It is no exaggeration to say that Coronavirus has changed everything. 2020 has certainly not panned out the way that we had planned at Mumbler HQ!
All of us that work at Mumbler are parents, so we have had to adapt to new working patterns and ways to manage our work around looking after & homeschooling our children (at the last count we had 37 “mini-mumblers” in the business, all under 11 years old with 1 more on the way!)
All Mumbler franchises have been affected one way or another, not only with the lack of time to work, but also with lost revenue (many of our revenue streams come from local attractions as well as classes & groups. Most of which shut their doors indefinitely in March) It has been a tough time for all businesses, and Mumbler is no different.
Fortunately, as a company we are extremely resilient & very good at spotting new opportunities. The flexible working patterns & working from home is nothing new to us, and we were able to adapt. It was apparent from the beginning that Mumbler had a vital role to play: to help keeping local communities connected, to communicate much needed information to parents & to help keep spirits up, during these difficult times.
So what have we done?
First & foremost, as we are all parents, we have put our own families needs first. We have been able to “down-tools” whenever we have needed to & spent time caring for our own children. As a business, it is the flexibility of Mumbler with is one of the best things. There is no need to phone in sick, or let managers down by having to cancel business meetings. We are all in the same boat, we all “get” it. Family comes first, no matter what.
Secondly, we have adapted our businesses. Our usual annual content planning revolves around school holidays & term-time classes. This all came to an immediate halt at the end of March 2020 and so we switched focus onto what families needed to know right now. On all sites we create “Coping with Coronavirus” pages which were jam packed with resources & information to help families with young children adapt & stay busy. This included things like:
Practical Advice for Parents Key worker “thank you” colouring sheets School closures from Headteacher perspective Daily schedule suggestion for home-schoolingHoliday on lockdown ideasLocal Libraries- what resources are still availableVirtual Day trips to world leading attractions101 Things to do with kids indoors Keeping Toddlers busy at HomePregnancy during corona crisis- a personal blogLife Unprecedented- Working Mums personal blogLooking After Children’s Mental HealthIdeas for baking with kids Free on-line educational resourcesOur favourite kids subscriptionsBrilliant Garden-based activitiesFamily Meals from Tins & frozen ingredients.
As lockdown progressed and food & delivery services became more widespread (and so very needed!) we made sure that we kept up with that was opening locally so that parents could have a night off from cooking: Now Open in York as well as free outdoor activities where local families could exercise safely: Family Walks in North Leeds
We had Mumbler Awards planned for Hull Mumbler in March 2020, which was unable to happen (in real life) Not one to be defeated, Rachael, our Hull & East Riding Mumbler hosted the Awards Ceremony on-line in May 2020. You can read about all the winners here
Ryedale Mumbler & Scarborough & Whitby Mumbler held an on-line Awards as well in June 2020, and in doing so, has raised over £8,500 for their nominated charity, Macmillan.
Two Mumbler, Harrogate & York decided that rather than holding a traditional Mumbler Awards ceremony this year, they would instead host an on-line “Mumbler Love Local” Awards. These are not about winning, but rather spreading public messages of thanks & support to those who have helped make life easier through the lockdown period. The nominations close on 30th June and all the nominations and the lovely comments will be announced in a series of celebration blogs to be published throughout July.
You can read more about the Love Local Awards in this great article by Yorkshire Times here.
As local attractions & classes slowly begin to open, we continue to adapt our businesses & provide the information that local parents need to know. Our working hours & patterns may have changed, but the requirement to keep young children entertained never will!
Flexibility has always been key for Mumbler, but now so more than ever. Our franchisees have been incredibly supportive of one-another during lockdown. They have shared ideas & resource, as well as being a friendly ear to each-other; no one knows just how difficult it can be to be a working parent, unless you’ve experienced it yourself! We are looking forward to things settling down a bit more, and our children being able to (safely!) get back to school; whenever that may be. In the mean time, we will continue to do everything to keep our local communities of parents connected.
If you’d like to find out more about launching a Mumbler franchise in your area then drop us a line here. We’d love to hear from you.
Emily Pickard, York Mumbler Franchise Owner
I am Emily and I run York Mumbler.
I previously worked in Brand Marketing – having had a 15 year career working on big brands like Anchor & McCain.
Although I loved my job and was fortunate to work for great companies, everything changed after having children and my priorities were just so different. I didn’t want to leave the house as the kids got up (sometimes before) and get home late, have to work away from home sometimes or feel like I wasn’t doing my best.
Although I worked part time in the end, I found that I was compromising – on my job and also on my kids and home.
Taking the leap to run Mumbler full time was a big scary decision – I’m the main breadwinner in our house so I had to make it work. Seven years later and now I can honestly say it was the best decision of my life to make that leap.
The biggest thing it has brought me is freedom and flexibility. I do work really hard on Mumbler and probably as many hours (if not more) then I did before… but it doesn’t feel like work.
I can fit the work in around my family – for example, in the holidays I don’t work in the day but just catch up on the evenings. I absolutely love it and I’m offering such a valuable service to my community too. And when it comes to school runs, school holidays, kids being off ill and bedtimes, I now never miss a thing!
Rachel Nelson-Girtchen, North Leeds Mumbler Franchise Owner
After being a big fan and frequent user of North Leeds Mumbler for many years, I jumped at the opportunity of owning this great business myself.
After a few career changes, this fits in perfectly with my mum life, and gives me more flexibility to find time doing what I love most- getting out in the great outdoors!
I live with my two children and husband, and we moved to South Leeds in 2016. We absolutely love Leeds and think it’s a brilliant place to raise a family with so much around us to enjoy.
Rachael Smith, Hull & The East Riding Mumbler Franchise Owner
After spending 13 years working in marketing (first at ReckittBenckiser then at McCain Foods), I had two children and decided to try working for myself and spend more time with my children.
Four years ago, whilst on maternity leave, I built the second Mumbler website, Hull & East Riding Mumbler, never returned to McCain and haven’t looked back.
I now employ another mum to help me run it and have made a full time living, all whilst working from home around the kids. Two years ago, I also launched a second business, The Marketing Lane, a freelance Marketing Consultancy.
The lifestyle I now have has enabled me to also slot in voluntary work and give back to my community. I Chair the Hull MVP (Maternity Voices in Partnership), a panel of Healthcare Professionals and local organisations all working together to improve services for women in Hull, from becoming pregnant to when their baby is one. I am a board member for the charity Viking FMs Cash for Kids and a Trustee for the charity Bundles of Joy.
I was even nominated and became a finalist for this year’s Women of Achievement Awards Hull & Humber.
SJ Barker, Franchise owner of Ryedale Mumbler and also Scarborough & Whitby Mumbler.
As well as being a mum to two children, I live with a menagerie of animals – including horses, Ryeland Sheep and Giant African Land Snails – and have lived rurally most of my life.
It’s always been second nature to jump in the car and travel, but now I know my local area inside out, I know it doesn’t have to be this way – there are so many amazing things for families on our doorstep!
Previously I was an insurance risk control surveyor but when my children were born (Henry, 6 and Eliza, 4), I wanted something more flexible to fit in with family life.
Running Mumbler has been a huge change, but I’ve always been able to and happy to adapt, and I love helping families to make life easier.
Ryedale Mumbler has gone from strength so strength so when the opportunity arose to take on Scarborough & Whitby Mumbler, it made perfect sense.
Running the two sites fits in wonderfully with family life, and I am enthusiastic about helping other parents, carers and visitors find those hidden gems!
Sarah Smith, Wharfedale & Craven Mumbler Franchise Owner
I gave up my Sales Manager Role with a Blue-Chip company when I had my son in 2011.
Six years out of the industry and a daughter later, my knowledge of that area was dated so it was either retrain or put my new “Mum” knowledge to good use.
That’s where Mumbler came in! Having used the Harrogate site, I knew this was a much-needed resource in Wharfedale.
Almost two years later, I have built a business I can be proud of.
It’s flexible so I can still do every school run, sports day and Christmas play! It’s hard work but you get out what you put in. It’s the best decision I made!
Caroline Brooks, Doncaster Mumbler Franchise Owner
I have a sales and marketing background and have over 15 years experience marketing everything from colour measurement equipment with X-Rite/Pantone to clothing at JD Williams, and Steel Rolling Mills with Siemens!
I left the “corporate” world of marketing in 2016 to join Twile, a business set up by my husband. I helped steer this company towards an acquisition by a large genealogy company, Findmypast.com.
Having had a taste of working from home around my family, I undertook some freelance work and spotted STAG Mumbler.
I noticed there wasn’t a Mumbler in my area and seeing the possibility to be creative and in control of my own destiny, I did some market research and took the leap, launching Doncaster Mumbler in September 2018.
Mumbler is a fantastic resource for parents. I have two children, aged seven and five and we have found so many amazing things to do in Doncaster. It is great to share this with everyone else!
We live in a great town and it is fantastic to help promote some brilliant activities for families, plus the kids love helping me out at events and being a part of it too.
I’ve had some lovely feedback from both parents and businesses. Being a mum is hard sometimes and Mumbler can help. It’s especially rewarding helping new mums embarking on the journey – we’re in it together!
I’ve had the best nine months, and am planning for the Doncaster Mumbler Awards 2019! It’s been a lot of hard work, but I work school hours or catch up around the kids’ activities.
Being a Mumbler franchisee has far exceeded my expectations.