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Power woman or caring mother?


Firefly Communications
Sophie Mackenzie / Sophie Goodwin / Betty Ludgate
Robin Bradley
Founder of Phoenix Trading
020 7386 1565



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Core Facts

Survey* reveals entrepreneurial spirit and ambition amongst stay-at-home mothers

• 62% of British mothers say a lack of confidence keeps them away from the workplace
• 48% of mothers feel envious when they hear success stories of other working mums
• Seven out of ten Mums cited affordable childcare as a major barrier for not returning to work
• Three quarters (74%) of mothers feel a lack of flexible working conditions is a key factor in their decision to stay at home


London, UK, Wednesday 10th March 2010 Many women in the UK are desperate to find a work/life balance that satisfies both their drive to succeed in the workplace, and their desire to nurture their family.  According to a recent survey on mums and their work ethics, British mothers are searching for the elusive middle ground between ‘power woman’ and ‘caring mum’.

The research, commissioned by Phoenix Trading, looked into what could be deterring mums from returning to the workplace.  Missing out on time with the kids is cited as the most common reason for not working by 39% of mums in the UK.  Interestingly, the research revealed that nearly half (48%) of mothers admit they feel envious when they hear success stories of women with children who’ve successfully started their own business.  This clearly shows mothers still have ambition and yearn for success, but feel priorities lie with their family.

Of particular importance is that mothers cite lack of confidence (62%) and skills (37%) as reasons keeping them from returning to business, which is particularly interesting given that 81% of mothers worked full time before raising children.  46% do not go back to any sort of work after pregnancy, hinting that despite successfully juggling demands in the home, but fuelled by late nights, many women seem to lose their business edge after childbirth. 

According to the survey, three quarters (76%) of mothers who are not currently working for themselves would do so if they had the chance; in fact nearly half of all British mums (47%) are actually considering starting their own business, but do not know where to start.  Of note, is that 83% of mums in the UK would work for themselves if they knew they could work as little or as much as they wanted.  More importantly, 74% would do so if they had someone to guide them through the process of setting up a business.

When asked why women are the largest under-represented group participating in business, three quarters of British mothers (74%) feel lack of flexible working conditions is the biggest barrier.  As well as flexibility, the absence of affordable childcare (70%); the hours required to work (76%); funding from banks (48%); domestic commitments (67%); sexism (37%) and government red tape (16%) were all cited as barriers for this under representation.   

Mother of two, Robin Bradley, found an alternative to the stresses of the rat race as she set up her own company, Phoenix Trading, 15 years ago.  “Setting up Phoenix Trading allowed me to spend as much time with my children as I wanted, allowing me to generate an income, have flexible hours and have all the perks of a working life.  Setting up your own business can seem daunting, which is why we provide lots of support for those who want to set themselves up as Independent Phoenix Traders, but aren’t sure how to go about it,” says Robin.  “I hope that they can find the work/life balance that every mother aspires to discover!”

Iveta Tancheva, mother of one and founder of the social network Mums Like You, left her successful career in the City to launch the Mums Like You network.  Iveta comments: “Returning to work after becoming a mother was a particularly difficult decision.  The lack of affordable childcare and flexible jobs means that many mums need to start their own businesses as a way to balance family and work, and we see much evidence of this on Mums Like You where we have a large community of mum entrepreneurs.  Phoenix Trading’s survey clearly shows how important support and networking opportunities are in helping mums return to work”.

Additional statistics include:
- 50% want to be able to drop work commitments if their kids need them
- Only 22% cite working part time as an ideal work/life balance
- Mums in the East Midlands are less likely to be working since having children, mums in the East of England are the most
- 78% of mums would prefer to work from home, only 22% prefer an office of people
- ENDS –

* 1,000 mothers with children under the age of 18 were surveyed throughout the UK in March 2010 by Redshift Research and social network MumsLikeYou

Boilerplate Statements

About Phoenix Trading
Phoenix Trading started in 1994 when three South London based mothers, Robin, Susie and Vanessa, put a tenner each into a kitty to buy wholesale greeting cards from a local publisher. The three partners worked part-time for a year selling the cards direct to friends, family and at fundraising events for schools and charities. Now with an enthusiastic team of 9,000 Phoenix Traders and over 78 prodigiously talented artists, Phoenix Trading offers innovative products at well below what you’d expect to pay in the High Street and far more original in terms of design.
As a direct selling, independent card publishing house, Phoenix Trading has sold in excess of 100 million cards.  It donates a substantial amount of its profits to charity and has given over £850,000 to charities to date. Phoenix Trading does not sell its products through conventional retail outlets; instead it markets an exclusive range of cards and stationery through its international team of Independent Phoenix Traders. Its direct approach offers exceptional value for money without compromising on the quality of the product and design.

Key stats and facts
- In 2009, the turnover was approximately £10.3M
- Phoenix Trading currently has 100 employees in the UK
- It has just over 9,000 Traders in the UK
- The company is one of the top 10 largest UK direct selling companies
- It is also one of the top ten largest UK greeting card publishers
- Phoenix Trading currently has approximately a 1% share of the UK greeting card market which is largely dominated by American publishers who control about 85% of the market

About MumsLikeYou
Mums Like You is a new social network helping mums to stay in touch, meet other mums online and share great ideas & practical advice. http://www.mumslikeyou.com/home.php The network was launched in 2009 by Iveta Tancheva and over the past few months has grown to attract 60,000 hits per month and over 6,000 users. The website offers a range of interactive tools encouraging mums to share parenting information and advice. In addition there is an online Marketplace, where mums can advertise their companies, look for childcare or sell second-hand baby kit – all for free.  Mums Like You was rated as “Up and Coming Website’’ by the influential online magazine Web User in its “Best on Web’’ category