Isabella and Us.
Emma Cottam, 27 is the founder of Isabella and Us, designing and producing products that promote positive wellbeing in parents. She lives in Freckleton with husband Chris, daughter Isabella and their two cats, Pippa and Luna. Her favourite Disney character is Pumba from Lion King and she has seven tattoos, including a thigh piece.
What do you do?
Isabella and Us. creates products that promote positive wellbeing in parents, allowing parents to celebrate their small wins and be reminded of the amazing job they are doing.
Why do you do what you do?
I set up Isabella and Us. when Isabella was 4 weeks old as I struggled with the transition into Motherhood and I knew that other mums and parents must be feeling the same as I did. When I began to change my way of thinking from focusing on the negatives to focusing on the positives I began to feel much better and so this was the starting point for all the products I produce – all about promoting positive wellbeing.
When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was little I wanted to be teacher. I actually qualified as a Post-16 teacher in 2013 and in my full time role, which I will be returning to in late October 2018 I am a Photography Teacher at a local College.
How did you end up in this line of business?
Becoming a mum lead me to starting Isabella and Us. and is the inspiration behind everything I do.
What do you enjoy the most about your business?
I most enjoy being able to share my experiences with other parents and being able to promote positivity. The community that is starting to build up around the business is amazing and through that I have had the opportunity to talk to so many amazing mums and dads who have shared their experiences with me.
What has been your biggest business achievement to date?
My biggest achievement I think is starting the business when Isabella was 4 weeks old. At a time when I was my most vulnerable, my most tired and my most uncertain I made the decision to start a business focused on my experiences.
What is the biggest struggle you have in business?
The biggest struggle in business is gaining exposure and getting your business ‘out there’ in front of the right people. This takes time and I’m learning how to do this and build the business up.
Who has inspired you the most in business? And why?
My biggest inspiration in business is my daughter. I know she isn’t a ‘business’ person but without her and without my experiences and journey of being a mum there would be no Isabella and Us.
What do you wish you had known before you started your business?
Before starting my business I wish I had known how hard it is to gain exposure on social media. With the constantly changing algorithms it can be so hard to be seen without paying for adverts.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in business?
Take your time, put a plan together of what you want to achieve and why. Think about who is your customer and really aim everything you do towards them.
If I could grant you three wishes for your business, what would you wish for?
- To become a recognised brand
- To be in well known high street retailers
- To have features in well known magazines
"Have courage and be kind"