INTERVIEW : JANINE, owner of Family Merch

Meet Janine, the owner of Family Merch. Mum of two small chilren, programme manager for a youth charity, and she’s somehow got energy to set up her own clothing brand while on maternity leave! What a superstar. Read about what motivates her and her new business.


Tell us a little bit about yourself…

I’m out numbered, the only girl in a house of 3 males. I have 2 kids Gray, 2 years old, and Jude whose 4 months. I’ve been with my husband Lee for 18 years and we’ve been married for 8 years. We live in Surrey, but at heart I’m a town mouse and I sometimes miss the tube.

What’s your trade?

I’m currently on maternity leave from my day job as a Programme Manager for a national youth charity. However, I have recently started my own clothing brand Family Merch where I create fun slogan tee’s (hoodies and sweatshirts coming soon) that celebrate families.

View this post on Instagram

Hiya 👋🏾 to all the new followers that have come my way recently. Let me introduce myself. I’m Janine; Mama to two boys, wife to my bestie and the mamacita behind Family Merch. I started this brand a month (eek😬) ago. However Family Merch in some guise or other has been in my heart for years. Becoming a parent gave me the courage I needed to take the leap. My aim is to create fun slogan Merch that celebrates and empowers families. As a thank you for following and supporting you can get 10% all Family Merch products with code INSTALOVE10 Have a great Sunday xx #familymerch #famdemcrew – – – – – – – – #mamamaker #shopsmall #supportsmallbusiness #blackownedbusiness #instamum #mumsofinstagram #justacard #slogantee #slogantshirt #mamatshirt #mamatee #madeintheuk #mumpreneurs #freelance #selfemployed #mama

A post shared by FAMILY MERCH (@familymerch) on

What made you choose your career?

I studied fashion business at Uni. While studying I worked for a local youth work charity. When I graduated I was offered a senior role at the charity which I took and moved up through he ranks at various youth charities. However I’ve always been creative and would sometimes make my own clothing. I wanted to have my own brand, so I took the plunge this year and launched Family Merch in June.

How your attitude towards work changed since having kids?

Absolutely! My priorities for work have changed. I’m more ambitious now but my goals are very specific. My work must fit in with my family and enhance our life not drain it. I think that so often we spend a huge amount of time at our desks beevering away and their is nothing wrong with that if it makes you happy. I was fine with that for a long time but having my kids has shifted my goal posts. I want to see more of them and for them to see me kicking ass at work doing something I love. I’m hoping it will inspire them to go for their dreams.

What’s your morning routine look like?

If you work from home, what does your morning routine look like? I’m on mat leave so I don’t have much of a commute right now, does the kitchen count? My morning routine very much revolves around the boys. Jude wakes around 4 for a feed once he’s fed and back to sleep I head into our home office and try to respond to emails, check on stock or orders, I’m currently working on the autumn winter collection or I crack on with any other Family Merch admin. The boys wake around 7 so I down tools for a bit to get breakfast, play games with them and unload the dishwasher before we head out for the day.

How do you balance childcare and working?

This is a huge struggle for me right now I get very frustrated that I’m often checking emails or social media when I’m with the boys. Gray is at nursery 1 day a week so I try to get as much done on that day. I also work when they go to sleep. Finding a bit more balance is something I’m working on, any suggestions are welcome.

In 10 years… where do you see yourself?

I’d like to be working on Family Merch full time with a few employee’s supporting, so it’s no longer a one woman show. I’d also love to see Family Merch stocked in other retailers

Best piece of business advice…

Feel the fear and do it anyway. Fear is such a barrier to progress. Feeling scared is normal but I guess it’s about being determined not to letting that fear hold you back.

Tips on managing the juggling act…

Not really a tip but more of my philosophy: if you could imagine work and family on a set of scales the balance should always tip slightly more towards family. Careers are important and it’s great for our children to see us on the grind and achieving but ultimately it’s family that matters. Not to be morbid but when our time is up how do you want to be remembered as the person that always stayed late to get extra sales or what ever or or a wonderful parent?

Want to find out more about Family Merch – say visit their website and say hello to them on social media:

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