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How to run a small business (or not), top tips from Hannah Wallace of Wear my Baby and Izmi baby carrier in Tooting, London

Hannah Wallace was the speaker at the Small Business Network, Tooting Networking Night at Bedford on 29th February where 28 small businesses attended.

How to run a small business by Hannah Wallace of Wear My Baby.

lWe had a great session on 29th Feb at the Small Business Networking Night event. Held at the Bedford Pub in Balham, 28 small businesses came together for an opportunity to meet and make new contacts but also to hear from our speaker Hannah Wallace on How to run a small business & her lessons. 

Hannah is the UK’s leading baby carrier expert. She founded Wear My Baby, the UK’s baby carrier store and advice service, in 2016 and has recently taken over the Izmi baby carrier brand.

Hannah started her small business 10 years ago, while on maternity leave, then went on to open a shop, reach 100 million views on YouTube and has been growing her business while managing All of the Juggling.

It all started when she had a small baby and not being able to find a suitable baby carrier for her and her lifestyle. She ordered a big 5 meter fabric baby carrier from Amazon which made both her and the baby weep and in the midst of baby tears she had the idea of looking into this baby carrying malarkey. 

So she started ordering a few, trying them on, sharing her experience with other mums and before she knew it she was organizing pop-up sessions on baby carriers. A few years later she opened the high street store “Wear my Baby” selling various models but also doing fitting sessions. 

Fast forward to 2023, she decided to close down her physical shop and focus on one particular brand of baby carrier Izmi Baby, which she now has bought and is going to run, being in control of the whole product line, manufacturing, distribution and sales. Wow what a journey ! 

For those of us in the room, Hannah is a very dynamic speaker, she is full of anecdotes, life stories, highs and lows and very clear minded.

The feeling I got is that basically and for the first few years, running a business is a little bit like “making it up as you go along”. Until of course you need to have a plan and then you have a plan on how to run a small business! That’s when things get more serious and focused. 

Hannah shared some great tips from her experience and what has worked for her. 

1. Have a clear purpose

Be honest with yourself and ask yourself these questions and answer with honesty. 

Why are you on this journey? What does success look like for you?

Are you in this for the money? 

For an early retirement?

Flexibility?

You hate your job? 

For the joy? 

For your sanity (getting out of the house)? 

To prove a point? 

2. Have a Plan  

  1. The plan needs to be flexible but avoid “mission drift”. Have systems and processes in place that will help with implementing the plan and staying in focus. 
  2. Have your cheerleaders and people who keep you accountable. You will need both (people who cheer you on and people who keep you accountable) but tell them which role you want them to do at anytime, cheerleading or keeping you accountable. 
  3. Energy in vs. energy out. Running a business is “no mean feat” and charging up on your own energy is important. What gives you energy? How do you feed yourself? For Hannah it’s dancing. Find yours and do it so that you can  have fun & feel good. 

3. Be yourself 

Work to your strengths and find people that can help you. As a small business owner people are buying into you. 

  1. Be your own cheerleader 
  2. Promote online but keep it to educating people and sell 
  3. What is your story and your why ?
  4. How will you make people’s lives easier, better? 

Some of the questions we asked Hannah were about:

Consistency – she has kept to it despite what might have been going on, so that customers and followers would always see her talk about baby carriers on repeat. 

How did she build the profile of “Wear My Baby” online and on YouTube to reach 100,000 Subscribers and 65 million views she would post her videos on her Youtube channel regularly and build momentum and a lot of engagement.  

What comes across very clearly from Hannah’s story and her presence on social media is how helping clients, answering their questions, showing how to use the product and “being of service” are at the heart of her business. She has trained other baby carriers to help families with all their babywearing questions and all of them together form a brilliant team. 

Hannah’s talk and story on how to run a small business were very insightful and inspiring and we all wished her good luck with the new chapter. 

Hannah’s talk was followed by more conversations and connections in small groups as well as the “intros” where everyone gets to introduce themselves and what they do to the room. 

Thank you Hannah for your time and the tips you shared with us.

Hopefully see you there for more engaging conversations and making new connections with other like-minded small businesses.