nice relaxing bath is suddenly a distant memory - You've boiled the kettle 5 times before you realise you've still not had that coffee and it's now the afternoon. Before long you're starting to feel like you've lost your identity. You neglect yourself, your appearance, your own health - all you've been thinking about is keeping this tiny little baby alive.
Your maternity leave may not be what you imagined it to be. Becoming a mum can be very lonely - you may not have any other mum friends. How do you make mum friends, how do you look after yourself and your own mental health, how do you do all the things you used to do without childcare, how do you have a hot cup of coffee in peace if you have a baby that doesn't give you a break?
Then the Mama Sanctuary was born....FREE CHILDCARE whilst mum has some much needed 'Me time'
The Mama Sanctuary, Manchester opened in Nov 2019 by mum of 6 Rachael Kirkwood. After suffering postnatal depression after having 3 babies in the space of 9 months, Rachael wanted to create a beautiful relaxing space where mum could enjoy a 'HOT coffee' and access a range of services that would improve her mental health without that dreaded 'MUM GUILT'. She could finally relax in peace knowing her children or little ones were looked after by qualified childcare staff, she could make some new mum friends, access much needed mental health support in a neutral environment, attend mum and baby classes and more. This is what I needed as a new mum. This is something the UK is missing - a gap in the market which is in demand from mums everywhere. The Manchester Evening News wrote an article which was shared over 6k times, mums everywhere want one near them. The response has blown us away.
We put 120k into creating my dream - a dream for mums and mums to be. In our first 3 months we turned over nearly 70k. This is unheard of for most small businesses, especially the beauty industry where January is notoriously quiet. We blew it all out of the water and had another record month. March was set to be our busiest month yet - mothers day was just around the corner. Our books were almost full - we even offered new jobs to get more hair and beauty therapists in to fulfil the demand. Then...the Coronavirus hit. Nearly 2 weeks in we only had a few cancellations - we were expecting a lot more. Again.... proving that mums need this! Then Boris Johnson announces PREGNANT ladies are to avoid unnecessary contact for 12 weeks. I'm all for protecting the vulnerable and our mums to be and their children...but our business is now going to be seriously affected by these decisions. In 1 day we've had 17 cancellations for the coming week - it's only going to get worse with the latest headlines. The Government are making lots of promises, but not doing much when asked for help.
I have 6 children (4 of them are 3 and under and all in nursery - my husband and myself both have our own businesses so we cannot claim any child benefit, no help towards nursery fees, no tax credits, universal credit or anything. My only hope of paying my mortgage, bills, nursery, staff, shop rent, bills, business rates, VAT is my shop making enough money this month. We should hopefully make the wage bill - I'm not sure where the rest will come from if we continue to receive so many cancellations.
Just last month we had a meeting with the business growth hub who classed us as a high growth business based on our first 3 month turnover - they are set to come in and help us with trademarking, franchising etc. I can't help but feel like my world is about to crash in around me with all this uncertainty. I know my business could be franchised all over the world - there's so much potential, we have a strong brand, amazing reviews, ladies travelling 2 hours to visit - we just need a little help to get through this period of uncertainty. We want to keep as many staff as possible in work - but we may be forced to close if the government suggest so.
My business cannot and will not fail after just 3 months due to the devastating news. I know all small businesses are in the same situation. Please please support not just us, but your other local businesses too.
A few of our clients suggested we set up a crowdfunding page. I initially thought it would be really cheeky to do that, then I thought if everyone that can afford £5 could donate £1 to 5 different local businesses we would all be helping each other. I will donate some money to other local businesses if everyone sets up a page - they don't have to return the favour to me. I just know how difficult it is right now and how difficult it's going to get in the next month or so. Our high streets are already suffering. Let's not lose all those small independent businesses that are struggling to stay above water.
If all small businesses set up a crowdfunding page everyone can help each other - you can share it with your clients. Don't be too proud - I know I am, but these next couple of months are going to be about survival - survival of not just our loved ones, but our favourite businesses too. Every penny matters when you work for yourself.
If you'd prefer to purchase a gift voucher for use in a couple of months when things have settled down (hopefully) then our vouchers are valid for 12 months - it will all help us through this difficult period. I'm a fighter - we will not fail!!
Thanks for your continued support, especially the ladies that had to cancel appointments today but bought vouchers for future visits when things settle down. That means a lot xx
We initially wanted to create a crowdfunder so we could provide more free support to mums and mums to be, provide a midwife and counsellor on certain days so ladies can drop in for support if they need it. Going to the doctors to tell them you're struggling isn't an option for some - lots of ladies will not go. Tickets sold out on our mental health morning a few weeks ago - we had a wait list of over 40 ladies. It just shows how many are struggling and would prefer to come to us. With your extra help we can provide more support sessions, mental health mornings, more free childcare, mum meet ups and more. We are hoping to take the mama sanctuary to lots of other cities with the help of Investors. If anyone is interested please email [email protected]
**Please share this with any media outlets you know of - the more people that share it the more business we can get to set up crowdfunding pages so we can all help each other**