Founder of The Essential Bag Company, Alexis Goldfinch, often gets asked why she started the business and about being a working mother. In this article, Alexis shares her experience of setting up and running The Essential Bag Company whilst juggling the demands of motherhood.
What inspired you to launch the business?
The idea was born out of my experience of receiving gifts when I had my daughter, Arabella, and the difficulties I faced when trying to buy gifts for friends, family and colleagues going on maternity leave or who had new babies. I struggled to find a gift hamper that brought together a selection of luxury branded goods whose quality standards I respected and that I would like to receive myself.
The idea of using a changing bag as the anchor for the gifts stems from my belief in giving practical gifts. Every new parent needs a changing bag, and ideally more than one for variety, so I thought it was a beautiful yet practical way of presenting the gifts. It also makes the recipient’s gift experience very special. When a new mother receives the beautifully wrapped gift, she opens the wrapping paper to find a gorgeous, stylish changing bag inside. Then, when she opens the bag, she gets another surprise when she finds many more luxury items inside.
What is special about The Essential Bag Company?
The Essential Bag Company introduces an innovative gifting concept. Our gifts are special because:
- All items are presented in a stylish changing bag, a must-have accessory for every new parent.
- We bring together the finest luxury brands. Our bags are filled with high quality items all from luxury brands that you know and trust, for example, Rachel Riley, Petit Bateau, Charbonnel et Walker, Aspinal of London, Crabtree & Evelyn and Burt’s Bees.
- You can create your own bag by choosing the bag and the contents. This allows you to tailor the bag to the recipient and your budget. Bags in our Create Your Own range start at £45.
- The Essential Bag Company is a one stop shop for luxury baby gifts for all the family – new mother, baby, new father and siblings.
- Our bags are an environmentally friendly option. By using a changing bag as the means for presenting the gifts, we ensure there is no waste.
Why the decision to include bags for fathers and siblings as well as mothers?
I believe that the arrival of a new baby in the family is not only an incredible experience for the mother but for all of the family. Sometimes, the new father can feel left out and can be left carrying around a pink flowery changing bag! Our New Father Bags are a perfect gift to make the new father feel included in this special event. The range includes popular men’s baby changing bags from Storksak and Skip Hop filled with luxury gifts for the new father and baby including a copy of “The New Dad’s Survival Guide”, a leather travel photo frame by Aspinal of London, a Super Daddy mug from Big Tomato Company and chocolates from Charbonnel et Walker.
The importance of making siblings feel special when a new baby arrives is well known. Our Big Brother and Big Sister Bag ranges are designed to keep them entertained during this busy period. When my son, Henry, was born, I brought a Big Sister Bag into the hospital with me to give my daughter, Arabella, when she visited. She was absolutely thrilled with it! She played with her Playmobil set on the floor of the hospital room and read her “I’m a Big Sister” book with her grandmother in the hospital too. For days after Henry was born, she refused to take off her “Big Sister” t-shirt – she was very proud of her new role! Mummy blogger, Mummy in the City, recently shared her experience of giving a Big Sister Bag to her daughter when her son was born. Read her review here.
How do you balance work and motherhood?
Being very organised is essential (and thankfully women are usually good at this!). I plan each day carefully and schedule in 3 categories of time: work; time with children; and “me time”. Each ingredient is equally important. Mothers often forget to find time for themselves, be it to read a book in peace when children are in bed or to do an exercise class. From my experience, having an hour each day to myself makes me more productive for the rest of the day.
What I enjoy most about running my own company is having some flexibility and, to a large extent, being in control of my workload. On the flip side, you can never fully switch off. I work most evenings and weekends but, in my eyes, it’s a small price to pay to get to spend quality time with my children.
Top 3 tips for working mothers
- Focus on the task in hand. When you’re playing with your children, try not to get distracted thinking about work or sending emails. I find that you end up doing neither task well and feeling unsatisfied.
- Get your children involved in your business if you can! It is such an important part of your life so try to let them be part of it if you can. You are a good role model for your children. My daughter often asks if she can help with the business. In her eyes, counting stock is better fun than doing a jigsaw!
- Remember that children grow up fast. I’m told this all the time and I’m starting to realise that it is very true as Arabella starts school in September. A career is a marathon not a sprint – pace yourself accordingly and stick at it.