Jacqui Ma combines a full time job at trend forecasting hub WGSN with the management of her own business Goordering, AS WELL AS being a mum to Otto, age 3. She tells us how she incorporates her design career into her everyday family life...
Tell us about Goodordering
Goodordering is a range of stylish yet practical cycling accessories. The bags are fun, affordable, and versatile – our handlebar bags have even taken on a new life as buggy bags!
When, how and why did you decide to start your own company?
Goodordering ended up being incorporated in the same week my son was born in 2012! I had started designing the bags about a year before I got pregnant, so I used the time on maternity leave to officially start the business. I was using a satchel on my buggy on maternity leave and people would ask me about it and compliment the design, so I realised it was a useful versatile product.
I live above a bike shop in East London, and I tested the bags downstairs so I could get feedback from relevant customers. Since then the range has developed into a variety of bags for the whole family – we now have a kid’s rucksack too! Goodordering is almost the opposite of fashion: the range is built on a core range of staples. There’s no reinvention each season – a small company can’t keep up with that level of change. I’ll look at updating colours or tweaking designs, but we’ll stick to our classic look and feel.
What tips would you give to women who want to make the most of maternity leave?
There’s a lot of stigma about being ‘just’ a mum. But being a mum is hard enough! Mums shouldn’t feel pressurised to ‘create’ something or change careers if they don’t feel they can. For me, I chose to start something because I needed it – I wanted something to help me cope. Each day we’d do something for my son, and something for me too. We did the research together, visiting shops and planning ideas, and building in what elements I could into our maternity leave routine.
If you want to start something on maternity leave, don’t think about how you can fit in the extra time to do the work. Instead, think about how you can incorporate it into something you can do together. I really found that it stopped me from doing the same old thing every day, and gave me an excuse to go out and look for different activities each week.
And don’t be afraid to go back to work. After maternity leave, I went back to my job in Trend Forecasting at WGSN and I felt euphoric! I loved simple things like seeing my friends and eating lunch without feeling nervous – using both hands to eat, taking my time and not worrying about how long I had before my baby needed me again! Since having my son, I don’t do crazy hours but when I’m there, I’m there. And I’ve even had a promotion. We’re lucky because there are lots of women with families working at WGSN, so they’re very understanding.
I’d also recommend cycling! It’s great for me because it’s totally separate from the world of babies. And for me, it’s efficient because it’s practical (gets me to work!) and gives me a way to get exercise into my day.
Tell us about trend forecasting! What’s the next must-have?
I’m currently looking at 2017/2018 jewellery trends. We think there will be more interactive elements in the future, like products that can change depending on how you want to wear it or what mood you’re in, there is also going to be much more emphasis on fine jewellery over costume jewellery. My job is really interesting – I look at emerging designers and cultural trends to work out what’s going to be happening in the future. 6,500 businesses globally use our reports to plan, buy and design collections.
Who else is doing accessories well?
I love a brand called One We Made Earlier. It’s a husband and wife jewellery brand with a mid-century feel – very simple but consistent. They do one thing and do it really well and it’s clear they know who their customers are.
Where do you shop?
I always find something in &other stories and cos. It’s so effortless and I feel I can grab anything in that shop and it makes me feel like I look decent! Dark Room in Conduit Street is a great design shop too.
Are there any other mums out there you admire?
My sister-in-law Suz always seems so composed and focussed on being a mum. Her and my brother still manage to travel the world, eat out and look great with their 6 month old! Also, one of my ex-colleagues, Alice, started the kidswear brandOm Baby while she was on maternity leave too. She uses Indian fabrics to create children’s clothes like harem pants, which are really creative.
Where do you like to hang out in London?
We’re so lucky with parks in London! I love Victoria Park, with its Pavilion café and amazing coffee! We also spend lots of time at Ironmongers Row swimming pool – it has a family changing area and a lovely warm pool for kids.
What’s next for Goodordering?
We’ve just started personalised bags – they’re great for kids and gifts! And I’ll be thinking more about our bags as more versatile products – how we can push them as buggy bags or stylish accessories, as well as being cycling accessories. I’m also keen to get them to different regions especially the USA.
As our range is versatile and unisex, we can look at how we appeal to mums and dads as well as cyclists. I love the Scandinavian ‘metrosexual’ attitude – a lot of products there have a unisex feel that suits our brand, so I’ll be thinking about this and how we can expand into different markets.
Browse the Goodordering collection for yourself here: http://goodordering.myshopify.com/
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