Sara Vickery-Bragg quit her 10 year career while on maternity leave to start her business, Seventeen Minutes, a self-care subscription box for mums. Here she shares what self-care means to her.
Who are you?
I’m Sara Vickery-Bragg, mum of two and founder of self-care subscription box Seventeen Minutes.
Where do you live and with whom?
I live in North London with my husband, Ralph (an aussie who has been in London 12 years now) and our two children. Max is three years old and Olivia is 16 months.
What’s your home-life like?
Wonderfully chaotic. With two kids under four, life is pretty full on. We’re in the middle of teething, tantrums and the threenager years. With Ralph and I both running our own businesses, it sometimes feels like we’re on the go at 100mph. We’re learning how to balance business-life and home-life the best way we can.
How does your home make you feel?
Happy. I’m such a homebird and my home is my haven. Now that I work from home, I get to enjoy being at home with peace and quiet. I love taking my laptop outside and working in the garden in summer, and working from the sofa with a blanket and a cuppa in the winter.
What’s your business and how did you come up with the idea for it?
When I was on maternity leave with my second baby, I realised that returning to my 10-year career in publishing was no longer the right choice. A few months before I was due to return to work, I quit my job. I spent a while dreaming up business ideas and finally, started a self-care subscription box called Seventeen Minutes, to encourage mums to take time for themselves. I struggled with losing my identity after becoming a mother and found prioritising my own needs was crucial at points; self-care was a non-negotiable part of my routine. Then I started to look into how many other women were doing this, after having kids. It turns out that most mums need nurturing, but aren’t getting it. So I decided to build a business – based on my own experience, and using solutions I’d found – to help other mums feel better within themselves. I’m so proud that £1 from every box is donated to PANDAS Foundation UK, a charity supporting parents with pre and postnatal mental health issues.
What’s the best and worst thing about working for yourself?
I love the flexibility and that I’m able to spend a few days a week with my kids. I’m growing a small business i love and I’m more motivated than ever. The hardest thing would be not having anyone to share the load. When you run a small business on your own, you are responsible for everything, from website maintenance , branding, accounting to SEO. I’d love to build a small team at some point.
What is one of your most recent wins?
I’m ecstatic to have a piece published in the next issue of Motherdom, a mental wellbeing magazine for parents, available in September.
And one of your most recent challenges?
Budget is always a challenge for me as I started the business with just £1,000 and I’m continuing to self-fund with savings. There are so many opportunities I’d love to take, but simply can’t afford to at this stage.
How do you balance your work-life, your home-life and everything else?
Balance is such a fine line and I’m still working on it. I try to take each week as it comes and map out time to work and time to be with the kids. At weekends, we try not to work and switch off from social media so we can enjoy family time. It’s not always easy, so we try to be as flexible as we can.
What kinds of activities do you do to recharge?
I’m a BIG believer in taking time for me, especially since becoming a mother. Sometimes the simple pleasures are the best – a hot bath with a scented candle, curling up on the sofa with a good book or a magazine or binge-watching Love Island. I use Monday nights for ‘me time’ as it gets the week off to a good start. I also go to yoga, treat myself to regular facials and catch up with friends weekly. We tend to go on family walks each weekend and getting fresh air and a change of scene always makes me feel refreshed.
What’s the effect for you?
For me, it’s about doing things that remind me that I’m more than ‘mummy’ and ‘wife,’ I’m still the old me. Life with two children and running a small business is a constant juggle act so I choose activities that leave me feeling relaxed.
What’s the importance of creating opportunities for self-care?
Sometimes finding time for self-care can seem impossible but often the times I feel too busy, are the times I need it most. When I’m feeling stressed or exhausted, I benefit most from taking time to myself.
What are some of the triggers you recognise as a signal you need to make some time/space for yourself?
I’ve become disciplined with my time and these days, it’s non-negotiable. If I don’t look after myself, I don’t sleep well, I’m irritable and I’m just not as fun to be around. Ask my husband!
Share the love: Are there any self-care activities you’ve loved the sound of, but haven’t yet included in your own life?
I’ve always wanted to give meditation a go at home. It seems so relaxing and uplifting. Maybe I’ll try it for #mondaymetime next week!
If you could deliver one piece of advice to a mum feeling overwhelmed, what would it be?
Slow down and press pause. Taking just a little bit of time to work through all the things that are overwhelming you, prioritise the essentials and put the rest on a to-do-at-some-point list. Focus only on the things you need to and give yourself a break.
You can find Sara on Instagram as @seventeen_minutes