Interview with Melanie Kerr, the Bristol Mum behind ‘Pretty Special’

I am always inspired when I meet other mums who have their own business. I sometimes feature local mums on Bishopston Mum as I know readers are, like me, interested to hear what such mums have to say.  

Today’s post is an interview with the Melanie Kerr, the mum behind Here, Melanie talks about Pretty Special, how she juggles it with being a mum and her thoughts on life as a mum in Bristol.

Hi! Tell me a bit about yourself and what you do.

My name is Melanie Kerr and I’m orginally from Cornwall and having travelled a fair bit in my 20s, moved to Bristol, from London 5 years ago with my now husband, and haven’t wanted to leave since. 

What have been your personal experiences of being a mum in Bristol?

I was lucky enough to have 14 months off when I had Finley who is now 2. I had a fabulous maternity leave and have made some lovely friends.

Can you personally recommend any particular activities for children in Bristol?

Where do I start?! We go to all sorts of things across Bristol. A particular favourite is Hawks Gym in Easton which is amazing for the little ones. As it Jolly Tots in St George. We don’t tend to go to tots groups anymore but really love the variety of soft plays in Bristol and regularly go to Portico Play and Kudacan. And of course St Andrew’s park paddling pool in the summer just can’t be beaten!

How do you juggle having a successful business with being a mum?

I’m not sure that I do! Its really hard as I was work part time as well so there isn’t really not a minute to myself. My husband is really supportive and I guess I am driven to make the business work so that I can do it full time.

The key to the entire balancing act at the moment is to make the most of nap times so I’m dreading the day that Finley decides he no longer needs a nap!

Tell me about Pretty Special. specialises in designer baby and children’s wear. My main mission is to provide our customers with an easy shopping experience and great value for money kids clothes. All the brands we stock are ethnically made and organic. This quality translates into clothes that will last not only for one child but a second or third.

I believe the website stands out from the crowd because it’s got soul. I find that larger competitors look and feel corporate because they have no real identity about who the people behind it are. I hope that my passion for quality children’s clothes at sensible prices comes across. Pretty Special is a site that I want people to come to because they know I have their best interests at heart. Buying children’s clothes is a massive expense so making sure parents buy investment pieces at affordable prices makes sense if you have to buy something twice or three times for siblings its financially very costly and don’t forget time consuming.

What inspired you to start Pretty Special?

Pretty Special came into existence whilst on maternity leave. My passion for being thrifty at buying quality baby clothes became an obsession and I realised that the only way to have my life the way I want it, is to have my own business. It soon became apparent that although my normal 9-5 job as a coordinator offered flexible working arrangements it just didn’t suit us as a family in the long-term.

So with a business plan in hand, an appointment was made with the bank and I went from baby brain to business brain in about six weeks. I have returned to my 9-5 job to enable the business to grow without the added pressure of mortgages to find, but my goal is to run the site full time by the end of 2013.

Since we launched I’ve found that local markets like the Tobacco Factory and Ashton Court and pop up shops have been crucial to the business’s success and talking face to face with customers has been really rewarding both in terms of feedback and orders received.

What were the first steps in setting up your business?

Reseach, research and a bit more research! Chatting with friends that run their own businesses was essential in finding people to help me get the project off the ground. As a result I have a fabulous webdesigner, Simon Fewkes at Eckho Media. He has continually taken a vested interest in creating a robust website for Pretty Special and I’m really proud of the work we’ve achieved.

We’ve been in business for a year this month and are up for 2 national awards! One from Mumpreneur and another from Loved By Parents so we must be doing something right!

Melanie has just launched her Summer 2013 baby and children’s wear sale! What’s more she will be offering Bishopston Mum readers FREE delivery so there is no minimum order required; just use the coupon code ‘BISHOP’.

As well as the Pretty Special website, Pretty Special is on Facebook and on Twitter.

Disclosure: This was a paid post.

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