There is plenty to thank our mums for this Mother’s Day, but as well as helping raise us, the nation’s matriarchs are making an increasingly valuable contribution to the UK economy through their own thriving small businesses.
Looking after a child is like a full time job at times, yet many stay-at-home mothers are finding the time to run a business, forming the growing phenomenon of the mumtrepreneur.
Figures from the office for national statistics show record numbers of women are running their own firms part-time, unlocking previously hidden creative, digital and financial talent.
There are now 806,000 stay at home mums running their own firms, according to the Office for National Statistics, all while dealing with the demands of the school run, nappy changes and mealtimes. These figures are up 3.7 per cent on 2014, showing this is a rising trend that could just get bigger.
More than a cottage industry
Mumtrepreneurs are not just running these enterprises as a hobby to pass the time, they are actually making a valuable economic contribution.
A report by think tank Development Economics at the end of 2015 found mumtrepreneurs added 30 per cent of value to the UK economy between 2011 and 2014, generating £7.2billion of wealth.
The report predicts that by 2025, mumtrepreneurs will generate £9.5billion for the UK and support an extra 13,000 employees.
The most popular sectors identified in the report for mumtrepreneurs were retail, entertainment, management consultancy and care home management.
The eBay effect
The mum economy has been helped by modern technology and new approaches to business that mean you don’t need a high street presence to gain customers.
Women are also now more willing and able to stay involved in the workplace or keep their careers going while juggling family life, even if they can’t be in the office.
Instead, savvy start-ups can use websites such as eBay or Amazon, or social media, to run their empire from the kitchen table.
This keeps the set up costs low and means mums can manage their business remotely whether they are at home or in a mother and baby class.
Mother knows best
Many of the biggest and best-loved brands in the UK were started off at home by mums.
Perhaps one of the most successful mumtrepreneurs is the late Dame Anita Roddick. She began making and selling cosmetics and beauty products in the 1970s from home to earn some extra income for her daughters while her husband was away.
This was the early days of the Body Shop, which opened its first branch in 1976. By 2006 it had almost 2,000 stores and was sold to L’Oréal for £652million.
Other more recent inspirational members of the mum economy include Annabel Karmel, who built up a baby food and nutrition empire from her kitchen while looking after three children.
Parents now rely on her recipes and advice, and she was awarded an MBE in 2006 for services to child nutrition.
Mums are also looking outside the kitchen for business success. One of the biggest parenting advice websites, Mumsnet, was founded by mother-of-four Justine Roberts following a disastrous family holiday in 2000.
What started as a forum for advice has become a community of half a million users, local groups and bloggers that has even hosted webchats with the Prime Minister and other politicians.
In the same year, mum-of-two Natalie Massenet founded fashion website Net-a-Porter from her flat in Chelsea after struggling to locate designs for a photoshoot.
The former journalist sold her majority stake in the magazine style designer fashion website for an estimated £50million in 2010, but is still involved in the business.
Even former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham provides inspiration for the mum economy. She has managed to use her pop success to become a respected fashion designer, all while raising three children.
The gift of a good accountant
Mums should be thanked with flowers and chocolates as well as praise this Mother’s Day.
But you could also give your mumtrepreneur the gift of a good accountant.
Not only are we small business accountants, we also work with our clients to help them grow. Could we help you keep the mum economy going?
Author: Chris Conway. Chris is the Managing Director of London accounting company Accounts and Legal, who specialize supporting the growth of small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs, by providing them with accounting and legal compliance services together with innovative commercial advice.