This was written before the Mumpreneur Awards at which I was awarded Inspirational Business Mum 2010!
As a finalist in the Green category of the Mumpreneur Awards I started wondering how I became an accidental Mumpreneur
I didn't ever plan to be a Mumpreneur. Firstly, I didn't ever plan to run my own business and secondly I didn't intend to have children… so how did this happen to me!
Pachacuti really was an accident - it was only meant to be a research trip for my MA. I met two groups of workers who had organised themselves into co-operatives, but both had experienced arson attacks due to the threat which they posed to the intermediaries' monopoly of the supply chain. Outraged by these clear injustices, I decided to return to Ecuador in order to provide a sales outlet for these groups who were unable to trade locally. My intention was to sell the knitwear over the summer before starting my fully-funded PhD in Andean textiles. However, I hadn't envisaged the success of my first collection, nor realised the positive impact it would have on my producers' livelihoods, so at the end of the summer I reluctantly turned down my PhD.
In 1996 I found I was pregnant but carried on working and travelling. To be honest, I'd never thought of having a child and had never even held a baby until I was 9 months pregnant.
Sienna on holiday in France last week
At 7 months pregnant I was sailing off the coast of Belize when we were shipwrecked on a reef near a deserted island. After making it to shore in the middle of the night, on an island known for its poisonous spiders, we were eventually rescued a day later by the Guatemalan Navy. After a scan at a Guatemalan clinic to check the baby was ok and the news I was expecting a boy, I made the long journey back to Colombia to take a flight back to the UK, technically now after the latest travel date for pregnant women.
Half an hour into the flight I felt contractions. I called a stewardess and of course the plane became rather a commotion once everyone realised that someone was potentially going into labour on their flight! Fortunately there was a midwife on the flight who rubbed a tub of Vicks into my stomach and made my walk up and down the corridors for hours which seemed to do the trick and I made it home without further incident.
My daughter was born at a stage when the business was making very little profit and I was having to pay back the debts resulting from a large theft in Ecuador at the inception of the business (but this is another story… armed robber, death threats - it was an eventful time!)
I was back to work immediately, taking her to a festival where I was trading at just 12 days old and slinging a hammock up for her beneath rails of clothing!
A year later I was a single mother, working a 70 hour week and juggling childminders and nursery...Click below on Read More to continue reading