A cuppa and a Custard Cream with....NANCY UNDERWOOD of Month of Sundays

1.       Who are you and where do you come from?!

My name is Nancy, I'm 29 and live in Kent with my husband and toddler, Alba. We literally live just five minutes down the road from where we both grew up, which makes us feel very unadventurous but which is golden for grandparent babysitting duties.

2.       How did your brand arrive into the world and where did the name come from?

Having enjoyed keeping a baby book up to Alba's first birthday, I could not find something similar to continue documenting the precious memories beyond the first year. Furthermore, I was frustrated that such baby record books seemed designed for children, with garish colours and illustrations, when really they should have appealed to the parents.

I therefore decided to create a Childhood Journal that would be the only record book a parent would ever need; my guiding principle was to bring something lovely into the world that I'd be proud to hand over to Alba when she turns eighteen. The name went through many iterations! But my friends and husband all laugh at the funny phrases my family use that sound positively Dickensian, one of them being 'in a month of sundays', meaning a long time. In a brainstorming session with a friend, this name just stuck and fits with the idea of documenting time passing.

3.       What are the biggest challenges you face as a small business?

For me, juggling my job as a secondary school teacher with parenting and the business means that I simply struggle to find the time to do it all. I find that I have to focus on one thing - be it PR, new product development, the website - when really I would love to dedicate adequate time to all parts of the business to help it grow.

4.       What have been your biggest HURRAH moments so far?

Receiving customer photos of them filling out their Journals is just wonderful. Being chosen by The Independent as one of the 'Baby shower gifts that new parents actually want' was also cause for celebration - I'm so glad that people seem to love the Childhood Journals as much as I do!

5.       If you could give 3 pieces of advice to yourself when you started out, what would it be?

1. Educate yourself on all aspects of business before jumping in feet first - having a beautiful product is just one part of the equation.

2. Embrace connecting with other small business owners as they will be voices of reason, a source of support and save your sanity!

3. Enjoy the process, because every moment brings new opportunities to learn.

6.       What are your long-term hopes?

I love my day job (teaching) but hope that Month of Sundays will continue to grow, allowing me to teach part-time and have the best of both worlds. I would also love to have the Journal translated into other languages to go beyond the UK market.

7.       If you could choose just one store be stocked in, who would it be and why?

Just one is so tricky! Can I have online and physical? If so, I would love to be stocked in Liberty London as I had their shelves in mind when designing the Journals, and have always loved browsing that store as a treat. Or The Hambledon in Winchester as that reminds me of my university days! Online, I adore the concept behind Smallable - I do also love their physical store in Paris, but I suppose that is stretching the confines of the question too far given that I have now mentioned three shops...

8.       What’s the most common misconception when it comes to having your own business?

That it is glamorous.I can assure anyone that, especially in the first year, it is anything but! 

9.       You’re granted 1 wish for your brand – what would it be?

To become the go-to baby shower gift in the UK.

10.    Is there a dream collaborator or publication you'd love to work with and why?

There are (again) too many brilliant publications to choose from but, in terms of collaborations, I would love to put together limited editions of the Journals with illustrated inside covers and donate the proceeds to a charity close to my heart, Ronald McDonald House. We are actually collaborating with lots of amazing independent brands this year (including Cub and Pudding, of course!) to bring the 'RMHC Advent Calendar' to the Evelina branch, whereby every day a few rooms in the house win gorgeous gifts donated by small business owners. It is shaping up to be a lovely campaign which I'm really proud of.

11.      What’s your favourite biscuit?

Obviously a chocolate hob nob.

Find more about Month of Sundays here

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