WHAT IS IT ACTUALLY LIKE TO RUN A START-UP AND A BABY?

by Ieva Zu

If I was featured on ‘Stylist’ column Work/Life this is how it would look like

WORK LIFE: IEVA ZU, FASHION BLOC FOUNDER, JOURNALIST AND TALENT SCOUT

Ieva Zu, 31, (the last name is shortened for the convenience) is a founder of a tech fashion start-up Fashionbloc.co.uk – an online platform uniting hand-picked fashion designers from Central and Eastern Europe. She lives in London, Shoreditch, with her fiancé and a 7-week-old son Alex.

“People are always caught by surprise when they find out that I just launched a start-up which is 2 weeks younger than my son. I do get confused who was born first and I admit – my whole life is a start-up now. I am a first time mum and a first time entrepreneur. Both at the same time.

I have been working as a fashion head-hunter in luxury industry for the last 3 years before going on maternity leave and now my routine has changed completely. There are no boundaries between what is life and what is work anymore. And I am going to reveal how does a day in a life of a new mum/new entrepreneur look like (deep breath).

12am – Feeding time. Although it is still the end of the previous day for me, technically, it is a start of a new day. I feed Alex just before I go to sleep. I do this in my bed trying to check last emails and Social media feed (usually, Twitter) on my iPhone. I will put my iPhone under my pillow (essential) and put Alex back to sleep.

I will be woken up by Alex at around 3.30am to change his nappy and feed him. Paul (his beloved father) will sometimes change a nappy while I still try to catch my last seconds of sleep before waking up to feed and work. I spend the next 30-40 minutes answering emails (at the inappropriate hour) and reading latest research on shopping behaviours. Burp.

6.30am I open one eye to see Alex’s father changing his nappy while struggling to open my second eye. In about 30 minutes, Alex lying next to me, I make myself sit up in a bed, put my son on a breast and read my morning emails, Twitter feed, news. In one hour we’re out of bed. I take a Speedy Gonzales shower while Alex entertains himself (by trying not to cry) in a pram. I will do my make up and hair with Alex sitting next to me in a bouncy chair.

10am – nappy changing and second morning feed time. I try to spend more time with my son around this time as he enjoys morning ‘shower’ (tipping and tailing) and smiles at me. This is my favourite time of the day.

Around 11am we leave home for a meeting (usually already late). We don’t go far from home – people come and meet us in Shoreditch where we live. Thank you, people. We meet and talk business. Alex will usually sleep for at least 2 hours before we go back home. I have my first meal of the day during the meeting. My apologies, people.

Around 1.30pm we are back at home to do some serious work. Nappy changing and feeding again. Browsing Internet while feeding, browsing competitors, analysing their Internet traffic and user data, answering emails. Alex falls asleep. For the next two or three hours I sit and work. I research editorial content for Fashion Bloc, review new collections, contact new designers, discuss marketing ideas with my marketing manager, talk to developer, until my work is interrupted with a gradually increasing speech of dissatisfaction. Time for feed and nappy change.

Around 4pm after Alex has been awarded with a clean nappy I put him in a baby-bjorn and try to make myself something to eat OR do the laundry OR exercise a little OR work (if there is an urgent matter). In about half an hour I will feed Alex and put him on a playing mat so we could enjoy some privacy. It will last for 20 minutes. I’d go to the loo and maybe eat something (if I actually managed to prepare anything). No, I don’t have my trips to the bathroom scheduled but it happens so that I can only go there when my son is not on my lap.

The next feed will start at 5pm-5.30pm and this might be the start of a wonderful 60 minutes out-and-about with my dearest companion Paul. Sometimes. We might even have dinner with friends, which will end with me heading home before it’s over.

At around 7pm my son will start filling up before a nights sleep thus for the next hour I feed-change nappy-feed, with my iPhone handy when appropriate.

8pm Alex is in bed. It is time for dinner (if the 5.30pm didn’t happen) or work. I would work for the next 2 to 3 hours before falling asleep on a sofa next to my fiancé. Sometimes we watch a documentary or an episode of Game of Thrones/The Office/Modern Family/etc. (these are shorter than an average movie thus more acceptable).

I will have a nap with my mobile phone under a pillow if I happen to be in bed before 12am.”