Inspired by her own breastfeeding experience when she struggled to find practical and stylish breastfeeding-friendly clothing, Sophie Peto set out to design and create a range that would help and appeal to other mums. At Me and You Baby, they are committed to providing women with stylish clothing options for everyday life that support the breastfeeding journey. All of their clothes are responsibly sourced, vegan friendly, hand finished and printed in the UK. They are committed to sustainability in everything they do, from the clothing items they sell to the packaging they use. Here Sophie shares her business journey so far with The Natural Parent Magazine.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
Me & You Baby started with my own personal breastfeeding journeys. I am Mum to two little boys, Leo and Felix; my breastfeeding experiences couldn’t have been more different with each baby. Leo is my oldest and I had plans to breastfeed him from the start, but try as we might, we just couldn’t get ‘it’ right. I found expressing milk for him was the next best option, but I was constantly expressing! I was completely unprepared for the situation and I had absolutely nothing suitable or practical to wear. Thankfully, Felix and I were able to breastfeed. Looking back, it was an amazing experience and I am so grateful that we could, but he absolutely wouldn’t take a bottle or entertain a dummy, so we fed and fed and fed. Both times I felt that nice clothing options were non-existent and so I ended up buying a few tops, which I wore on rotation for months.
Neither experience was how I imagined it would be and when I look back now at those early years, I realise that I didn’t really know who I was anymore. There are loads of reasons why: I had a body changed by pregnancy and c-sections; I didn’t ‘snap back’ into my pre-pregnancy clothes and I didn’t feel like the clothes available were me.
Once I had emerged from the chaos of life with really little babies, I started to think about creating something to help other mums feeling like me. I have a design and marketing background and loads of business experience and Me & You Baby was born.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
In a sense Me & You Baby is actually a product of the pandemic and the lockdowns. For most of us, day-to-day life as we knew it more or less stopped. I was working from home initially. The children were with me and that was difficult to juggle, but life definitely slowed down during that period. I was able to step off the hamster wheel of trying to balance work and motherhood and I really took some time to take stock.
I had always wanted to start my own ‘something’ and the idea for Me & You Baby came during chitchat with a friend. Once the seed had been planted, the idea grew and grew. I am a very visual person and I started to imagine colours and designs and how the website would look. I also knew I wanted the brand to be sustainable; I didn’t want to add to the problem fast fashion causes the environment and so I researched. I really believed that Me & You Baby was something I could get off the ground that could help other Mums like me.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
I would say that the biggest breakthrough for me isn’t a supplier or a design idea or a piece of equipment, although those things are super important. It has been the women that have stepped up for me and the support that I have received from them.
Some are women I have know for most of my adult life, some are women I have met since I had my children, some are connections I have made during the last year on social media and some are women I have met as business connections since I started Me & You Baby. All of them have been supportive, giving their time, their feedback and their innovation to me and my business. They believe in me and have encouraged me. In fact, their help and support has been absolutely invaluable.
My biggest breakthrough has been the connections I have made and continue to make and for that I am eternally grateful.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
This can be tricky as my husband also runs his own business, so sometimes it is a juggle! We are lucky to have supportive families that step in when they can to help.
We are both very passionate about what we are doing professionally and we are both much happier now than when we were working our 9-5 jobs. So the juggle is absolutely worth it and I would say that the balance is actually better since I have been working for myself.
I am really glad that my children have seen me growing my business from scratch. I hope the message we are teaching them is to follow their dreams in life and to believe in themselves. I hope they see us working hard, being happy and building businesses that we absolutely believe in.