Our first Female Founders Interview of 2019! Meet Shakira from Strong Like Mum.
Tell us a little about your background and how your brand came to be?
I created StrongLikeMum in 2015, just after my first son was born. I was constantly told during that pregnancy about all the things I’d never do again, people would say “ you’ll never sleep again”,” you’ll never be fit again”, or “you’ll never wear a bikini again”. Being active has always been a huge part of my life and I wanted to continue leading a healthy lifestyle as a mum. So I began blogging about my postnatal fitness journey and found that many mums related to my message.
For me, a well rounded healthy lifestyle goes beyond physical strength. I believe that you need to prioritise mental wellbeing, physical fitness and lifestyle equally. My expertise are in pre and postnatal fitness and I specialise in functional fitness for new mums. However I speak a lot about my postnatal mental health journey and would love to encourage more mums to join the StrongLikeMum tribe and share and support one another too.
How does Strong Like Mum Help others?
StrongLikeMum is about empowering women to know that they can create any motherhood journey they want. They can be just as active, sexy, strong etc now as mothers, as they were before. SLM encourages women to embrace who they are, whether in business, sports or their personal life.
Have you ever done anything like this before?
I used to be in the Musical Theatre industry. Performing across the UK. I’d never set up a business before however working in the theatre I did learn a lot about connecting with people and being creative.
What advice would you give to slightly nervous first time, expectant mothers out there?
My number 1 piece of advice would be, not to compare yourself to other mums, or even to any previous pregnancies/postnatal times you had yourself. Being a first time mum is an amazing ( although slightly tiring) experience. There’s a lot of changes in those early days. Remember that to be active is only part of a healthy lifestyle. Rest, recuperation, nutrition and mental wellbeing all play a part in creating overall health.
What has been the hardest thing(s) about starting this venture? How have you’ve worked around the challenges?
Time! Any mother will know that finding time to yourself isn’t easy and as a working mum with two children, finding the time to build a brand can be tough. To me, the key to success is enjoying what you do. StrongLikeMum is based on my personal experiences and I’m learning every day. I love sharing my journey and connecting with other women on a similar path.
I try to use three P’s; Passion, Patience and Persistence.
What do you predict for wellness in 2019?
Wellness is constantly changing, however we seem to be moving towards a time where people are prioritising mental health as well as physical fitness. I think this is so important and hopefully things continue to go in this direction.
I hope that any women who are experiencing postnatal depression, or other postnatal mental health issues, feel they have the resources around them to help them through that journey. Maternal mental health affects not only the mothers but also their families and it’s important that we support women through this time.
What’s been your biggest achievement in life thus far?
Hands down having and raising my children. Toughest job I’ve ever had and a constant learning curve. What I learn in motherhood can be applied not just to parenting but also in business and in sports. Perseverance, Patience and Passion!
Did you have a mentor or people you asked for advice?
I have asked tons of people for advice! I think it’s really important to be open to learning and listening to those who have experienced things you haven’t.
I think in order to succeed you need to work with people who fill in the gaps you are missing. I’m fortunate because my sister and I have very different skill sets and that has been amazing. My sister has helped me so much with the small details of putting a business together as that’s the area I find tricky.
As for role-models, both my parents have achieved so much, it’s always amazed me, especially as they both came from so little. They’ve definitely inspired me. A few athletes who have also been great inspirations for me are Jessica Ennis-Hill and Jo Pavey. Bot brilliant examples of Mama’s achieving their passions after becoming parents.
How has what you do, changed you as a person?
I’ve definitely been humbled along this journey. I’ve encountered so many great people along the way and I’m privileged to have met and worked with them all.
Also in being a mother I have learnt more then ever before. I’m a person who loves lists and organisation and I’ve learnt that sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Parenting teaches you to adapt quickly to changes and to remain calm in the midst of chaos.
If you could do any other job, aside from what you do now, what would it be?
I’d love to be an astronaut. My eldest loves space and we read a lot about it. I’m fascinated by space and we love to imagine everything that could be out there. The skys the limit right!
What’s yet to come with Strong Like Mum?
I’m so excited for 2019. I’m looking forward to growing the StrongLikeMum community and I sharing my message on a wider scale. As part of that journey I’m looking forward to developing my youtube channel and hopefully creating a podcast. There’s also some projects I hope to work on with other bloggers and brand to help inspire more mums to achieve their goals. Using fitness is a great example. Your children copy what you do, more then just doing as you say. So I believe it’s important to lead by example.
Do you have any unconventional words of advice?
“You have brains in your head and feet in your shoe’s, you can steer yourself any direction you choose”. – Dr Seuss
What is your motto?
Shatter The Stereotype
If money and time were no object, what would be on your to-do and to-see list?
I would love to create a SLM travelling podcast where I can tour the world and meet a whole range of mothers, specialists and bloggers from different walks of life. That way I can experience so many cultures and adventures whilst still connecting to my passion project. Of course I’d love my family to come with me!