What can I say, these ladies rock. Plus they’re helping other peeps and entrepreneurs to rock too. It’s really lovely featuring Cat and Gayle from Hustle+Fox on Lucky Things. I first came across them on Instagram and kept seeing their names pop up more and more. Their energy has inspired me in a number of ways. Read on to hear what they have to say about killing people with kindness, Prince and a bit of rum…
Hey Cat and Gayle. What encouraged you to set up Hustle+Fox? What’s it all about?
CAT: Hustle+Fox was born from a true meeting of minds. Gayle and I were introduced by a mutual friend and it took us about twenty minutes to decide that we wanted to launch a company that supported parents building their empires between naps and nappies. We’re both mums, we’re both self-employed, we’re both aware of the struggle that parents face everyday as they try to balance everything and we both had experience in a range of services that allowed us to offer a really comprehensive but affordable service to small and new businesses. Essentially, we’re passionate about supporting parents, especially women, and knew there was room for a business consultancy agency that was about killing people with kindness rather than engaging in cut-throat business. We offer support in all aspects of business from PR & Marketing to Branding to Product Development to Business Support to Social Media management and everything else in between. The real struggle is all about finding the time between kids and real life to actually get any work done!
GAYLE: What Cat said and I really wanted to work with someone else after working by myself for the last 15 years, it was exciting.
A business supporting other businesses. Do you manage to juggle any other day jobs?
CAT: I have a blog – www.notsosmugnow.com – although it doesn’t earn me much money! I’m working on monetising it but it’s really hard to do without sacrificing some authenticity and credibility. I guess I’ll just have to keep blogging for the love of it!
GAYLE: I have owned Carry Me Home for the last 15 years. Until until 4 months ago I had a bricks and mortar shop for 11 years which I’ve now taken online at www.carrymehome.co.uk. Balancing the shop, Hustle+Fox and being a mum is a full time job. I’m perfecting my multi tasking skills.
So, what’s the inspiration behind Hustle+Fox?
CAT: It’s simple – just to support parents through this crazy journey. With more and more of them leaving the workplace because of the inflexibility of the 9-5, there are so many creative amazing parents setting up new businesses. We are inspired by these people every damn day!
GAYLE: I love to speak to people and to help them have believe in themselves and their products . I love seeing the difference in people from when they arrive with us to when they leave.
What’s the best thing about setting up Hustle+Fox? And what’s the worst thing?!
CAT: The best thing: the people we get to meet and work with. The worst thing: working crazy hours.
GAYLE: I agree I love meeting people (I’m a chatterbox), finding connections, seeing the lightbulb moments, working with Cat, being able to share with someone else, bouncing ideas of each other, all the things I missed while working on my own.
So tell us a bit about what you guys love about where you live?
CAT: I live in South Harrow which is basically the Mordor of London. We used to be in Willesden Green but when it came to having a family and buying a house, we had to sell organs to afford a house or leave Zone 2. It was a bit of a culture shock at first, but I love our house. We spent the last month of my first pregnancy ripping it out and renovating it – with hindsight probably not the best idea but now it’s our happy place. I love the friends we’ve made here, the huge amounts of parks and green spaces and the 13 minute train into Marylebone…it’s nice to know ‘real’ London isn’t far away.
GAYLE: I live right in between Clapham and Brixton so I have options: two high streets, two travel options, two parks. I love that I can be in the west end in 20 mins and there’s a TK Maxx an 8 mins walk from the flat. I’m lucky enough to have a garden.
CAT: I live with my musician husband, Jimmy Sims (@jimmyplaysbass), our two daughters Billie (2) and Bo (2 weeks!) and our shouty, needy, Siamese cat Jasper.
GAYLE: I live with my boyfriend Dean (we’ve been together 9 years though the word boyfriend doesn’t seem enough and I don’t like the word partner) and our daughter Roxy, 3 months. Still feels weird writing daughter!
What advice do you have for parents and carers who want to encourage their little people to feel good about themselves?
CAT: Oh wow – that’s a huge question but I guess it’s all about modelling positive behaviour. If they see you being confident, kind, brave and sociable then they start to mimic that behaviour. Every time Billie, my eldest, comes back from nursery I ask her three questions: what did you do that was kind today? What did you do that was brave today? Did you do anything that you wish you hadn’t? I love having those conversations with her.
GAYLE: I’m super new at this parent malarkey, only 3 months in, so I don’t think I’m qualified to give any advice. Come back to me in a few years, luckily I’m surrounded by fabulous parents I can look to for advice.
What’s your motto when things get a bit tough for you?
CAT: This too shall pass.
GAYLE: Everything’s gonna be alright.
What’s your favourite childhood memory?
CAT: I grew up in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales in a house that my grandfather built. It was set in the most beautiful location with a river running through it. When we were kids, we’d load up a wheelbarrow with a disposable BBQ, burgers, drinks, inflatable rings and spend the summer days cooking by the river and riding the rapids. I’m pretty sure we took a ghetto blaster down too and listened to Tiffany. It all sounds a bit Enid Blyton…apart from the Tiffany bit.
GAYLE: I really had to think about this. Too many to put into one. I’m one of four kids; we were The A Team, The Monkeys , The Redhand Gang and the Von Traps all rolled into one. One memory that sticks out was the last family holiday we spent all together before my brother was too cool to hang out with his three younger sisters. There was lots of sand dune jumping and singing in the car journeys, glorious sunshine in the mid 80’s.
What have your children taught you both about life?
CAT: Oh lord…what haven’t they taught me? When I think about the person I was before kids, I hardly recognise her.
GAYLE: I’m too new at this yet , but I’d say its taught me that if you dream it, it’s possible.
What are 3 of your favourite items in your wardrobe?
CAT: This changes all the time but having just given birth two weeks ago, I’m still fairly limited in my options. I love a great pair of dungarees – my boyfriend vintage ones are probably my favourite. My Stan Smiths are my go-to shoe and my bomber jackets are current faves too.
GAYLE: I could deliberate over this for ages. How can I choose 3? It depends what mood I’m in , but mostly it’s all things leopard and black. There’s a leopard print jumpsuit that I actually tried on for a bit of a joke about 4 years ago and love it. A black leather jacket and a new reversible bomber jacket from Zara. At the moment I’m in love with my pleated skirts growing number of these seem to be ending up in my wardrobe at the moment. All things belts and jewellery can usually change up my outfits too .
What are your 3 tips for staying organised as a working parent?
CAT: 1) Write a To Do list every damn day. 2) Do one thing at a time – if you’re looking after the kids put work away. Work when the kids are away. If you try and do it all you’ll stress yourself out and 3) Ocado – get your groceries delivered. This has literally saved my life.
GAYLE: Yes write a list even if it’s little things that would normally never make it to a list like take the lasagna out the freezer. Don’t give yourself a hard time if you don’t manage to get everything done. Do what works for you: it’s been complete change for me in the last 4 months after losing the structure of the shop and now having Roxy. I have had to rethink when’s best for me to get work done. It’s a work in progress. If you’re at home make a space that’s your work space even if it’s a certain seat at the kitchen table. Write things on a calendar that everyone can see so there’s no sudden, “Aren’t we meant to be at..?!”
What would your dream weekend be if you’re on your own? And if you’re with your family?
CAT: If I was on my own I’d hole myself up in a gorgeous beachside shack and spend the weekend reading, writing, drinking red wine, doing yoga, a daily run and walking on the beach. In fact, it would be pretty similar if I was with the family too, except less reading, writing, yoga and more sand castle building and ice cream eating.
GAYLE: OK so I’m not very good on my own! I like to have someone to chat to and point things out to so if I was to have my dream weekend I would never choose to be on my own. I could have the beachside shack next to Cat ( I wouldn’t bug you I promise ha ha ha!) With my family I love hanging around car boot sales finding gems, eating fab food or hanging out at a gorgeous holiday home near the beach but with a pool too . There’s a music festival near by that we hang out at, the sun shines and we stay up late chatting drink rum.
What music and tunes are you listening to at the moment?
CAT: I’m a big fan of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. It’s been a great album through the summer. I listen to what I like and what I know so there’s a lot of Adele, Elton John, Prince, David Bowie, Bon Iver, The National…too many to mention!
GAYLE: At home I listen to all sorts. I always have the radio on. I’m one of those people that know the song but not who it’s by or what’s it’s called. I’m always singing along. I love a compilation album. If I’m out I love vocal house and all things Prince.
What grown-up tunes do you love playing to your children?
CAT: Billie’s a big fan of Taylor Swift and asks for Welcome to New York almost every day. She also goes mental whenever Human by The Killers comes on. I don’t know why or how but she bloody loves that song. George Ezra’s Cassio is a firm favourite but as my husband plays for George she’s seen the show live a number of times so she’s a big fan of ‘Georgie’ and his music.
GAYLE: Well being 3 months Roxy has no choice at the moment so is listening to me singing most of the time. I make up a lot of songs; we sing a lot in my house.
What tunes do you remember listening to growing up as a child/teenager?
CAT: There’s nothing cool about my teenage music choice but I spent all my time listening to Queen, Counting Crows, Hootie and the Blowfish, The Wallflowers…anything angsty, American and college rock. Not cool at all but I still have a soft spot for them all. My dad and I used to fight over the car radio – the only things he would listen to were John Denver (aargh!), The Eagles and, weirdly, Right Said Fred.
GAYLE: Thanks to my parents I remember Neil Diamond, Barbara Streisand and Elton John. I’m a massive Prince fan since I got his Sign of the Times album at 13 so he took over but also Kate Bush, George Michael, Tracy Chapman.
What are your 3 lucky things? (basically things apart from your close ones, that make you happy).
CAT: I don’t really have any lucky things but there’s a lot of stuff I’m grateful for everyday. I feel really lucky to have finally found my ‘thing’ – the blog and Hustle+Fox have finally made me feel like I’m really accomplishing something. I grateful for my girlfriends – they keep me sane, supported and help me stay focused on what matters. I also bloody love red wine.
GAYLE: Three things that make me happy: singing, sunshine and snogging.
Thanks to Cat and Gayle for making time to do this interview. They are both super-busy (like most of us). Cat had a baby the other week and Gayle had a baby the other month, so congrats you guys!
Check out how Hustle + Fox are helping others and their ideas and businesses over at HustleandFox.com
What did you think about this interview? What did you find a bit inspiring? How do you manage work and family life? What do you love about the people you work with? Do you have an idea or business you’d like to pursue one day? What music did you grow up with? Leave a comment below and share the blog love.
Hope to see you again around Lucky Things blog soon. Keeping hustling…. x Sunita
Photos provided by and published with permission from the lovely Cat and the lovely Gayle.