Lou and Olly - Jane Blakey

Jane Blakey set up Lou & Olly in 2008 to sell her range of wool and cotton blankets for babies and young children, which she designs herself. Since 2002 she has also run online boutique store Fine Lines. She now employs two part-time staff at Lou & Olly.

Issue 15Lou Olly1I was inspired to set up my business because… I wanted to create a better lifestyle for my family and share my passion for beautifully crafted children's products with other parents.

I deal with mummy guilt by… Having set work hours and sticking to them. It has helped me to find a good balance so I can give my girls my full attention during the important times of the day - even if that means a late night to catch up on work.

I get "me time" by… Going for a walk along the beach, visiting my favourite design store or searching for hidden treasures in my local vintage shop. Catching up with girlfriends for a night out is always a great tonic too.

The most helpful person for looking after the kids while managing my business has been… My mum! She's amazing and has always been there to help out when needed. I feel very lucky.

The smartest thing I have ever done with my business has been… Building a community of talented people around me. You can't possibly be an expert in all areas of your business so enlisting the help of others has been fantastic. I've learnt a lot from them and made some great friendships along the way.

The biggest mistake I have ever made was… Making my life fit around the business, rather than the other way around, and working seven days a week. You can do that for only so long before you burn out.

My favourite thing about the business now is… Being able to promote our products internationally. Receiving our very first export order was really exciting. To know that parents in other countries are enjoying wrapping their children in our blankets gives me such a wonderful sense of achievement.  

The best advice I was ever given as a businesswoman was… "Build a Castle not a Bach." Even if you can't afford to do everything with your business from day one, make sure it's done to the best of your ability and budget - that way you'll have great foundations to build on when the time comes to expand.

My best tip for getting out of the house on time is… Having a husband who is a morning person! This really helps to get our household moving. Also, set every clock 10 minutes fast so you are always ahead of yourself.



As seen in OHbaby! magazine Issue 15: 2011
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