Mumprenuers in the media – missed opportunities or just not ‘sexy’ enough??

Hello if you follow me on Facebook you will be well aware of my recent postings and conversations about a feature on Daybreak (the new GMTV).  They have featured 5 ‘Mumprenuers’ on their site however all 5 are inventors and it doesn’t, in my opinion reflect the work of ‘mumprenuers’ in the UK. Spurred on by Facebook conversations I sent them an email here is my email, and forgive me but I tried to cram as much about me, my businesses and mumprenuers as I could without it being too long, and their reply.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

charlie moos stock

My name is Joanne Dewberry, I’m 29 years old from rural Dorset, living with my partner and our 2 children Charlie 3 and Megan 2. I started my first business ‘Charlie Moo’s’ with £56.65, when I was 8 months pregnant with my daughter and my son was 15 months old. I’m proud of everything I have achieved in the last two years, including be named Dorset Business Mum of the Year 2010. But I’m nothing special I have just worked hard to provide for my children whilst still being a full time mum. As a ‘mumprenuer’ myself I was saddened to read the featured profiles on ‘Daybreak’ website today. All 5 profiles, and I know a few of them so this complaint is in no way a dig at their hard work and determination, are ‘mumprenuers’ who have invented baby products. Is this really the way that ‘Daybreak’ has decided to portray ‘mumprenuers’?? networking mummiesMy other business, ‘Networking Mummies’, co-owned with Laura Morris provides networking, training, support and advice to mums in business. We have 3 branches in Dorset, Hampshire and Warwick catering to over 500 mums in businesses and I’m struggling to think of ONE mum involved that invented a baby product.

Does this mean that the hard work, determination and money put into the economy by mums running websites, baby & toddler classes, business services, health and beauty, retail owners, photographers … aren’t ‘mumprenuers’??? Self-employment/business is an option that is do-able for many (although not all) mums, to enable them to have work flexibility, avoid huge childcare costs and still be a full time mum. As inspiring as inventor mums are, inventing a baby product would feel out of reach to most – (including myself) they would feel they don’t have the capital, time or skills to do this. For most mums, offering a service on a freelance basis or starting an online shop is much easier, cheaper and less risky to set up, for example. Being a VA (virtual assistant), bookkeeper, dog walker etc. however this possibly isn’t as sexy and media-friendly as being an inventor!?

I’m saddened most that your feature appears to have totally missed the whole point of what mumprenuers are and what businesses they do run. It would have been a much better feature to have showcased mums in 5 different areas of business not just inventors, who all have similar stories, saw a gap or need for a product and invented it. I’m so passionate about mumprenuers/mums in business even meeting my local MP recently along with 4 other members of Networking Mummies ensuring that he was aware of what mums in business/mumprenuers were all about, we’ve moved on a bit from tupperware parties.

What about business mums who have started their business on the back of post-natal depression, who have used starting their own business as a way to break through the depression and give themselves a purpose and focus to strive towards. Or business mums who have laughed in the face of the recession and moved to larger shop premises, opened more baby and toddler classes, taken on staff … do these mums not deserve the recognition?

It is such a shame that you have decided not to feature a variety of mums. I feel that this should be bought to your attention.

I will be posting this email on my business blog and encouraging mums in business/mumprenuers to comment after I receive a reply from yourselves. I will also post your reply on my blog too.

Thank you for taking the time to read my email.

mums in business the surprising truth


Good Morning Joanne,

Thank you for your detailed feedback on our item ‘mum-preneurs’. We appreciate you contacting us and your suggestion about opening this feature up to include a wider variety of businesses has been noted and passed on.

We appreciate you taking the time to contact us.

Best regards

Daybreak and Lorraine

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  1. October 13, 2010 / 10:43 am

    How incredibly dismissive of them. Obviously they do not care for feedback. I agree that Mumpreneurs from different fields would not only be more reflective of reality but also more interesting and better to watch. Inventors – good on you! But the rest of us that work hard too or have a good ‘idea’ that turns into a business are also mumpreneurs.

  2. October 13, 2010 / 11:13 am

    It sounds like an out of office message with auto reply….

    I’m going to put myself in their shoes and think what are the reasons for such a short response. Maybe they get tons of emails coming in and cannot respond in depth. Maybe it was because they haven’t fully understood what a Mumprenuers really is. Maybe they ONLY wanted to focus on inventors in this Dragons Den time we live in today or maybe they simply don’t care!

    Regardless of their reasons though, their response was pretty poor and not well thought through.

    But being all positive (you know me) I would look to turn this to your advantage. You now have a great chance to use this to generate your own publicity of what a Mumprenuer is. Either via Daybreak !!! or other media.  

    Instead of just focusing on ‘Why’ they responded that way…it maybe beneficial to ask, What can I now do?, what opportunities are there now? What else, what else what else?

  3. October 13, 2010 / 11:25 am

    I first have to say well done to the 5 mums featured, this was great for them and inventing products that make life easier as a parent is always welcome.

    However, what you say is right. Mumpreneurs are not just inventors of products, they include those women who build a business to work round their children, work hard outside ‘normal’ office hours to develop something they are passionate about, business mums who put their heart and soul into their family as well as a business, yes these may include people who have invented a product (not necessarily a baby product!) but it certainly does not end there! They should of shown a variety of Mumpreneurs to show what the term really means and what more it can be!
    Your email is fab and says what it needs to – their response is poor, I hope they read these responses and do a further feature on other types of Mumpreneurs!

  4. Jo
    October 13, 2010 / 11:35 am

    My jaw dropped in reading your reply Joanne, There was no effort made what so ever in that reply, there was most importantly no mention of looking at your work or so much as a comment about reading others feedback, I agree with Joanne and i know that i certainly would not have a chance if i believed that you had to ‘invent’ something new to get into business which is the message they have given. I hope none of the mums in business are affected by this or indeed a new mum who because of the way ‘mums in business’ have been described decides that she has to go back to work when she may have provided a great product/service and been happy 

  5. Rachel Jeffries
    October 13, 2010 / 10:48 am

    What a brush of, could the email reply be any shorter, who’s it been passed onto and will there be any follow up? You put accross some very valid points which have not ben addressed!

  6. Zara
    October 13, 2010 / 10:58 am

    Hmmm, did they even bother to read your lovely email – well done you – very poor show from daybreak!

  7. Louise Gibbs
    October 13, 2010 / 10:58 am

    Fantastic email Joanne, well done – you spoke for many of us in a valid and passionate way. I cannot believe at the brush off response. I think for the majority of mums out there watching the programme this week will have just thought ‘that can never be me’ and that is a terrible shame if others have been put off starting their own business. A year ago I would never have thought it was possible and now look at me! Through your support and others this has been the best way for me to come through my depression. I hope Daybreak take notice of your blog and our responses!

  8. Gillian Burke
    October 13, 2010 / 11:08 am

    Very poor response, appears to be a standard email reply. They could have at least indicated that your points would be reviewed and an appropriate follow up response would be issued, in the meantime… blah blah thank you for your email, etc. Disappointing that Daybreak/Lorraine failed to reply with courtesy to a fair and balanced email. Well done Joanne for taking the time and effort as I would have just brushed it off and fumed!

  9. digimumsni
    October 13, 2010 / 11:08 am

    Whilst it is great to see mumpreneurs being given recognition on Daybreak for their achievements and we celebrate them all; we agree with Joanne that mums in business come in a variety of different guises. It would be particularly useful to showcase how mums get into business, obstacles they overcome and quite often the pressures they are under in trying to go it alone alongside balancing home and business. Like Joanne we support mum businesses in Northern Ireland and they range from online shops to childminders to property developers. Every mumpreneur’s business/idea/invention is a cause for recognition and celebration and let’s help inspire/support other mums to take the step that they’ve been thinking about but not yet had the opportunity to take forward.

  10. Ailsa
    October 13, 2010 / 5:31 pm

    I agree with you Joanne. I think that the idea/impression DAYBREAK portrayed to mothers who were perhaps thinking of starting up their own business was that they had to invent something baby related for this to be deemed successful or even achievable. It is as though all that mothers are capable to focus on is their children and products related to them.
    There are a lot of successful mothers out there multitasking in completely non parental inspired or involved businesses providing a great service and doing a great job.
    I am not self employed, I work for a large company on a part time basis, this works well with me with one child, with paid holiday, sick pay and the security of regular money coming in every month. In the society we live in today, we should be promoting EVERYONE to work to provide for their own families, including mothers, whether it is for themselves, or employed by someone else. My impression is that by narrowing down the Mums in Business to inventors only, portrays the image that you have to be able to invent an incredible product and be busy savvy enough to set up and run your own business – If DAYBREAK had provided a wider aspect of women and their businesses it would broaden the horizons of the large amount of the population who are using their kids as an excuse and a reason why they can not be in employment or self employment.
    I feel that DAYBREAK missed an opportunity here to send out an important message, considering the recent press coverage with the reduction in Child Benefits and how they are about to scrutinise Job Seekers and Income Support.
    As for their reply?? Well, what can i say apart from what a shirk off! I hope this thread can obtain enough comments to make them take note.

  11. Heather Martyn
    October 13, 2010 / 8:27 pm

    Well done Joanne for speaking out on behalf of all mumpreneurs… Whilst the reply received is not exactly uplifting, look what you have managed to do – HIghlight the mistake that Daybreak have so clearly made in writing you off and in turn other mumpreneurs… and gather responses from a wide range of businesses. There are other T.V/ radio stations/programme makers who I am sure would love to feature more of this type of thing. Afterall… ‘He who shouts loudest and all that’. I am right with you Joanne and everything you stand for.

  12. zoe
    October 13, 2010 / 9:01 pm

    That is shocking – they took no time whatsoever to think about their reply.

  13. October 14, 2010 / 11:06 am

    Hi Joanne,
    I loved your email and can’t believe their reply. I’ve actually been watching bits of Daybreak in the morning and caught some of the mentioned acticle. I to was expecting a range of different mums in business not just inventors.
    As you may know I’m old school friends with Laura Morris and I was so happy when she returned to Warwick and set up networking mummies in Warwickshire. It provided me with a chance to meet some incredible people and through this set up my own business- something I would have never thought possible with two children aged 1 and 2 years old. Doing this has given me back my confidence that, as you say many women loose after becoming a mum. It’s also allowed me to work from home, around my children and have a successful career.
    Thankyou Joanne for bringing this important subject into the spotlight in a way it deserves!
    I’ll be adding this as a discussion on my facebook page

  14. October 14, 2010 / 1:50 pm

    Well done for highlighting this issue to ITV! While the response is disappointing, I think it’s actually the best initial response that can be expected from an email to a large organisation. I used to be a customer services trainer for big service organisations and this is just the way big companies work. As ITV probably have a huge number of emails/call from customers every day, they’ll have a team of people who field these and say an initial ‘thank you’. Depending on the importance that ITV attach to it (I would expect them to have a set of criteria to measure this by), it could then be moved up the tree to someone with the authority to do something about it. I would have been really surprised if within a day of sending your email to an org as big as ITV if you got a message saying “Yes, you’re right, really sorry about that, do you want to come in and talk about it?” as your email will be just one of a huge number they got that day. Irritating, but I think with organisations as big as ITV you need to make a really big splash if you’re going to get noticed.

    I agree with Darren, you could use this as starting point to take this issue further – either by phoning ITV after a week to ask what happened after they passed the message on or as a story to approach other media with.

  15. Heather Smith
    October 14, 2010 / 5:05 pm

    Good for you Joanne – send a copy to The Mail – they love things like that. Not a surprising response though – for Daybreak read Lightweight journalism!

  16. Kirsty Bowerbank-steel
    October 14, 2010 / 9:47 pm

    Well done Joanne. Yet again you are supporting and backing all us ‘Mumpreneurs’. Whilst I think we all agree that inventing a product is pretty amazing, it’s not the only thing that’s amazing. Whilst we face these difficult financial times, isn’t it important that we see the bigger picture? Shouldn’t we be trying to inspire other mums that in can be done? Empowering the nation by showcasing variety of mums who fought tooth and nail to get there business of the ground and stay off. Everyday average mums who despite not having the talent to invent, manage to set up fantastic business’s. Those mums who majority of may not be after world domination but rather than setting a example to there kids about hard work and determination. Shouldn’t a Mumprenueur be also just be a mum that wants to show the next generation that hard work and determination is something that will pay off?Everyone is business should be proud because it’s not easy. A business is much more than an invention. It’s the person behind it. A mumpreneur is someone who will stay up all night because they child is ill and yet still somehow manage to run a business. A mumpreneur will remember when it’s all going wrong that they are doing this to give there kids a better future. A Mumpreneur will follow there dreams in order to show they kids it can be done. A mumpreneur is amazing , whether an inventor or not. I hope all mums in business shout about what they are doing! Whether they are running a small business trying to just set an example to there kids about working, or running a company on a massive scale striving to make a different. They are all important. Mumpreneurs of all kinds are fantastic and it’s about time we all get the recognition!

  17. Jade
    January 8, 2011 / 11:33 pm

    Hello Joanne
    I thought this was great to read and good on you for speaking up for all the hard working mumpreneurs last year. Did they ever respond in detail to you?


    • January 9, 2011 / 9:44 am

      No never got a proper reply from them at all.
      Thank you for your comment your blog is great!
      Good luck on your mumpreneur journey!! Keep me posted!