Tracey-Jane Hughes, founder of Bra Lady, has won the prestigious Business Mum of the Year Award. The award was announced on International Women’s Day, and recognises T-J’s achievements of growing a successful business and supporting other women in business, whilst being a Mum to her 2 boys.
T-J’s journey hasn’t been an easy one, as with most successful businesses. Juggling a young family and growing a multi-channel retail business hasn’t been easy. T-J said, “I still meet women who’ve experienced the same poor bra fitting advice that I had 8 years ago, and until that’s changed, my job isn’t done. When I grew the home bra fitting service to the online bras4mums shop when my boys were under 3 years old, I had no idea that I’d now be running 3 websites, supporting franchisees develop their businesses, and supporting more women across the UK with a variety of specialist bras.
“I was on maternity leave when I started my business, and I ran it part-time for 2 years until I was made redundant. That gave me the push I needed to work full-time on the business and grow it to what you see today. I love what I do, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to put in the hours and miss my boy’s activities more often than I’d like to. Even though working for myself is flexible and I share the childcare with my husband, it’s also very demanding.”
T-J was nominated for the Mums Club Business Award, by one of her franchisees who is a Bra Lady in Yorkshire, offering a home bra fitting service to women who’ve had breast surgery, mainly from cancer related illnesses, and ladies who aren’t able to get to the shops easily.
Mums Club owner, Jane Hopkins MBE, told T-J, “You’ve created a fabulous business that I’ve enjoyed watching grow, you’re also a fabulous supporter of others which in my eyes made you perfect for the Business mum of the year.”
T-J said, “It’s wonderful to have won the Business Mum of the Year Award. It’s really inspired me to support the Bra Lady network more, and the wider network of women I come across. Not only am I supporting women’s breasts through the online shops and the Bra Lady franchise network, I am now supporting women to set up and run their own businesses. I’m loving it!”.
From the original home bra fitting service in 2004, T-J set up the online shop bras4mums. She then grew the business to include other specialist bras for ladies who’ve had a mastectomy or lumpectomy, and has increased the bra range to suit customer’s needs through bras4all. The whole business T-J now runs from Chorley, Lancashire, includes bras4mums online shop, bras4all online shop, the Bra Lady network of franchised home bra fitters. As her support and training for franchisees has been so popular, T-J is now opening up her training and support to those who aren’t a Bra Lady. With 8 years of business experience, setting up websites and developing social media marketing, T-J is looking forward to the next step on her business journey.
“I’ve had some bad luck during my journey. I moved into business premises the month the credit crunch started and was saddled with an expensive lease for 3 years. My Mum’s cancer also returned that same month, and she died 9 months later. The all singing & dancing website I commissioned crashed 4 months after it was launched and didn’t work properly. It’s been tough!
“However tough it’s been, I still enjoy what I do, and know it’s worthwhile from the feedback I get from customers, and those business women I support. I’m delighted to be recognised outside that small group of people for what I’ve achieved over the last 8 years. It helps keep you motivated, when you come across another challenge!”.
For more information about becoming a Bra Lady franchisee, maternity and nursing bras, mastectomy bras, soft cup bras, sports bras, teen bras or other bra fitting training, contact T-J