We often hear great stories from women who have had their children and gone on to start up their own businesses as an alternative to returning to work. Not often do we hear stories from women, who have their own children, and start their own business pretty much the next day! But that’s exactly what Alishia Thomas did when she had her daughter last year. It’s an amazing story and probably even more amazing if you’ve had children! Everyone understands that when you’ve just given birth, starting your own business might be the last thing on your mind.
Alishia’s business is Oh Me Oh Mama which provides gift hampers for all new, expecting and breast feeding mums. Alishia says; ‘Oh Me Oh Mama is made for mamas by mamas and is a way of providing new mothers with products to help them on their new journey into motherhood…We have hampers for all types of new mamas, whether it’s someone starting out on their breastfeeding journey or for those who simply want to relax at the end of a stressful day.’
After giving birth to her daughter last year, Alishia struggled with breast feeding, and worried constantly that her child was getting enough milk and food, and feeling isolated from other sources of help, Alishia turned to the internet to find ways which she could increase her milk supply and began exploring galactagogue’s, these are natural ways that can help increase milk supply, and it was specifically herbal galactagogue’s that Alishia began to investigate.
‘I found all of these recipes online and a lot of them were Australian, there was nothing from the UK and nothing that you could go out and buy, everything had to be made from scratch. I just thought this was crazy, when you’ve got a baby, you’re tired and exhausted and making cookies that will help to increase your milk supply is stressful!’ It was cookies that Alishia first tried her hand at and she says; ‘I must have tried about 10 times to make these cookies until they were edible!’
Alishia then began to explore other natural ways in which she could help herself breastfeed, increasing her milk supply as well as making herself more comfortable in the process. She came up with a lactation tea by sourcing the ingredients that would benefit her and meeting with Phom, a Liverpool based loose leaf Tea Company who brewed her up her own blend of nursing tea! It was at this point Alishia thought; ‘There is just nothing else out there, so why I don’t I just take matters into my own hands and create something not only for myself but for other Mothers who may be in the same position.’
Alishia began to create hampers with all different types of goodies in them for breastfeeding mama’s and has now branched out and sells hampers for father’s and expecting mamas too. Some of the goodies included in the hampers are the lactation tea and cookies, silicone gel pads for sore breasts, superfoods like chia shots and the best bit in our opinion – the boobie beanie – hand knitted especially by Alishia’s Mother-In-Law, which she says is for Mother’s when they breastfeed out in public, although she’s quick to point out, it’s for the baby’s head, not a cover-up for the women! Alishia says; ‘People often shy away from feeding their children in public, and I have found myself going to the toilet to feed my baby, but now I’ve realised it’s my child and she doesn’t deserve to eat in the toilets.’
When Alishia was at home with her baby and thinking about all the different ways she could help herself and others who were struggling to breastfeed, she began to research online how to set up a business and came across The Women’s Organisation. She got in touch with us and has been working with one of our Senior Business Adviser’s; Claire Pedersen. Alishia says; ‘Claire has been an angel since the very first day that I met her. She’s given me so much advice and pointers, which is great because it’s good to have someone to bounce ideas off of, because you can get wider, fresh eyes on what you are up to.’
Last month, Alishia had her official launch party of Oh Me Oh Mama, in partnership with the charity, Kitty at The Liverpool Women’s Hospital. 10% of all Oh Me Oh Mama’s profits are donated to the Kitty fund at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital who say; ‘Kitty is our new friendly face of Liverpool Women’s Charity and from now on she will be the focal point for raising awareness of our work and particularly of the benefits we bring to the patients and families of Liverpool and the surrounding areas.’ – And of course, is inspired by the pioneering Kitty Wilkinson who fought disease and poverty in nineteenth-century Liverpool.
Now with seven different types of hampers available at Oh Me Oh Mama, it’s clear to see that Alishia has taken this opportunity to branch out her business and continue focussing on the clear brand and innovative ideas that she has for Oh Me Oh Mama. With an idea like this, we know her business will go far!
If you’d like to find out more about Oh Me Oh Mama, you can do so by following the links below, and if you’ve been inspired by Alishia’s story and would like to talk to us about starting your own business, whatever stage of your life you are at, then get in touch! Ring us on 0151 706 8111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org