But actually, their story is not one of drama. In fact, I don’t think I’ve met a more laid back business duo. If they had any struggles in their journey to creating the show (which I’m sure wasn’t without incident), it’s just not what they focus on when they talk about the show. The story that naturally unfolded as I nestled in on Lizz’s couch was one of friendship, community and support. It all began with a baby.
Two babies actually, Lizz and Jo met at antenatal class and hit it off as their personalities clicked. Their similar outlook on parenting and life created a recipe for a deep friendship that grew as their babies did. As second babies arrived and work-life balance became more of a challenge, conversations around going into business together grew to the point of action. Lizz had been working towards creating an expo to profile the ‘Head Start’ active movement programme she had been involved in creating. When the plans fell through, she was encouraged by her boss to go through with it. So Lizz approached her best friends Olivia Shirley and Jo to make it happen. With their powers combined, 3 Mums Ltd was born – the seventh baby of the six they already had between them.
In the dos and don’ts of the business world you’ll hear a quote that says “never go into business with friends or family”. Whoever said that never met Jo and Lizz. I know for sure that I would drive my best friend crazy if we went into business so I asked them what their secret is. Lizz shared “I don’t know whether it just comes down to the personalities of the friendships? We would have pulled the pin if it looked like it was ever going to go that way because the business is nowhere near as important as our friendship”. In fact, it was depth of love and care for their friend Olivia that allowed their business trio to become a duo this year with no strain or stress. “For Olivia is was a matter of family first and of course we’re supportive of that”.
Coffee and laughter flowed as Jo and Lizz recounted bringing together their first show. There were certainly moments of excitement and anxiety. Going from a small scale plan of using a couple of courts at the Edgar Centre to needing to fill a whole arena, sure that produced a bit of a heart flutter. I could still hear the nerves in Jo’s voice as she spoke about wondering if people would even show up and her surprise at finding a queue around the corner. Gobsmacked was the word she used.
Personally, I’m not surprised. There’s just something about these girls and what they’re doing that draws you in. It’s no wonder the event has a magnetic quality to it. What determines the success of a venture, in my opinion, is the vision behind it. Plans for the show came together out of a desire to showcase the amazing services and craft talent in Dunedin. Services and products that might remain relatively unknown otherwise.
As we shared our views on the importance of support, networks and community for mums I got a sense of the passion these ladies have for giving back to Dunedin. That not-for-profits organisations can exhibit and gain exposure via their event is very important to them. I could see how much it filled their hearts to hear about friendships and connections made at the show between exhibitors. Personally, I feel that women in particular are collaborators by nature. The opportunity that Lizz and Jo give local business women and mums to connect in this way is hugely valuable. On top of that Jo and Lizz are committed to providing value to their attendees. As soon as the show finishes they begin plans for the next one and set themselves a challenge to add value and build on the experience.
At the end of the day, what inspired me the most from talking to these two energetic, kind and giving ladies was seeing that they’re having fun, doing something they love with someone they love – who could ask for more?
Inspired and ready to hit the More FM Baby and Child Show