The Curious Life of a Mummy HQ meets the lady who shares our passion for a showtune or two, presenting the very talented Anna Unwin, the founder of Baby Broadway.
Anna is a true Mumspiration after her passion, experience and entrepreneurial spirit lead her to starting this fantastic business. Anna reasons for starting echo why so many of us work for ourselves. Be prepared to be dazzled.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m originally from Yorkshire but now live in East London. I genuinely can’t remember how old I am next birthday – I think it’s 35? Best not to think about it. I have one daughter, Imogen, who is two and half and rules the roost in our house. I have a degree in Music and still play my cello – occasionally!
Tell us about Baby Broadway and what gave you the idea to start?
Baby Broadway is a family concert of showtunes performed by West End singers aimed at adults, babies and young children. We perform all over London, Herts and Kent every month and you can expect to enjoy songs from Mary Poppins, Grease, Oliver, The Sound of Music, Annie and many more from shows and Disney films (including, of course, Frozen…). We also do Baby Gospel concerts where an amazing gospel choir performs soul, Motown and gospel.
I started the business because I didn’t have a job to return to after I had my daughter, and I wanted something flexible in the arts. I love all kinds of music and explored many of the amazing events on offer in London for parents and children. We enjoyed jazz, classical, folk and even world music together, but I noticed that no one was performing musical theatre. I had worked for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s company for six years so had a few contacts in the West End. A friend and I put on a concert locally for charity to try out the idea – we had a full house and great feedback, so I took it from there!
Describe your typical day?
I work very flexible hours but roughly do 20-30 hours a week. Many of these are during naps or in the evening, but Immy goes to a childminder whenever I need a longer stretch of time. On these days I’ll plan future concert dates, prepare all the music, secure venues, produce flyers and programmes, update the website and social media, arrange rehearsals and book performers. I do everything except perform – I leave that to the professionals.
On a show day, I’ll drop my daughter at the child minder before making my way to the venue for a 1015 set up and sound check. We start at 1100 and finish at 1145am so after clearing up I’m usually home just after lunch.
What is the best part of your job?
It’s fantastic to look around during concerts and see the happy faces of people having a great time with their children. I know from personal experience of parenting that sometimes things can be a little tedious with small children, and I get lots of comments from people saying they enjoyed it just as much – if not more – than their children, which is great.
I love deciding the set list and rehearsing with the singers, it’s great fun. I’m lucky to have a group of superb performers, all with West End experience, who never let me down and are a pleasure to work with.
What do you think it takes to be a Mum boss?
I think you have to be conscientious – the only person that is going to do the work is you. But you have to be able to switch off from it too, and enjoy the benefits of working for yourself i.e. time with your children.
How do you find the balance between running a successful business and raising a family?
I think if I wanted to, I could do more shows and work more hours but I love the balance I have at the moment. We generally only do shows on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays over two weeks of the month, and I don’t always have to be there now that I’ve built a great team. This means I really enjoy the shows when they come around, and have plenty of free time to be with the family. My husband has been a great help – I couldn’t have started the business if he wasn’t working full time to support us.
Who are your Mumspirations?
They’re everywhere! I have inspiring friends who are raising kids on their own or who have suffered miscarriages. I’m amazed by fellow mums I’ve met who have started up small businesses, like Forivor organic kids bedding (http://www.forivor.com/), or who balance the nursery/school run with pursuing their career. Also women who have given up work for now to purely focus on raising their kids. Hats off to all of them – everything is one big juggling act for parents.
After work, how do you find time to relax?
I enjoy the theatre or seeing a concert when I can. Sometimes I play cello in a friend’s band. I am a vague member of a netball team. I have to be honest though, most of the time though it’s through the world of box sets and TV dramas!
What are your top five tips for starting a business
- If you come from a world of work where things had to be done a certain way, be free of it! Be true to yourself instead, and trust your own judgment.
- Build a great team or network around you.
- Delegate, where possible, the stuff that isn’t a good use of your time.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are some amazing communities out there who are open, friendly and helpful – online and offline. Start with Facebook groups.
- Remember why you’re doing this – if it’s for a better work/life balance then don’t forget the balance!
If you want to find out more about Baby Broadway, please click here to read my review or see the links below.
Dates, Venues and Times: