WOMEN OF MARLOW | Megan Hutchison
For most of my life, I thought I was going to be a lawyer, and I was for a while, but after a few years realised I was much more passionate and excited about other things. I knew I wanted to have a family, and that it would be hard to balance a law career and young children, alongside my husband’s irregular hours, so 9 years ago I pursued an idea and I’ve been a small business owner ever since. The business began as a very simple wedding blog, and after my own wedding I self-published a wedding planner book, which became the basis for what is now Forget Me Not Journals. I’ve also now been a Mum for almost 5 years, and I’m happy to say that I found the work-life balance I wanted, it’s absolutely a juggle but it’s a privilege to be able to juggle two things I love doing - working on my own business and looking after my two preschoolers.
What inspired you to start creating your keepsake journals?
The business has certainly evolved over the past 9 years - but at its essence it's always been about celebrating and recording life’s most important moments and milestones. It began with weddings, and grew with my own journey, through pregnancy and having babies, and now moving into the next phase of life - with my oldest about to start school, the concept of recording life’s fleeting memories in a tangible form has always been important. Having lost my parents when I was younger, I really value the physical items I have to remember them, in particular, a diary left behind by my mother has served as a cherished treasure, inspiring our most popular collection—a range of 14 journals designed to chronicle a lifetime of memories for children and grandchildren.
However, even before that, I’ve always written in diaries, loved making photo albums, record keeping - something my Mum also did for most of her life, so I think there’s a penchant for preserving memories etched deep into me! I don’t have a great memory, so I rely on photos and diaries to remember a lot of my life - I want to make sure I remember the days while my children are young, and also leave them something to remember me.
Pictured: Day Off Knit Maxi - Cypress
As a busy, working mother to two, how do you balance work with family?
Admittedly, it’s getting easier and easier, as my two children are now at preschool and also gaining their own independence - but there are still never enough hours in the day. My husband is an incredible support, when he’s home, and I definitely get most of my work done on the days where he can help with the early mornings, the drop offs and the sometimes-stressful bedtimes! I choose to work from home, and have a couple of younger girls who help me with some of the every-day running of the business, such as personalising books and shipping orders. I just do as much as I can with whatever time I have, and try not to feel guilty that I never quite do as much as I'd like to - my children will only be this age once and it’s more important that I’m there for them when I can be.
What is your typical working day?
I usually go straight from preschool drop-off to the gym, and then properly start the day at 9:30 with coffee and emails. I’m a bit of a control-freak, so although I have help with orders, I find it very hard to let go of social media, emails, and my wholesale relationships, so I do all of that myself. My business relies heavily on content creation, so the day is peppered with taking photos of orders, organising shoots for new products, working with influencers and other content creators, and then feeding that content through to our social media and also to our stores, to help them sell our journals too.
I would say my day-to-day life is not especially exciting, most days looking much like the previous or the next, but I also have a great network of other women in business who I catch up with or talk to, and I still never get bored of the challenges that arise even from the mundane ’day-to-day’.
Preschool pick up is around 4pm, so it’s not a very long working day - I often can’t believe the day has gone so quickly by the time I have to get back in the car and completely shift from work-mode to Mum-mode, and it’s going to get even shorter soon (with school hours)! I have to be time efficient and stay motivated throughout the day, which is sometimes easier said than done.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
We get the most wonderful feedback from customers, it is truly the most incredible blessing to know (and hear from customers) that you are helping them record precious memories, sometimes from older family members who may not be around for much longer, but even to know that you’re contributing to someone’s memories with their own young family - it’s a huge joy to be a part of a new parent’s journey, recording the most incredibly precious, fleeting days.
What are your future goals and aspirations for Forget Me Not Journals?
Great question! I am very much a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of person (the opposite to my husband) and I take each day/week/month as it comes. I do have aspirations or dreams of things I would love to design and publish, but I also very much live in the moment, and I don’t have set goals, timelines or plans for the future. I know that is the polar opposite to many business owners, I do have ADHD and that’s something that can both help and hinder business owners - I’m not great at future plans but I’m incredibly proud of all I’ve done so far, and know that there are many more wonderful things to work on in the future.
What are some essential items in your wardrobe that you rely on for both work and personal occasions?
I heavily rely on knit dresses, textured t-shirts and beautiful linen pieces to pull my wardrobe together most days. I love to wear different colours and textures, I’ll always choose an olive green or navy over wearing black, and I love to start with a dress and accessorise.
What is on your Marlow wishlist at the moment?
Marlow’s colour palette of earthy neutrals and greens are my wardrobe goals! I love how well all the pieces are easily worn together. You also have exceptional pant options - I love the split front ‘Focus Pant’, the ‘Recharge’ wide-leg casual pants, and the linen ‘Resort Pant’ - all paired with a textured olive green linen tee. I wouldn’t usually choose a vest, but I loved seeing your designer wear one on our shoot day, so that’s on my wishlist now too, it works so well with both a casual blue jean or a more formal dress.