The Social Network – Meet the sisters behind hugely successful Mum’s The Word

The Social Network - Meet the sisters behind hugely successful Mum's The Word
SISTER ACT: Natalie Mcilveen (left) and Laura Swann

IN A NUTSHELL MUM’S THE WORD IS A COMMUNITY. We organise and host inspiring meet-ups and live events for women, mums and families in Tunbridge Wells and now throughout the South East. Through our events and inspiring panel discussions and supper clubs, we have brought together a community of like-minded women and mums with events that focus on everything from career and style to health and well-being. Our ultimate goal has always been to curate events that inspire, connect and empower people.

WE STARTED MUM’S THE WORD BACK IN 2016 and it came about for a few different reasons. Natalie had just moved back to Tunbridge Wells from London and was on maternity leave from her job in events. She had gone to a few networking things aimed at mums in London but couldn’t find anything similar in Tunbridge Wells. We are sisters and we’d always wanted to work together and combine our expertise in PR and events, and we thought, why not create our own events for mums? And the rest is history as they say!

OUR MAIN OBJECTIVE WAS TO CREATE INSPIRATIONAL EVENTS on key topics and trends that are really relevant to women with children – without having to trek up to London. We also wanted to bring together like-minded women who may not have met otherwise. It was also important to make our events baby and child friendly so mothers you could bring their kids along to lovely locations like One Warwick Park and the Royal Wells Hotel because let’s face it, when you become a mother you seem to spend an increasing amount of time sitting on the floor in village halls!

WE DO FEEL LIKE WE HAVE ACHIEVED OUR OBJECTIVES AND MORE – we now host meet-ups in other locations too, and work with brands like Dorset Cereals, the babysitting app Bubble and jewellery brand Merci Maman. Our meet-ups are still child-friendly but we also host a lot of evening events as the feedback we received from mums is that they are keen to go out without their kids, so they can meet other mums and chat. We tend to host more meet-ups focusing on business or more serious matters in the evening.

OUR KEY AIMS: We also want people to go away from our events feeling inspired and having enhanced their lives in some way, whether that’s just going “OK I’m not the only one feeling like that” or they go away and decide to set up their own business. It’s important to us that they leave having had a great time and tell others about it.

SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS: Social media has played a MASSIVE part in our success – apart from some small amounts of PR that we undertook when we first launched, our entire community has been built through Instagram and Facebook. We often look at the negative aspects of social media but really we’d have struggled to build up our business and presence without it, plus it would have cost us a lot more money too! But word of mouth is very relevant and important to us too, as it helps us reach new mums who might not have heard of us.

Three reasons why you should try going along…

From supper clubs aimed at empowering to social gatherings there’s always something to appeal:

1 Breakfast on the Slow Session: This was for World Mental Health Day in association with Dorset Cereals at Kingdom in Penshurst. It was a slightly extended version of our normal meet-ups and included a guided meditation, panel discussion, restorative yoga and a self-care workshop.

2 ‘Body Positive’ Meet-Up: We invited Nat Lee AKA @StylemeSunday and Megan Jayne Crabbe @Bodyposipanda author of Body Positive Power for an emotional and thought-provoking discussion. We know that everyone left with a different attitude to their amazing bodies.

3 Blogger to Brands Special: Hosted with Zoe De Pass AKA Dress Like a Mum and Laura from The Modern Nursery. This was a business focused event aimed at anyone who wanted to try their hand at blogging, or for small brands who were looking at ways to build a following and keep their audience engaged.

Fashion Re:boot

Five interesting facts about this event

Fashion Re:Boot is the brainchild of journalists/influencers Erica Davies and Ciara Elliott

Tunbridge Wells was the first town to have Fashion Re:Boot outside of Erica and Ciara’s hometown and now it has popped up in more than 20 towns and cities across the UK

You can pick up a bargain for a tenner or less!

As well as pre-loved fashion, there is also beauty, braiding, interiors, fashion boutiques, cocktails, live music and street food

Tickets cost just £5

Why should we go along?

On average every person in the UK throws away about 15 kilos of clothing a year – this is just not sustainable. The great thing about Fashion Re:boot is that it’s encouraging people to sell clothes they no longer love to people who will give them a new home. It’s a great way to make money (for the stallholders) and a brilliant way to pick up bargains for our shoppers! Plus it’s a great night out as we have a live DJ, beauty and braiding by Truffle, cocktails and street food – and lots of shopping! What’s not to love? So grab your girlfriends and get a ticket.

Tickets cost £5 plus booking fee

The Secret Manor, Friday April 26
7.30pm to 10pm

What’s next for Mum’s The Word?

We are super proud to be working with Tommy’s the Baby charity on their annual awards ceremony in July at the OXO Tower

We’re continuing our work with Dorset Cereals and will be announcing a new Breakfast on the Slow Session this month

We are also hosting our first dads focused Supper Club with Al and Jen from the DadsNet in May. We love what they are doing and are keen to help bring together a dad community as well as offering events for mums.

How two sisters became Mum’s the Word

Natalie was working as an Event Manager at The Roundhouse in Camden and has 16 years of experience in the events industry. Laura has worked in PR for 20 years and was running her own PR agency, Swann PR, mainly focusing on public relations for companies in the interiors sector. “We felt that both our previous careers lent themselves well to curating and hosting events and we are both Mums – so that’s where our insight into what’s of interest to a family-focused audience comes from!”

Why we love Tunbridge Wells

Best places to shop:

Laura: There are so many lovely places to shop. I love Botanica in Rusthall as they stock some of my favourite products including Spacemasks and Seven Seventeen candles. And you can’t beat Mink Interiors for gorgeous Scandi home finds.

Natalie: I love Bod & Ted on Tunbridge Wells High Street, they stock beautiful clothes and some amazing jewellery including some gorgeous Rachel Jackson pieces.

Best place for a coffee:

Laura: I love going to Kingdom – the views are amazing and I feel instantly relaxed.

Natalie: Langton Pavilion is brilliant too, and great for catching up with friends for coffee whilst the kids can play.

And a cocktail?

Laura: I’ve just discovered Verdigris in Tonbridge!

Natalie: Chapel Place in Tunbridge Wells also make a great gin cocktail.

Home town glory

Tunbridge Wells and the South East is full of wonderfully creative and supportive entrepreneurs. In particular Clare Lush from My Tunbridge Wells blog, who gave us a really big shout-out when we first launched, and the ladies from Jem + Bea (creators of luxury baby changing bags) agreed to be on our very first panel, which gave us so much confidence! In return we love supporting local businesses and regularly feature them on our blog. Our Supper Clubs are also usually hosted by local entrepreneurs and take place in local restaurants.

Local bloggers we love: My Tunbridge Wells, That Mum Blog, It’s the Fergusons, The Wife of Riley, Mum of Mad Lads, Ten of Zen, Katy Baker, Victoria Genevieve Styling, Tonbridge Mum.

Local brands we love: Jem + Bea, Pop Pop Papier, Freckles and Fire, RAW Copenhagen, Catherine de Crèvecoeur, Love INC, Thackerays, Truffle, OWP, Bewl Water, Woodlands Festival to name a few…

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