1. Please introduce yourself: Name, what do you do & how many children you have.
Jane Comyn, Co-Founder and Director of Branche d’Olive; Tim, my husband is a barrister and we have 3 ‘children’: James (right) is an accountant now working in start-ups and is currently with Depop; Cressida, (left) is a commercial surveyor working for the Bedford Estate and Edward ‘Ned’ (centre) is an officer in the Household Cavalry. Where, we often ask ourselves (and them), are the anarchic revolutionaries we thought we were breeding? Their reply? ‘We’re rebelling’!
2. What was your inspiration behind your brand/business: Branche Olive?
The purchase of 48 bars of an artisanal triple-milled Marseilles soap! Sourced from a market in the south of France, I thought they would complement the 19thC wash stand I’d already bought and add colourful decoration (and much needed fragrance!) to my ‘unit’ in an antique centre. Whilst the soap, not really bought for re-sale, flew out, I still have the wash stand! Ruthie & I then formed a partnership and today our own branded, hand cut and hand stamped soap is made in a small Savonnerie outside Marseilles and sold in a variety of formats.
3. How do you manage to juggle work and life balance as a mother?
Given that our youngest ‘child’ is now 27 the balance is not really an issue – however when we started 15 years ago I do remember typing invoices late into the night! Nowadays, all three know that if they are making unexpected visits (always welcome) it’s probably best to arrive with food – my freezer is more likely to be full of cashmere than handmade soup or casseroles. Actually, Tim delights in retelling (often) a telephone conversation we had once in which I said ‘supper’s in the freezer, more precisely, it’s in the supermarket freezer’….
4. What top tips would you give to any mum on starting her own business?
Get on with it – NOW. I wish we’d started years earlier. Make sure any business name/email is easy: firstname.lastname@example.org does not roll off the tongue! Give up watching TV – you’ll be amazed how much time you’ll have – mostly while your children are asleep …
5. What do you love most about London? & Do you have a favourite spot with your children?
We moved out of London 25 years ago, so returning is always rather a treat. Because all three children now live in London, visits tend to involve them. Our most recent family outing was a couple of weeks ago – we went the The Old Vic to see Art.
6. How do you define quality ‘me-time’?
Watching 6 nations Rugby!
7. Please complete the sentence ‘I am a Mum and …’
I enjoy the journey every single day.
8. What is your favourite and least favourite thing about parenthood?
I can honestly say, hand on heart, that, so far, it’s all been a blast! Even those mind numbing Tumbletot sessions! More seriously, it’s unconditional and largely unchanging. The cure all cuddles, stories and Calpol of childhood are simply replaced by listening, the certainty of support and wine. It’s a privilege.
9. What would we always find in your handbag?
Never the thing I’m looking in it for …
10. Given that we are embracing Motherhood, what advice would you give to a first time Mum?
You’re the best mother for your baby – you can do no wrong in her eyes. As I said above – enjoy the journey … every single day.