WHO IS // STEPH DOUGLAS
WHAT IS // DON'T BUY HER FLOWERS:
I sell thoughtful gift packages for new mums because, frankly, they deserve something lovely just for them. Packages that encourage mum to take ten minutes to herself, or make a HOT cup of tea possible, or COOK food vouchers so new parents can have prepared meals delivered to their doorstep. No tat or trinkets, just useful or thoughtful stuff that lets mum know that amid the madness someone is thinking of her and what she might need.
HOW DID // DON'T BUY HER FLOWERS COME TO BE?
After receiving eight bunches of flowers when I had Buster, when friends had a baby I’d send them a few bits like a magazine and chocolate in a jiffy bag. If they lived nearby I’d leave a meal on their doorstep. They were all so grateful to receive something for them and I started to wonder why no one was doing this. Then I returned to work post-maternity leave twice and found the juggle of wanting to work and push my career forward while working part-time and leaving promptly to do the pick-up really tricky. It started to feel like the only real option was to do something for myself and I couldn’t shake the idea of Don’t Buy Her Flowers. I did some research and found that 96% of new mums receive flowers, most of those at least three bunches. It makes no sense that when a woman is feeling vulnerable, sore and a bit crackers, the go-to gift is another thing to care for. Turns out lots of people agree!
BEST THING // ABOUT BEING don't buy her flowers?
The feedback. We get such lovely, emotional responses to our packages. This week I got an email from a customer who had sent a package to her sister because she was having a rough time. Her sister called her close to tears and she felt so good to be able to ‘do’ something even though she doesn’t live near. That makes me really proud. When you’re trying to build a business it’s really easy to just keep driving forward and not notice how far you’ve come, so I’m learning that feedback is a great opportunity for me to stop and go, ‘I did that’.
WHO WHAT // INSPIRES YOU?
Oooh, I usually say my mum so I’ll change it up and say Doug. He drives me insane, he leaves his bike in annoying places, and he NEVER smells that the bin needs changing. He was diagnosed with cancer when I was pregnant with Buster and I’ve watched this man I married – who I thought was a good man but I guess didn’t really know after only a couple of years together – be the most incredibly strong, inspiring person. This summer was five years since he was diagnosed and I hope we continue to remember the lessons that shitty disease has taught us. Life is too short. (Doug – I’ll try to remember that next time I’m ranting about your inability to put your shoes away…)
YOUR FASHION STYLE: If I’m making an effort I can put an outfit together, which will usually involve some leopard print or leather. I’m one of those people that changes in to joggers the second I walk in the door (or PJs if it’s winter and gone 6pm). As I run the business from home I realised the other week I was spending a little *too* much time in joggers so I’ve been making more of an every day effort. Taking a leaf out of Zoe (read Zoe's WHO IS // interview here, Ed.) from Dress Like a Mum’s book – no use saving it for ‘best’, throw caution to the wind and wear something sparkly on a Tuesday!
YOUR PARENTING STYLE: I’m not sure about a style – aren’t we all just muddling along, trying to get it right and worrying we’re getting it all wrong?! I hate ‘types’ of mother – most people might have a type they aspire to be, but it all depends on circumstances and personalities of the kids. Whatever you thought was ideal before they were born probably didn’t take in to account the reality of actual kids! As mine get older, I’m getting better at recognising that we’re not doing a bad job.
BEAUTY PRODUCT: Aveda Pure Abundance shampoo & conditioner and Kerastase Spray-a-porter. Magic products for making scraggly hair look thick. HOLIDAY DESTINATION: Majorca BOOK: I still think about ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ years on. FILM: Stepping Out with Liza Minelli. No, I’m not kidding.` MUSIC TO CHILL TO: We listened to some Amy Winehouse last night. Her voice was so incredible. WAY TO RELAX: Having no plans, no time by which we have to leave the house, no people to please, just our crew of four. Then getting the kids to bed and lounging on the sofa.
THE LAST //
TEXT YOU SENT: A reply to a courier service asking them to deliver to a neighbour. CALL YOU RECEIVED: My very good friend Mel, who is re-training to be a teacher. We’ve gone from speaking daily to always missing each other now we’re both working and juggling kids. I’m very proud of her. THING YOU BOUGHT: A denim skirt from Topshop that I’m fairly certain is too short and too young for me. THING YOU ATE: A pitta bread dripping with butter AND peanut butter.
WHAT // CAN'T YOU LIVE WITHOUT?
WHAT IS // THE BEST ADVICE YOU RECEIVED?
Don’t wait until everything is perfect or you’ll never do it. Just fucking do it.
GUILTY PLEASURE //
Main image: Emily Gray Photography