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Working Mum Interview With Lucy Woodhouse

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Co-founders of Claudia and Fin frozen greek yoghurt lollies Lucy Woodhouse (black shirt) and Meriel Kehoe (green shirt) photographed 18 August 2015.Ph: Rebecca Reid

Quick Fire Working Mother Interview With Lucy Woodhouse Co Founder Of Claudia & Fin

Lucy Woodhouse, a former marketeer and brand manger, is the co-founder of Claudi & Fin, currently one of the fastest growing children’s ice cream brands in the UK. She launched Claudi & Fin with her business partner Meriel Kehoe in 2014  when they couldn’t find any ice lollies they were happy to feed their children. After 18 months of trials and taste testing with their children, Claudia and Fin, they entered a competition that saw them go from 0 distribution to supplying 250 Sainsbury’s stores overnight. Fast forward three years and the brand is now stocked in nearly 2900 retailers and restaurants across the UK.

What were or are the biggest challenges you faced going back in to the work place after children?

Meriel and I both had careers where it was very difficult to operate flexibly and we were both often working 70+ hours a week. Neither of which are conducive to bringing up children. The burden of guilt that you might be leaving the office more promptly or you aren’t looking after your children as you’d like is horrible!

How do you achieve your work life balance of career woman and mother?  

We’re lucky that we’re able to work more flexibly running our own business. Working flexibly doesn’t mean doing any less, in fact you are ‘on’ all the time but you allow family life to happen a little more. We take our children to school each day and we can be there when there is a concert or sports day. Balance is always going to be difficult because work sometimes more demanding and then sometimes our children need us more. At work, I set out to do the most important things on my To Do List by noon. I also try to be very strict about what I am doing and what it will achieve – ie. What is the outcome? Will this deliver us lots of new customers/sales? That is my number one driver every day at work.

If you could give your past self-one piece of advice about being a working mother what would it be?

We’re all juggling in some way and the grass is rarely greener!

Have your career goals and aspirations altered since becoming a working mother from that prior to your children?

My goals and aspirations haven’t changed but how I reach them has had too. If I was doing this in my 20’s I suspect it would have been different to now as I have different priorities. However, I don’t spend any time thinking about things I can’t change. It’s a pointless exercise. All my energy is focused on the here and now.

What are your future goals in your career path in the next few years, what do you hope to achieve?

We’d like to grow the brand in new areas and categories and make Claudi & Fin a household name.

If you had the power to change one thing in the business market for working mothers, what would you change?

I would make flexible working happen in a big way across all big corporations. I employ some brilliant Mums who have given up working for big organisations so they can work more flexibly to improve their family lives. That makes them work smarter and they are happier. In fact, I couldn’t be happier with them and what they do for the business. One of them came to her interview with her first born – I loved her even more for it and she is a superb PR lady. Someone making a big splash in this area is the incredible Mother Pukka and her Flex Appeal campaign. Check her out!

What is the best piece of business advice you have been given?  

Never be a busy fool… from my Dad. He works incredibly hard but boy does he know how to enjoy life and that’s the way it should be.

If you could recommend one book to our readers leisure or business what would it be?

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. What a beautiful book. I’m feeling the need to reread it! So much left unspoken.

How do you make sure that you make time for yourself when you are not at work?

Well, I struggle with this at the moment as there isn’t much time left! I LOVE spin classes and yoga and getting lost in a good book but I can’t remember the last time that happened!

What question would you wish to ask our next working mother who takes this short interview?

If you won the lottery tomorrow would you stop work?

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