Antonia writes; I have been following @hellotreaclestore on Instagram for a while now and was thrilled when Amy Gilbert, the artist behind all this awesome stuff agreed to an interview. What I love about Hello Treacle is her message of positivity. Her positive pants pins always make me laugh and her IVF milestone cards are a beautiful way to celebrate what I would imagine to sometimes be a challenging journey for many families. It is incredibly difficult to strike the balance between comedy and relatability, especially around sensitive topics, but Hello Treacle is that rare find. Amy is also a mum to two very young kids so I just had to quiz her on how she started her business and what inspires her.
What’s your name and what’s your business name?
I’m Amy and my business is Hello Treacle
What’s the reason behind the business name?
I wanted something fun, a little cheeky, but broad enough that I can go where the wind takes me.
When did you start you business and why?
My Etsy shop
launched in autumn 2016. We were trying for our second baby and I was feeling the pressure in my day job, so I decided to do something creative which would help other women and would-be mothers.
Was there an ‘ah ha’ moment with starting your business or you slowly got suckered in?
I don’t quite know. My “Your uterus is being an idiot” card
was my first design and first sale, and remains my favourite card. Once I had a reasonable amount of feedback under my belt I decided to invest in the first print run of my IVF milestones. That was a game changer for me because I started to build relationships with my customers, some of whom I’d now call friends.
Who comprises your family, including pets and ages of child/ children
My husband Adam – met at school, dating at 21, married at 26
Daphne, 4 this month, Frey, 3 months ish
And three cats – Trix, Coco and Lilah
What’s the reason for the passion behind positivity? What’s your business’s message?
Life is often hard and shitty enough without us being down on ourselves, too. Depression and mental illness means that pulling on a pair of positive pants may not even scratch the surface and I hope that my message doesn’t trivialise the significance of mental health conditions.
But, I’m the girl who likes smiling at strangers and telling the bus driver to have a nice day. Spreading just a little bit of happiness as you go about your day makes a massive difference to other people’s lives.
And I believe you can achieve almost anything if you believe you can. Tell me about your IVF cards and have you had any stories from people who’ve bought them?
Well, a few years ago a really good friend said she wished she had a nice, fun way of documenting her IVF cycles. We came up with the milestone cards
as a result and I spent time discussing them with other IVF mothers and would-be mothers to ensure the humour, bright tone and colours kept them smiling throughout.
What’s your feelings about social media? Do you feel more connected? Does it help your business or do you feel a constant sense of duty to be ‘ON IT’.
Sometimes I feel like I’m permanently ‘on’, but it kinda goes with the turf – being a WAHM mum means you grab time to work whenever you can – I’m giving up my day job to spend more time with my littles, so I grab half an hour or so here and there, be that 6am or 11pm.
More than that, I’ve built amazing friendships with some of my IVF milestone
customers. I do occasionally spend evenings joining in online chats, or direct messages with updates about how they’re doing. It’s an absolute privilege to be a part of something so special and personal.I can see you’ve got Vegan badges, are you vegan and why ?
Yes, I am vegan. I took the plunge last January. My daughter has a cows milk allergy and I’ve spent many hours researching the impact of animal products on the body. I’d been contemplating it for a long time, but wasn’t ready to give up some foods, but when I learned about Veganuary I just decided to give it a go! I expected to last all of two weeks without cheese and yogurt, but I lost weight, started sleeping better and my skin improved massively.
About two weeks into January I decided to do a bit more reading about the dairy industry because I think I’d been consciously ignorant to it for some time. When I learned about the life cycle of dairy cows I knew that was it for me.
What sort of mum did you think you’d be vs what sort of mum are you?
This is such a good question! I think I was open minded to just winging it! Haha! That said, the environment matters a great deal to me, so I knew I’d be a cloth nappy mum and I was super excited about baby wearing. I was also determined to breastfeed, which remains a rocky road with the Tiniest Treacle, but was very short lived with Tiny, for various reasons.
In reality I’ve grown loads as a person and a parent. I’m as gentle a parent as I can be, I believe that children should be free, listened to, respected and encouraged. I also try to raise my children as gender neutrally as possible, though now have a 4 year old daughter who is obsessed with pink and princesses – I find comfort in the knowledge that she discovered and chose them for herself and it was not due to my influence.
What’s your dream for the business?
Oh goodness, another great question. I don’t suppose I’ve thought about the big dream. I’m already living the dream I started with! I think I’d eventually love to have a shop, or maybe a studio somewhere with a couple of employees to work with. In an ideal world I’d like to employ people returning to work, or young creatives who want to learn about setting up their own indie business – a stepping stone to their own dreams.
If you could write something on a billboard what would it be?
‘If you never try you’ll never know’
What can we, the Mumvoice community do to support you?
Tell me more about the boobie pins…
Two months into my breastfeeding journey with my son I already felt like I bloody well needed to give myself a pat on the back. So many hurdles, so little energy, sometimes running low on will and yet I somehow managed to keep going. I know too well that many mothers don’t feel able to persist and this has been a very different experience to the one I had with my daughter, who was by this point entirely formula fed, despite my best intentions.
Anyhow, all this got me to thinking about how we should be celebrating boobs more. Be that a breastfeeding mother, a woman’s appreciation of her own boobs, perhaps someone overcoming low esteem and poor body image. We should be celebrating the girl who finally got that boob job or reduction, and we should certainly be celebrating each warrior’s strength in facing a far too common battle with breast cancer. Let’s celebrate those tatas and the female form in all its imperfect perfection!
Antonia writes; Have a look at Amy’s kickstarter campaign to learn all about her boobie- love and how you can support her campaign and her products. I think you’ll agree Amy is utterly inspiring. Her authentic voice speaks volumes and I’m so pleased I’ve had the chance to interview her for the blog. Here’s all her links below. Go and show her some love and let’s get those boobie pins on the market!