Katie Piper is undeniably an inspirational figure.
The charity founder, TV presenter and mum of 2-year-old Belle has made a career out of helping others feel confident.
So we should’ve guessed, really, that a quick catch up with her about her new range of buggies would somehow turn into a lesson on making mistakes, learning from them, and following your own parenting path…
MadeForMums: You’ve been in recovery mode [Katie recently had eye surgery] – so how are you and Belle getting on?
Katie: I had [my eye bandage] taken off and it looks just like I’ve gotten into a bit of a fight. It’s funny because I’ve had loads of operations since Belle was born but this was the first one she actually noticed.
I came home and she said to me ‘ooh, are you alright? What’s happened?’ I was like, ‘yeah I’m fine I just had a problem with my eye. I popped into the doctor and they put this bandage on it’.
She was like ‘Oh okay is it all better now? I’ll give it a little kiss’ which is what I do to her when she falls over.
She kissed the eye patch and didn’t bring it up again. Now she’s at the turning point where things [like this] are standing out to her.
Did Belle have an influence on your motivation to start this range of buggies?
I guess it was based on my own experience as a mum. I was quite naïve in shopping for equipment for Belle – I didn’t realise just how expensive travel systems and buggies and strollers can be.
And because I was a first time mum I was really adamant on ‘safety first’ – and then I thought that actually the more expensive it is, the more safe it is. I probably ended up overspending.
I also felt like a lot of the stuff didn’t reflect my personality. Some of the top-of-the-range buggies, while they were really good, only came in black, navy or grey.
I was allowed to design colours you probably don’t get outside the traditional pink and blue, and the safer ones, and still keep it affordable price point.
Your range varies from £150 – £300, but how much did you ‘overspend’ when Belle first came along?
I went crazy. I went out there and I was like ‘wow, some buggies are £700 – £800. Maybe that’s what people pay!’ and I didn’t realise that was quite expensive.
If I had my time again I probably wouldn’t buy on impulse and worry. I’d probably look around a bit more.
How involved were you in the safety aspect of creating the buggies?
The designs I made went through testing and verifications. There was one feature – I wanted to put some fur around the hood – that we haven’t done because it’s still going through testing.
Why’d you pick the name ‘Believe’ for your collection?
Calling it ‘Believe’ is after my ethos for everything in my life, really – it’s all about belief and self-esteem. All the buggies come with milestone cards and a book of tips for mums all about being the best version of you that you can be.
Which words of wisdom do you wish someone had left in your buggy the first time round, then?
In retrospect, I would say: ‘It’s your journey’. So with any blog or book, it’s not about recreating that or sticking to those things, they’re very much an opinion.
In all aspects of my life, I believe if we’re being the best version of us then we’re winning. You can’t compare your journey to anybody else’s.
Whenever I’ve failed in my personal or professional life, I’ve just seen that failure as a practice for success. Then there’s actually no such thing as failure.
This advice is very relevant – especially with all the judging and mum-shaming online. Have you ever had any experience of that?
My followers are generally optimistic people who just want to empower each other, but of course you do get people [who write negative comments] when you post anything.
Parenting is such a touchy subject and everyone’s got an opinion on it so you know when you put something out there you will get people giving their opinion but at the end of the day, social media is a platform for debate.
Is that why you’ve chosen to keep Belle’s face offline?
I like to share tips and projects but I have taken the conscious decision not to put Belle’s face out there. The internet is a really positive place but there can be unregulated dark sides of the internet.
Also, with my background and my history, safety is a massive issue for me, and keeping my daughter safe.
Some people do put their kids online and that’s their personal choice and I’m sure it works out really well for them and again you cant condemn people, there’s no right or wrong.
It’s a personal decision. We’ve just decided that we want Belle to make the decision when she’s older.
Finally, how would you describe yourself as a mum?
I’m very protective of Belle. I like to think I’m an empowering mum because I like to let Belle go and let her find her way as well.
I’m a bit chaotic, simply because I’m trying to wear loads of different hats and trying to fit everything in.
Sometimes I’m a working mum, but when a project finishes, I’m a stay-at-home mum, and then two weeks later I’m a working mum doing 16-hour days.
So I’m chaotic, but I like to think it’s organised chaos. Sometimes.
Katie Piper’s Believe by My Babiie baby product range is available to pre-order now