Say “Hello!” to my friend Charlotte, we met at our children’s school. She’s a Mumpreneur of two businesses! An owner/ creator of a luxury handmade cushion brand – that she makes herself – Murphy McCall and the owner of Charlotte Murphy Photography. Talk about Supermum!
Here, I will be interviewing her about her business and her family lifestyle living in Hertfordshire.
Thank you very much Charlotte for taking the time out to do this interview with us.
Tell us a bit about your business. Why and when did you start and what exactly do you do?
With photography, I studied at Cheltenham and Gloucester College for 3 years. After that, I moved back to London, and was an assistant photographers for about 4 years. I worked in lots of different areas including lifestyle, portrait, food, fashion, etc which helped me decide the area that I wanted to specialise in which was portraits. I naturally fell into lifestyle photography as well as the two are complimentary.
What is your favourite thing about working and living in Hertfordshire?
My photography work takes me everywhere – I’m just based in Hertfordshire. I am however, just launching a new branch of the photography business that will enable me to do more photography in Hertfordshire – I will soon be offering headshots from a daylight studio space in my home, predominantly for actors but also for all performers, musicians, dancers etc… or anybody really who would like or needs a professional headshot.
What does a typical day look like for you?
No two days are the same really. I may be shooting food one day for one of my clients such as Humphrey Munson – a wonderful company that makes beautiful, bespoke kitchens. They’ve a showroom in Felsted, Essex and also one in St Albans. The shoots are good fun – they make all the food in the showrooms and I photograph it for their food blog and publicity. Louisa from Humphrey Munson is a fantastic cook and we eat all the delicious food after it’s been photographed! Another day I may be in my workshop making cushions.
Have you had any big businesses challenges so far and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was probably a lot of changes at the same time. I moved out of London, the economy was changing a lot as was the photography industry – the rates had fallen and everything moving on from film to digital was changing the way the magazines worked. They were starting to buy more stock photos rather than commissioning shoots so I started to do my own shoots to submit to photo/stock libraries. And I think that’s one of the reasons I also started Murphy McCall, as I wanted to maintain a certain income, but with something that was more based at home. I had had my daughter soon after moving to Hertfordshire and found working as a freelancer trying to arrange freelance childcare quite tricky. There was a lot of juggling!
What has been the highlight of running both of your businesses?
I think the highlight of photography for me is meeting such interesting people. Over the years I’ve met and photographed many wonderful people such as Tony Benn, Mary Berry, Fern Britton, Jo Wiley. Also many authors including Freya North, who is based at Hertfordshire too. She also runs the Children’s Book Festival in Hertford.
What advice would you give to other people starting a business like photography/ or starting up a handmade luxury goods business?
Well, I think things are becoming easier now in terms of starting a handmade business as you can do so much yourself these days like building a simple website and marketing your makes on social media. But I think I will say… to have it in mind that everything will take much longer than you think, from building the website to getting the word out about your products. A year had flown by with Murphy McCall and I felt like I’d still only just started. I wouldn’t put a deadline on anything – I would have it like a loose plan so that you don’t get too stressed or disheartened when things seem to be progressing slowly. I’d also join some of the relevant Facebook groups, there are a lot of lovely, helpful and supportive people out there…. lots of advice if you need it!
Describe Hertfordshire in three words.
Green. Family. Location – I like the proximity to London.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Walking. We do a lot of walking as a family. One of the reasons I like it here.
Where do you recommend for a good walk?
Oughtenhead Common. There’s a lovely stream and a circular walk which is just the right length for both children and adults.
What is your favourite food dish: start, main & deserts?
Emm… I love food. For starter, I would narrow it down to something like goats cheese, or tempura vegetables. Main course… at home – definitely – roast chicken. Eating out – I love a good steak with salad. Deserts… anything lemony, like lemon meringue pie, sorbet, mouse. I love everything lemony!
If you had a magical power – what would it be?
Flying, it would make life easier. Every now and then I dream about being able to fly.
What was the last book you read?
The Chimp Paradox. I’ve never read a self improvement book before but I thought it was brilliant. I loved it. It really was an insight into how our minds work.
What did you think about our interview with Mumpreneur Charlotte Murphy? Isn’t she inspirational. Let us know in the comments below.
Charlotte has also kindly offered our readers a one-off discount to her new headshot venture at Charlotte Murphy Photography (www.charlottemurphy.com). Please contact her and just mention “Ethan & Evelyn” to get your discount.