Sally Bunkham is the founder of mumsback.com, a company that provides hamper gifts for new mums focusing on all the treats they couldn’t enjoy whilst pregnant.
Mum’s Back is also a social enterprise that raises awareness of postnatal depression, and £1 from every sale is donated to PANDAS Foundation, a perinatal mental health charity.
Sally has just launched Mum’s Back on notonthehighstreet.com with a new range of hampers including teething jewellery, chocolate and books. Sally is passionate about breaking down the stigma of mental health issues, especially in mums, and has been helping NCT with their #HiddenHalf campaign which aims to get perinatal mental health issues out of hiding.
Sally is mum to 2 daughters (Daisy & Ruby), who were born just 1 year and 12 days apart. They have just turned 2 and 3 years old.
Describe a typical day for you?
A typical day for me involves a lot of juggling between work and toddlers! If it’s a day when I have some childcare (currently 3 days a week) then I spend the first hour getting my kids up and dressed and shipped off to nursery and Nana’s house, preferably all by 8.30am.
Once that’s done I’ll get home and squeeze in as much work as possible and hopefully a jog too (while listening to music or podcasts, I’m a big fan of The Moth) before I pick them up again at 12.30. They then have their lunchtime nap (I pray they don’t drop that anytime soon, but I know it can’t last forever!).
I then cram as much more work in as I can before they wake up. Once they’re up I down tools and spend the rest of the day with them until their bedtime around 7pm. Once they’re asleep it’s back to work again till bedtime! I do try and leave at least 1 hour clear before bed to unwind, but it’s not always possible.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
In my personal life, it’s most definitely my beautiful children who make me and my husband proud every day. I am also very proud of turning my experience of PND (which was incredibly bleak) into something positive with my business. The social enterprise element of the business is incredibly important to me and gives me such fire in my belly.
Other seminal moments for me include getting accepted by Not On The High Street immediately when the business was early stages. It seemed like a real endorsement to my work that they were keen to have me. I was also interviewed live on Channel 5 News recently about my experience of PND. Live TV was nerve racking but exciting. I spoke about quite personal things like self-harm, which was tough, but it felt really good to be helping break down the stigma which is my mission.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
Well, being a mum to 2 toddlers it’s the usual shizzle I’m afraid! Nappies, wet wipes, emergency snacks, emergency calpol, antibacterial hand wipes. And my iPhone. I’d be a bit lost without my iPhone. Oh and probably about 20 old dried raisins in the bottom of my bag and bits of rice cake and those cards you get in Yo-Yos. This is all about honesty, right?! Ha ha.
What are your ambitions in life?
My main ambition is for my family and I to be happy and healthy. I would like my daughters to grow up believing they can do whatever it is they are passionate about. My ambitions centre a lot around freedom. The freedom to spend time with those I love and the freedom to explore new places and keep on learning.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
I wish I’d known that all the tools I need to have a successful career are already within me, and to stop worrying so much about my worth and value, and about what others think of me.
Before I got a break in my career after University I fretted a lot about what I was going to do and whether I’d be good enough. This happened again after I became a mother. Both times I’ve proved that yes, of course I am. It’s a lot about mind set. I recently invested in some coaching and mentoring from a lady called Helen Packham who works mainly with women helping unlock their inner confidence. It has paid dividends.
Since then I’ve started to believe in myself and have bigger ambitions, and it’s working! I just needed the belief that I could do it.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I very much hope that I will be living in sunny Brighton with a happy and healthy family. The happiness of my family is what matters most to me. I know that there are exciting things on the horizon for Mum’s Back but I’m happy going with the flow a little and seeing how they work out. But of course I’d love it to be doing really well and expanding even more. I’d also love to be doing more with the social enterprise side of the business, and shining more light on the issues of perinatal mental health and helping other women feel less alone.
What advice would you give a budding entrepreneur?
My biggest piece of advice would be to do something that alights a fire in your belly. What experience have you been through that has been bad? Look for the periods of your life when you have felt most lost. Is there a way you can help others that might be feeling similar?
I had the concept for Mum’s Back for a couple of years, but it was only following my experience of PND and recovery that I started having huge ambition for it. It means I cannot wait to get working on it every morning. It gives me that hunger and drive to succeed. It also allows me to give a huge personal piece of me to my brand, which is really important. So don’t be afraid to focus on the bad periods in order to search for potential to turn it into a positive.
What do you wish you’d known about motherhood before having kids?
Oh my goodness, so much! I wish I’d known that breastfeeding might not be as easy as I presumed or a choice like I was led to believe. Also, that the first year of baby’s life is all about survival. Do not expect to get much done. I learnt that the best mantra to live by during that period was “everyone fed and no one dead”.
I wish I’d known how hugely different babies can be. What worked for my first did not work for my second most of the time. And very importantly, do not judge. We can assume so much when we haven’t walked in another’s shoes. I’ve learnt that the way I assumed I’d deal with a situation isn’t always the way it has worked out, so don’t judge others. Lastly, I wish I’d known that I am enough.
Finally, happiness is…
A sunny evening on Daymer Bay, Cornwall, with all my family. The kids building sandcastles and paddling in the sea while the grown ups laugh and drink beer. Windswept, but happy. That’s my idea of total contentment.