Ahead of the wine meet up on March 2nd, including local prominent mum bosses on the Peninsula, and the MP Kickass Girl Squad meet up on the 3rd, we wanted to celebrate our love of wine with you all and share our interview back in September last year with Lauren Oliver, creator of Mum's Who Wine!
So sit back with a glass of Pinot and enjoy!
What is Mums Who Wine? Who is it for?
Mums Who Wine is a VIP Annual Membership for Mothers that provides benefits and discounts for mums to businesses in and around Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula. The Membership is only for mums with the purpose of creating an avenue for mums to invest time in themselves and their own self-care.
All you need to do is present your membership keyring to receive a benefit/discount at one of our 50+ affiliates every time you visit!
We also donate 5% of all membership proceeds to PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia) to help raise awareness and reduce stigma associated with perinatal depression.
Many people say the first two years of owning your business are the toughest, would you agree or disagree? Why?
I think it might be a little premature for me to comment definitively on this, as I only launched Mums Who Wine in July 2017. However, I can definitely see why people would say that. The first two years are absolutely fundamental to the success or failure of your business so there is a lot of pressure. You are focused on trying to promote the business effectively, find opportunities, build networks and relationships, think of new ideas – all while carrying on your “normal life”. For myself that includes working part time as a lawyer and being a great wife and mother to my two young boys.
What inspired you to start Mums Who Wine?
I was inspired to start Mums Who Wine following the success of a Facebook Group I started in Inner West Melbourne called “Inner West Mums Who Wine”. I created this group with the sole purpose of creating an avenue for mums to have one night out per month, outside of their role as “mum” and to connect and relate with other mothers. In just under two years, this group is now at 1385 members with the monthly events selling out in hours. This made me realise there is such a need for mums to have time for themselves and their own self-care, but many don’t prioritise this. Therefore, by creating a membership where they will receive benefits and VIP treatment at different restaurants/bars/cafes/day spas – I felt this would encourage mums to prioritise that time as much as possible.
How and why did you decide to turn Mums Who Wine in to a business, as well as a social group?
I decided to turn it into a business after several of my closest friends from Inner West Mums Who Wine, who are all funnily enough entrepreneurs themselves, encouraged me to start a business. I was very hesitant for several months as I was very mindful of the fact that I started Inner West Mums Who Wine to be an outreach and resource for women in the community, and did not want this to then turn into a “business” as that was never the intention.
However, after months of encouragement, I finally started thinking about the prospect. I had many discussions with my husband Mark and also my dad and the business idea emerged soon after. The business has naturally evolved from the social group, which I think is why it has been successful so quickly as it is tapping in to a genuine need that I had already identified.
What were the greatest challenges you faced in starting Mums Who Wine?
The greatest challenge has been starting the business with a very young baby. I first got the idea for Mums Who Wine when my youngest son was 12 weeks old. I also made the decision to go back to work when he was 6 months old, so I knew that I only had a small window of time to get Mums Who Wine established and off the ground before I was back in my corporate job. Thankfully my husband was working from home at the time which allowed me to attend meetings with affiliates, and launch the business, otherwise I do not know how I would have done it. It has been a very crazy whirlwind and instead of catching up on sleep during my spare time or when my son was sleeping, I was doing work or having business meetings.
Tell us about the affiliates you have for Mums Who Wine? What was the process of getting them involved?
We have over 50 affiliates across Inner West Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula. We also have a large range of online affiliates to ensure that all mums can have access to benefits and discounts. The affiliates range from restaurants, bars and cafes to gyms, photographers, day spas and retailers. A few include Bondi Sands, Alchemy Produx, Hellenic Republic, The Wellness Manor, Adorn Cosmetics, Flinders Hotel, Dromana Estate, Aurelia Boutique and many more.
The affiliates are all businesses in which either I have personally experienced excellent service or alternatively come on extremely high recommendation from a very trusted source. This is one thing that sets Mums Who Wine apart, is that I have only included businesses that I am prepared to personally endorse. I know that when mums have a rare day or night out, I want to ensure they are getting the best service possible.
The process was that I personally approached each business and then where possible I met with them face to face. If they were interested they then suggested a benefit/discount and if agreeable then they officially became an affiliate. I have had some people contact me directly to request to be an affiliate, if I meet with them and like their product then we discuss having them come on board. I am very mindful of keeping all affiliates at a high standard for our members.
What do you think has attributed to the success of Mums Who Wine?
I believe Mums Who Wine has been so successful so quickly, because it is very unique. There are a lot of memberships and benefit schemes, in particular there are so many focussed on mums and their children i.e. discounts for playcentres etc. However, what I realised is there was really nothing just for mum and creating that outlet for mums. That is why we are different, the focus of Mums Who Wine is completely on the mums and their experience. Plus, the fact that they receive a benefit ON EVERY visit, which is different to similar schemes and incredible value.
Most importantly though, I believe that people can see our heart and passion. When I met with the businesses, a lot said that they don’t often provide discounts or benefits, especially an ongoing benefit, however something really resonated with them and they could see that Mums Who Wine is something so beneficial for the mums. The fact that we support such an incredible organisation like PANDA is also something that people resonated with as perinatal anxiety and depression is something that has a wide ranging effect for both males and females.
What are the most important things to you in your personal life?
The most important things in my personal life is spending time with my beautiful family, surrounding myself with people who “fill my tank”, living a life where I don’t compromise my values and being able to put my head on the pillow at night and know I have given the day my best.
What is important to you in creating a positive working atmosphere for women?
I believe that creating a positive working environment for women must be focussed on encouraging, supporting and lifting each other. Coming from a very competitive field (legal industry) I have seen how this does not encourage people to be the best they can be. It does not breed a positive working environment and it leads to people cutting others down in order to benefit their own career. I have never been someone who likes gossip and very mindful of keeping away from that and the desire to pull people down. Therefore, this is the environment I always try to create with people that work for me in my role as a lawyer and it is an atmosphere that I will always facilitate at Mums Who Wine.
Who inspired you to start your own business?
My husband and a small group of girlfriends.
For those who would like to become involved with Mums who wine how would they go about doing that?
If there are businesses that are interested in becoming affiliates, they can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If there are mothers who are interested in becoming a member then they can go to our website www.mumswhowine.com.au for more information and an application form.
Why did you decide to branch out to the Mornington Peninsula? Was it always part of your business plan? Do you plan on branching out to any more locations?
I always wanted to branch out to Mornington Peninsula and that was always my plan, but I did not expect it to happen so quickly. I grew up on the Mornington Peninsula, all of my family still lives here and most of my friends – so I knew that it would be natural progression to expand to the Peninsula. However, my initial time line was to only launch in Inner West Melbourne and build that for 12 months before expanding to other areas. However due to the overwhelming support and exposure we have received and so many people asking when it was coming to the Peninsula, I thought I would just keep the craziness of my life going and launch Inner West Melbourne in July and then launch Mornington Peninsula in August!
My heart is for Mums Who Wine to be in every location! My next areas of expansion will be Bayside, Melbourne CBD, Eastern Suburbs and Bellarine Peninsula. I then plan to expand interstate.
When you started Mums Who Wine, what were you hoping to achieve?
It sounds cliché, but I honestly just want to help change the lives of mothers. I know how isolating motherhood can be, so I wanted to create an avenue for mums to get out – even if it is just for a free coffee at the local café. If one person’s life is changed by me starting Mums Who Wine, then it will all be worth it.
What advice would you give to other women and mothers who want to start their own business?
Don’t listen to the noise. If you are honestly passionate about something, then success follows passion. Don’t listen to the people who try to fill your head with negatives and all the reasons why it won’t work. I had every reason why it wouldn’t work – I was time poor, I was sleep deprived, I had never run my own business etc, but I found my passion and that is what I ran with and that is h
One of my very best friends when I first told her the idea made me make her a promise there and then. She said “if you start sharing this idea and anyone starts to be negative about why you can’t do it, I want you to promise me that you will just stop talking?” I am so thankful to her, because I did follow that advice several times. When you first think of a business idea, you need to protect it and nurture it – especially in those early days, make sure you are only discussing it with people who are encouraging and will inspire you to go harder.
Since you started Mums Who Wine, do you think the climate for mothers has changed?
I think it is a bit too premature to say as its still in the early stages. However, since starting it, I have definitely been open to a whole new world of female entrepreneurs, incredible support groups for women in business, amazing connections – so I have been overwhelmed and so impressed with the level of support there is for mothers and women.
Can you tell us about some future events Mums Who Wine will be holding in 2017?
We have our Mornington Peninsula Launch on 24 August 2017 at the Boathouse Restaurant in Frankston.
In October, I am organising two wine and food pairing nights (Inner West Melbourne and Mornington Peninsula) with Andrew Whalan of Decorum Partners. Andrew has 20 years’ experience in the industry having worked as an industry trainer and also a sommelier at some of Australia’s premier hatted venues. Andrew will be coming and giving the mums some basic tips on the different wines – what to look for, how to pair wines and also how to choose delicious wines on a budget. All while sitting down enjoying a three course meal, 9 different wines and great conversations!
In November, we are having a large fundraiser for Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week. This will be our biggest event yet! More details to come!
How many mothers are involved with Mums Who Wine?
We currently have approximately 150 members sign up in 6 weeks, noting that we are launching Mornington Peninsula this week so those figures will increase.
With respect to the business itself, it is just me! I plan to build a team in due course to help with the expansion and events in different areas.
What are some of the benefits that members of Mums Who Wine? And how can people go about becoming a member?
A small selection of our online and Mornington Peninsula benefits are as follows:
- Alchemy Produx Candles – 30% discount;
- Bondi Sands – 25% discount
- Allure Villas Seminyak – 10% off the rack rate of all accommodation
- Aurelia Boutique (Mornington) – 15% off purchases.
- Body Change Bootcamp (Mornington) - 10% Discount on Unlimited Sessions Membership, 1st Month Free + Gift Pack Valued at $489
- The Wellness Manor (Mornington) - $20 discount on HydraFacials, Retreat and Escape packages $175.00 valued at $189.00* or $150.00 with a friend (Monday - Friday) & 10% off retail sales over $100.00.
- Lakeside Villas at Crittenden Estate (Dromana) - Complimentary bottle of Crittenden Sparkling Wine & complimentary wine tasting for 2 people
- Pelikan Societe (Hastings) - $3.00 takeaway tea/coffee, Complimentary tea/coffee with any breakfast (Mon- Fri) and 10% off total bill when ordering main meals.
- The Boathouse (Frankston) - Complimentary glass of house wine upon any main meal purchase.
- Alatonero (McCrae) - Complimentary glass of sparkling wine with any main meal purchase (Monday - Friday)
- The Quarters @ Flinders Hotel (Flinders) – Complimentary bottle of Mornington Peninsula wine on arrival, late 12pm check out; and room upgrade.
- Georgie Bass Café and Cookery (Flinders) - 10% off any class @ Georgie Bass Café & Cookery; and complimentary coffee with breakfast or lunch @ Georgie Bass Café.
If you would like to become a member you just need to complete an application here
What is your ‘end goal’ for Mums Who Wine?
World domination – one wine at a time!! No in all seriousness, my goal is for Mums Who Wine to go national and then international. I want all mothers to have access to VIP treatment and opportunities to attend events to get out and connect with other mothers. I would also like to organise women’s conferences in the future – for women inspiring women.
In terms of support for women in business, do you think there has being enough support? And who from?
Speaking only from the perspective of Mums Who Wine, I do believe there is a lot of support. As indicated previously, I am a member of several women business networks – all of which are so incredibly supportive. When Mums Who Wine was featured in the Herald Sun I posted the photo and had hundreds of women contacting me to congratulate me, which is just beautiful to see. However, like anything I think there is always room to improve. I don’t think there will ever come a point where women in business, especially those creating their own businesses will have “too much support.”