Olivia Barry started LivvyB is a new ethical company designing bedding and accessories when her and her teenage daughter struggled to find fresh, vibrant, good quality bedding for the tween/teen market.
Along the way she came across a teen facing a tough time in her life and having struggled herself as a teenager, she decided to start working alongside teenagers on her designs to support teenage mental health with the company’s aim being to promote confidence and boost self-esteem through the creative process – they help the brand with concepts and drawings through to the production process and are paid for their work.
LivvyB also donates 10% of sales to www.mind.org.uk. Additionally, all our products are sustainably produced and made in factories supporting local communities in India.
It’s wonderful to share Olivia’s work here.
Describe a typical day for you?
Get up with my children, have a cup of tea or 3 and take them to school. Walk the dogs (I have a rhodesian Ridgeback and mini wire-haired daschund!) usually with a group of friends. I tend not to see much of people at the moment so dog walks are a great way to catch up whilst getting fresh air and exercise.
I am home by 10ish and after putting a wash on and cleare the kitchen, I start working with my teen designers via email/text looking at their drawings, choosing colours and getting to work. I also spend a lot of the day liaising with my suppliers in India.
By the end of the day, I pick my kids up and do mummy things like cook supper and read with them. Being tweens/teens they are pretty self-sufficient but I love to spend time with them in the evenings if they’re feeling sociable!!!
What do you feel are your greatest achievements?
Apart from the obvious, raising my children…. managing to accept who I am and be myself no matter what people’s opinions are of me. If you had known me for the last 43 years, you would understand why that is my greatest achievement.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
There seem to be a lot of tissues (my kids are always asking for tissues), Burts Bees Lipbalm, old receipts (I’m terrible at throwing them in my bag!)..my phone and purse. Rather boring to be honest!
What are your ambitions in life?
To make the most of my life and enjoy it to the full. Sounds rather cheesy but it’s true. I spent most of my life feeling negative about myself so I now want to make the second half of my life, the best it can be. I want to make a success of my business and build on it. I love what I do and I would love to succeed!
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
I wish I had had the confidence to believe in myself and have a positive mind. I spent so many years being told I would never be successful due to my dyslexia and difficulties academically. I was all-consumed by that so didn’t achieve anything. My CBT therapy after postnatal depression was the best thing I’ve ever done. It has proved to me how powerful a positive mindset/attitude can be and how life-changing it’s been for me.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? Honestly no idea! Hopefully with a successful business. Making the most of life. Still working alongside teenagers, offering them support.
What advice would you give a budding entrepreneur? Things rarely go completely as you envisage them from the start BUT don’t let that put you off! Have your long term goal and stay focused on it but be flexible on how you achieve it! Nothing I thought would happen with my business has, it’s been all about trial and error, good days and bad… Try and find the positive even in the negative, as your mindset can have a huge impact on the outcome. Have a sense of humour too!
What advice would you give a first-time mother? Everyone has an opinion, and when you’re a first-time mum it can be overwhelming. The guilt you feel when you’ve read one thing but are doing another or you’re struggling to breastfeed but you are told “breast is best” etc etc can be tough. My advice is to try your best to ignore all the pressure and simply do what works and is best for YOU and YOUR baby. There is no right or wrong way and as long as your baby has your unconditional love and is safe and secure, that is all that matters.
Finally, happiness is…
Family, friends, laughter, love, hugs and my two dogs Bear and Olive and the cat called Mouse. In fact, I think the animals might be the first on the list! As my husband famously once said….”If Livvy gave me an ounce of the love she gives those dogs, I would be a lucky man!”
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My debut book is my guide to surviving and thriving at work and at home and offers insight into how to create a digital business or return to work with confidence.
Mumboss: The Honest Mum's Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home
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