We were honoured to have Jacqueline Gold as part of this years Lovedbyparents judging panel. After a very hard decision she has selected this years Lovedbyparents Fab Woman Of The Year 2013.
“I have chosen Lucy Jewson, the founder of Frugi as the winner of the Fab Women Award as I was so impressed by the dedication and commitment Lucy has shown not only to her business but her ethics. I love how Lucy spotted a business opportunity by noticing a need she had, and how she has adapted and grown this as her business has developed. Lucy should also be applauded for her commitment to using organic materials and not at any stage compromising on her beliefs and ethics, something that many businesses could learn from. To have grown a business to a turnover of £3.5 million as well as having donated £100,000 to good causes is truly remarkable and really does show that any business can, and should have a social impact. I wish Lucy continued success and growth and hope that the whole family have a wonderful trip to London, I’m sure the boys will love it! ”
“Wow! I’m absolutely honoured and genuinely shocked to have been chosen to be Fab woman of the year! It means a huge deal to me and our whole team here at Frugi; who are all just as dedicated as I am at trying to prove that you can be successful in business and do a lot of good at the same time! It’s incredibly exciting! Thank you all so much! ”
Your Full Name: – Lucy Amanda Jewson
Age – 40
Family Members: – Husband, Kurt 2 sons – Tom (9) & Sam (6)
Previous Career: – Pharmaceutical company sales representative
Name and Nature of Your Business: – Frugi – we design and manufacture organic cotton clothes for babies, kids and mums.
Who Inspired You To Start It: – My son, Tom, inspired me to start Frugi. Kurt & I put Tom in washable nappies, forenvironmental reasons, but as he was a big old baby, we struggled to find any clothes that would fit over him and the nappy. I looked on forums and spoke to many mums, and it transpired that loads of cloth – nappy using parents were having the same problem. So, I started Cut4Cloth (Now Frugi) to make clothes that little bit bigger around the bum, so that they would fit over washable nappies better.
How Did You Get Everything Up and Running? – After the initial idea, I then contacted every organic manufacturer in the world to see if we could get clothes made. (Being an Eco sort of mum, I wanted to use the most ethically sound, organic cotton for the clothes as I could). Only one, brilliant, manufacturer got back to me and together (with my scribbled drawings and enthusiastic ideas) we got our first collection together. (These guys are still working with us). Kurt & I re-mortgaged our house, cashed in our savings, quit our jobs and gave ourselves a year. That first year we turned over £60K. This was enough to convine ourselves that this was a vaiable business, and to keep going.
How Does it Fit in With Family Life? – Family life is extreemly precious to me. Weekends take on enormous significance, when I can spend time with the boys. For the first 6 years we took no holiday at all, and we have still to take more than one week at a time. During the early stages of the business we worked from our terraced cottage, and my son was in his cot next to me. When my second boy came along, it was the week of our ‘Big’ move, into a proper office (Half of top of a converted barn, on an organic farm). We moved in on the Monday, I gave birth the following Saturday and was back at work, with a cot next to me, on the Monday following. We have one employee (Part-time) by then and we, quite literally, took turns to hold the baby and answer the phone! My husband, Kurt, is fantastic and he does a lot to help. He does the school runs, and I try and get back home for bed time. This year, if we can make it happen, we are going to try and take December off to travel around Austrailia before the boys are too old and don’t want to come on holiday with us anymore.
Biggest Learning Curve So Far? – Crumbs, everything about setting up and getting Frugi to happen has been a huge learning curve. I had never done anything like it before and I have had to learn about clothing design, manufacturing, financing, currencies, websites, catalogues, wholesaling, retailing, shipping, employment… the list goes on!
Most Positive Experience So Far? – There have been / are soo many positive experiences. At Frugi we are members of 1% for the planet and donate 1% of our turnover to environmental charities. So far we ahve given away over £100K – this is a great feeling. One of the reasons for our exiatance is to prove that you can have a successfiul business and run it in an ethical and socio-ethical way!
Has Your Business Grown in the Last 12 Months? – Yes, amazingly so. This year we are on target to turn over £3.5m. We now employ 30 people and are growing at 40% per annum and have just launched into John Lewis.
Have You Received Any Press Coverage or Recognition? – Yes, I was named as Cornish Entrepreneur of the year a few years back, and was invited to the Women of the year awards (Which was thrilling) We have won some great parenting accolades, and have been amongst the top three bestselling childrenswear brands, to independant retailers throughout 2012 (Childrenswear buyer magazine). Last year we were runners up in the Observer Ethical awards and a few years ago we were voted the top brand in ‘Ethical Consumer’ magazine for childrenswear. (That’s more than enough trumpet blowing)
Where Would You Like to be in Five Years Time? – I’d love to be looking at Frugi, on the high street, proving to all that taking the ethical route is not only the right thing to do, but also profitable and sustainable. I’d also love to have an aga, and the time to bake some cakes!!
What Advice Would You Like to Give to Others Hoping to Combine Motherhood with a Good Business Idea? – I’d advise anyone else hoping to combine Motherhood with a good business to get a great bank manager, an understanding husband, and go for it!! You’ll learn so much about yourself, and what you’re capable of. However, my experience is that I now work double the hours that I used to, and up until very very recently, for less money. I suppose it depends upon what sort of business you want to start, and where it takes you. When I started Frugi, I had thoughts of being my own boss, taking afternoons off, employing people to take the strain and let me go on holidays. However my kids have a roof over their heads, we now have a garden for them to play in, time together as a family is even more precious and we are masters of our own fate.
Why Do You Deserve to be Crowned Fab Woman of the Year? – It would be great to be crowned ‘Fab woman of the year’ becasue, hopefully, it would help to draw attention to what we are trying to achieve as an ethical and organic company 🙂 (It would also make my mum very proud, and she’s lovely)