'Mumpreneur' scoops award for stirring success

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JUGGLING work with looking after kids is a tricky act for any mother.

Which makes the achievement of award-winning tea-maker Anna-Louise Simpson all the more incredible.

With her Iphone strapped to a double buggy, the enterprising mother-of-two conducts virtual business deals all over the world while enjoying a leisurely stroll in an Edinburgh park with her children.

And after just two years of trading, and with a string of UK supermarket giants stocking her Mama Tea product, former corporate lawyer Mrs Simpson has just been named the UK's top "Mumpreneur".

She scooped Best Start-Up Business at the awards which honour pioneering businesswomen with a family who are breaking new ground or achieving huge success in their industry.

Like most innovators, Mrs Simpson, from Cramond, uncovered a problem and set about finding a solution.

In her second pregnancy, she had visited health food outlets for morning sickness remedies, and later relief from post-natal depression. While the special teas she found alleviated her symptoms, they tasted foul and so began a crusade to blend therapeutic but quaffable herbal teas for expectant mothers.

She was aided by a German tea blender, who helped scour the world for ingredients before they settled on five caffeine-free herbal infusions that have lured a host of prominent wholesalers. She now sells Mama Tea to markets in South Africa, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Spain, France, Italy and Barbados.

Today, the 36-year-old lifted the lid on life as a business-mum.

"It's very difficult balancing the two," she said. "Being a stay-at-home mum is the most difficult job I have ever done. Just doing the same thing every day, and playing with things like play doh, means you do not have much for yourself.

"With the business I have grown, it feels fantastic to be doing something for myself and spend time with the kids. "That is probably what drives many of us Mumpreneurs."

The awards bash aims to recognise the achievements of self-employed mums and encourage others to try their hand at business.

A spokesman for the event said: "As far as all the judges were concerned, Anna-Louise was the clear winner in her category."

Mrs Simpson says the internet is like a "big international shop" and credits the web for her burgeoning success.

"It would have been very difficult to market without the internet because I wouldn't have received the exposure. Now I can reach out to other markets in many other countries but my ambition is to make it an international brand. I have made the teas taste so good that I don't think it will be a problem and the next step is to start employing people." Ideally, she said, "her dream" would be to package the product in Scotland so jobs could be created locally.