Jo Love is founder of gorgeous online boutique, Lobella Loves. She’s a massive supporter of the sisterhood, shouts loudly about mental health issues and has fearlessly launched various campaigns to bring about change. She’s one of the lovely ones – an all around inspirational goddess – so naturally, I wanted to chat!Tell us about YOU? What’s brought you to this moment in time?
I am an ex-city lawyer, mama to little two-year-old Bella, wife to Chris and an out and proud Instagram addict! I’m also the founder of Lobella Loves, an online boutique marketplace that sells beautiful treasures for little ones.
What inspired you to dream up Lobella Loves?
As a Mum myself, I wanted my daughter to grow up surrounded by stylish and beautiful treasures that fuelled her imagination and sparked her intrigue. I knew these products existed, but I spent many frustrating (often sleep deprived!) hours trawling the Internet searching for inspiring and unique products. I’d often discover things that I wanted to go back and buy – but then could never re-find them. I saw a need for a marketplace bringing all these businesses together, specialising in treasures for little ones. That’s when the idea for Lobella Loves was born.We launched in 2017 after a good year or so of preparation and the response has been incredible. Now I’m adding new vendors to the site every week. It’s been a real rollercoaster and I’m particularly proud that I’ve been able to create a community of business owners while raising awareness of mum-related mental health issues. For me, it was important that my business resonated with issues that I care about – which is why a percentage of every Lobella Loves sale is donated to charities that help families dealing with perinatal mental health issues.
LOVE your charity ethos and the website is just STUNNING! Combining style with the charity side was obviously important to you …
Most online marketplaces can be a bit overwhelming or feel a little like a jumble sale. So it’s been my mission to make Lobella Loves a relaxing and gorgeous place to shop. I wanted it to feel much more like a boutique, with a beautiful aesthetic and carefully curated products. The idea is to help mums to save rather than waste time trawling endless listings.Our charity element is incredibly important to me as a sufferer of postnatal depression. As well as regular donations, I’ve launched different mental-health related campaigns with Lobella Loves, like our ticketed Tea For PND events where mums can meet up for tea, cake and discuss mental health. Our Notes Of Hope campaign is an on-going initiative where a mum who is suffering from PND is given a note written by a mum who has suffered from PND. It opens the conversation and builds support.
When creating the website, I had a really strong urge to help others and it was a great tonic for me and really helped me to recover. Giving back, helping to fight the stigma around mental health and supporting other mums has become part of the DNA of the company.PND is such a massive topic and the more talk there is about it, the better. Talking all things Mama – how did you find having a baby?
If I’m brutally honest, I found becoming a mum really tough. For me it was hugely challenging and overwhelming. No one – and I mean no one – can explain how sleep deprived you are going to be and how it affects you. I’d wake up in the morning wondering what time I’d be able to climb back in to bed that night. Also as mothers we put up a good front and it looks like all other mums are coping and you’re the one screaming on the inside but I bet if you asked those other mothers – they’d admit they are also screaming on the inside too.
It also took me a good long time to find myself again, for the longest time I didn’t feel like a person anymore – I felt I just functioned as a provider for my baby and that was it. I craved time to myself but then I’d feel guilty if I ever took any. I couldn’t win!I’m SO with you! I felt as if other women had cheated me! Like they hadn’t warned me how tired / overwhelmed and totally inadequate I’d feel. I remember trying to climb into our wall in the middle of the night, thinking the bathroom door was there! I was SO tired. If you could go back and reassure the new-mum-you – what would you like her to know about the parenting journey?
Oh my gosh, there is so, so much I would say. Firstly, it would be to just to relax, everything is a phase and realise everything will pass. But mainly I want to tell her she should see how strong I am now, and I’m not talking about my muscles. I’m talking about the strength of my heart. It’s true you don’t get as much sleep now as you used to, and you will lose yourself for a while, but somehow you will get through this and will come out of this stronger than ever. You will become a modern day superwomen. You will be able to accomplish more in a day than you did in a week. You are a fantastic mum – keep going!Love that! Best piece of parenting advice you were ever given or would love to pass on?
I tell this to every friend who is expecting, but the big secret is that no one really has a clue what they are doing. Anyone you might look at and think they’ve got it down; you’ve without a shadow of doubt just witnessed them having a good moment/day. If anyone ever tells you they have it sorted (which no parent would ever right?) then nod, smile and walk away, they are LYING!
Haha! I remember one of those at my NCT class! (#AWKS!) OK – What’s your secret to the elusive work/ life balance as a parent? How do you juggle it all?
This is something I struggle with every damn day. One thing I’m trying to work on is to be kinder to myself about it. My advice to other mums (which I need to try and do myself) would be is you can only do what you can do. I’m trying to remember that it doesn’t matter if the house is a mess and we are all having fish fingers for supper (again!). That’s just life. It happens to us all. I need to remember to be kinder to myself and not beat myself up about it.
Having my own business adds another layer of pressure and it does feel like I can never give enough of myself at times, but there are only so many minutes in the day. The most important things never change. At the end of the day I ask myself if everyone is here and healthy? Everything else can be a work in progress.Is it true you just went on holiday, ahead of your launch (LOVE that you did btw!) and quite how awesome was it??
Yes you’re right, my hubby decided I was working too hard so we bundled off to Crete and got back one week before I launched the business. Honestly I still can’t work out whether it was a genius idea, or total madness. It certainly was a good motivator to try and get as much done in advance as possible. But life and launches don’t always work out quite like that do they, so there were more than a few laptop-by-the-pool moments and frantically trying to hunt down the best wifi spots in the resort!
It was a brilliant way to close that chapter of my life and I have some really lovely memories of that trip. Now Lobella Loves is actively growing life is non-stop busy… I feel like it could be time for another holiday actually!I think I also love your husband a little bit for that! What a great thing to do! OK – What or who inspires you?
There are so many amazing businesswomen I admire and take real inspiration from. I’m really inspired by some awesome mum Instagram accounts who manage to inject some much needed humour into parenting, including Mother Pukka, Susie Verrill and the Unmumsy Mum.
Agreed! I’m gutted there was no social media when I became a mum. I found it so lonely. OK – looking to the future – What would you most like to achieve that you haven’t already?
An impossible goal for my personality type, but a little bit more of the elusive work-life balance! I come from a corporate law background which has certainly equipped me well for the hard graft of entrepreneurship, however one thing I’ve realised, particularly after becoming a mother, is that there is a lot more to life than work. I’m also learning that it’s ok to slow down and take time out for self care. Lobella Loves and family life take up almost everything but I try to carve out a little me-time in amongst the chaos.
I’m with you! A resolution of mine for 2018 is to say “No” more. OK – SO lovely chatting and before we go on for the whole of 2018 (!) FINAL one – Describe the “you” 5 years from now?
Wow, that’s a big question. I hope the 5 years from now version of Jo is a happy, healthy one with a school aged kid (scary stuff!) who is also happy and healthy.
I’d like to think that Lobella Loves will have entered a new and exciting phase of development and is becoming a destination site for mums. I would also like to think that as a business it is continuing the conversation about mental health.
You never know, in 5 years’ time maybe I’ll have finally finished watching the Man in The High Castle, for some reason I got stuck half way through Season 2!