The Mompreneur Juggle with Founder Holly Buckingham


The White Feather Coffee Co. is headed up by Bridgwater based female Founder Holly Buckingham, who is changing the narrative when it comes to building a heart lead business whilst raising the future generation. 

In this blog Holly shares more about her World as a female founder and mom to her 2 little ones. She lets us in on how she manages the daily juggle, as well as shares some top tips and advice when it comes to ‘giving ourselves a break’ for momboss that need to hear this right now. Holly shares her aspirations for White Feather and how she plans to become a leading light for small businesses taking on the ‘big boys’.

 A White Feather Coffee made by a barrista.

A Day in the Life of Holly Buckingham…

If I had to summarise my daily life in one word, I would probably say ‘hectic’. My average day involves doing the juggle around two children under the age of three. 

So I’d normally be woken up anytime from 5:30am in the morning. I try to keep the kids in bed until at least then. Between myself and my partner Steve, we tag team the dressing and feeding of our children, in between getting myself ready, and Steve off to the gym. I always look at the clock and think we have two hours to get ready. It’s loads of time. It’s never enough time with two small children in the mix! We finally are all ready and get out the door, ideally without tears and off we go to nursery, and they’re there for the day. 

From there, my days are really varied. I can be meeting people in our cafes, I can be jumping on a train to Bath, or working from home in my little box office scurrying away on my laptop. I guess that’s what I love about owning a business, and a growing business is that my days are never the same. Sometimes I crave to have a job where I just sit and I work through a list of ‘to-do’s’ then switch off. And then I very quickly realise I wouldn’t last very long at all doing that I’d be totally bored!

So yeah, and as a business owner, my role in the business has evolved since the early days. I could be working on website design, to securing finance, to working with our accountants, to meeting with staff and talking about in house developments, to spending time developing our environmental credentials. It’s really, really varied, which I love! 

My day comes to an end by picking up the kids from nursery, getting them home, fed, bathed and up to bed. I then come down to the absolute chaos that they’ve created for the past couple of hours, and tidy everything up. I then make the lunchboxes, get their clothes and bags ready for the next day as well as my own. I try to plan everything to a tee and have everything sorted ready for the following day. And then at this point, I’ll sit down and do a little bit more work. 

My partner Steve also has his own business and works quite late at night, so once he is home, and totally oblivious to the chaos that’s ensued in his absence, as we have both been up since 5:30am, it’s time for a late dinner and some sleep…if the kids allow it!

What is the one piece of advice given to you that has helped you as both a business woman and mother?

I think the best bit of advice I have recently heard, was actually an Instagram Reel. I am unsure where it originated, but I remember it was of a successful business woman speaking at a graduation event. She said she regularly gets asked, as I do, ‘I don’t know how you do it all’. 

And she said, 

‘The truth is, I don’t. When I’m succeeding in my business, I’m generally failing as a parent in some way. When I’m smashing it as a parent, I’m neglecting something in my business, and there’s no happy medium. Sometimes I’ve got to be doing a presentation or pitch for some funding or some finance, and it’s sports day, and I can’t be there. And you feel like you’re failing in that domain of your life at that point’. 

I think she just instilled that, that’s okay. Because you can’t be amazing at everything, all the time. You can’t, no one can be. But I think as mothers, we have this added layer of guilt, that is historic, and maybe prevents a lot of aspiring mombosses from taking that leap because they see it as having to choose between their kids or their business.  

Now, don’t get me wrong, my kids absolutely come first. But there have been and there will be times where I have to prioritise things within my business. But I know they’re still getting love and care from the people they are with and they are safe. I know they are learning and thriving, having fun with other children. And sometimes with nursery, I’m like, WOW you are learning so much while you are in that environment. I just think we need to give ourselves a break.

I also think it’s just being comfortable with the decision that you’ve made to follow a dream. And I think at the end of the day, my kids are seeing me do this. They have seen how hard I have worked and role modelled striving for what lights me up. Then when they have to make decisions in their lives, where they need to push themselves, they know it can be done. 

What are your aspirations for the next three years for The White Feather Coffee Co.?

So I think now that we’ve found a space where we are really solid, we know we’re doing well operating at our current venues where we’ve got a really good footfall. We’re seeing the trade increase, week on week. And obviously, there’s external factors that impact that. Sometimes we get a dip, but we can manage that because we’re at a good level now. But I think being located in those spaces has given me the confidence to push the business back out there following Covid. 

So the plan is to start taking ‘White Feather’ back to town centres, city centres, taking it back to the public, making sure our offering is accessible to all. To access White Feather at Bath Spa Train Station, you have to be commuting or travelling on the trains. At our Bridgwater Innovation Centre, theoretically, anyone can visit us, but as with similar office spaces, they don’t always feel like they are open to the public. 

So it’s really exciting to think that we can now get our White Feather brand experience back out to the masses. We’ve got some plans in the pipeline and within the next three years, and I’d like to see The White Feather Coffee Co. as a regional brand that stretches the whole of the South West UK. And then, we will be looking to go national with the brand, which is what I set out to do when I started the business – to go against the big boys. 

I think when you start looking at a regional coffee shop chain, that’s when you start to see all of our values as a business come to life; our environmental credentials, supporting local businesses, and giving people that experience when you walk through our doors. You are really starting to affect and impact a lot of people, a lot of other businesses and the impact you are having on the environment becomes so much more significant, as it’s a numbers game, isn’t it?! And that’s the point at which I can kind of step back and go, ‘now we’re doing it. This is what I set out to do, and now we’re achieving it’. 

What one piece of advice would you share with anyone looking to start their business venture?

So the one piece of advice I think I’d share. Actually, it’s something that I’ve reminded myself of on numerous occasions. And, bizarrely, it comes from Nick Grimshaw who was a Radio 1 DJ.

When he left Radio 1 breakfast show, he did a final link. He shared that his parents had always been very supportive of him. He wanted to be a Radio 1 DJ, and one day his Dad said to him, ‘Well, someone’s got to do it. Someone’s got to be a Radio 1 DJ’. 

And that would be my advice to anyone. Someone has got to be the next big footballer, the next up and coming actress, someone’s got to get that number one song. And ultimately, someone somewhere starts new coffee chains. So why shouldn’t that be me? 

We’ve all got opportunities in our life where we can choose to push ourselves beyond our boundaries. And I think my main piece of advice would be if you really want something, you CAN you can achieve it, you CAN work at it, and you CAN commit. So take that leap. Yes it’s a leap of faith, but until you’ve taken it, you won’t know and you will never know, unless you take it, and you’ll always be left wondering, what if? 

I remember, when I was leaving my job, and having a conversation with a friend. I remember saying, ‘At the end of the day, if it doesn’t work out, I can go and I can go and work in a supermarket, I can go and get a job again, it’s fine’. 

And my friend turned to me and said, 

‘Stop saying that. Stop saying that’. 

And I was like, ‘oh, yeah, that’s a really good point’. 

One of my favourite sayings is ‘the minute you have a backup plan, you’ve already admitted that you’re not going to succeed.’ And that is so true, I think that is massive. 

So in summary my main bit of advice is ‘Don’t waste your time on backup plans. Focus on the number one plan and go all in’.

Holly x