The Up Rise of the Kitchen Companies
It is interesting how the world has shifted. Is it plausible that the Mummy's of today are the first generation of women who are, in more ways than one, running the household? The old fashioned phrase "A woman's place is in the home" seems ever more appropriate with the rise of the 'kitchen company' phenomenon. The kitchen has transformed into a new workspace, and the husband has become the new partner. The 'business of family' has never been more apparent as the first generation of entrepreneurial couples live, work and juggle family life - together; making it possible for women to embrace both an Entrepreneurial role as well as the 'Mummy' role within the family. With inspiring businesses such as "Mum's Net" and "Net-a-porter" arising from the kitchen and quickly becoming market leaders in today's 'online' world, women have realised that an 'I can' attitude means that having a family and running a business can now literally be laid out on the kitchen table.
It used to be that families would survive with Mum looking after the household while Dad works all day long. This is no longer the case and it feels, to me, like we are the first generation of Entrepreneurial Families with both men and women juggling both home and business to make their mark in the world. With no precedents for this, we have no option but to venture forth making our own mistakes along the way since there is no model to follow as laid down by our parents of previous generations. If you were one of the few kids to have both parents out in the work place and running their own businesses then you may be ahead of the curve, however, most people I come across, including myself, had their father out to work and the mother running the home.
Why now and not then?
What has been the shift that has created this opportunity for change?
Some might look at the generation game that women have been playing over the decades and state that there has always been a huge drive for equality in the workplace, going all the way back to the time of the Suffragettes fighting for their place at the work station with equal voting and rights.
It has been interesting to watch how things have shifted over the years and how there has been a huge drive over the last decade for equal pay with more women appearing on boards and acting as CEO's of big business. This has been a trend so far of the 21st century and yet the biggest shift in trends has to be the explosion of the entrepreneur with more 'start-up' business setting up shop in the last two years than there has been in the last ten!
The opportunity, as I see it, arose with the maturation of the digital era, e-commerce and 'community sharing' driving sales to a new levels in which businesses can literally own their own distribution channels to market whilst cutting out the middle man to sell your wares.
The kitchen table has become a place for women to work from, own and set up their shop window so that transactions take place while dinner is being laid on the table, thus providing women the freedom to be their own boss and earn their own living. How liberating! The 'dream' has slowly become reality as more and more women become aware of success stories being heroed by people we would consider to be like-minded peers and realise that they too could set up the next Ella's kitchen-type business with the true hope and vision for success, and so the rise of the Entrepreneurial family has begun.
Today with women in charge of their own journey, managing the combined juggle of running a business and a household (and oh what a juggle it is), enter the entrepreneurial partner (husband, father and friend) who may also become aware of a new role for him to play in the home and finally share in the joy of watching his kids grow up. He has noticed that if his partner can become an equal (or even THE) breadwinner of the house and still be home for dinner with the kids, perhaps he can also do the same!
Reflecting on the parents; how do kids learn from them with both parents running a business and perhaps one from the kitchen, it is an ever present learning environment for our children to learn first hand about building, growing and funding a brand. What does it take for that entrepreneurial spirit to be unleashed from the uncontaminated mind of our children and will this see an upsurge of young entrepreneurs leading the way with their first business foray opening up at age 12 whilst understanding that there is now an opportunity for a business with a purpose and a soul!
The Entrepreneurial family has embarked on a learning journey and whilst the female hot topic is the juggle, men start to speak openly about wanting to spend more time with the kids. It is interesting to see how far we have come from where our parents were and I am aware of being intrigued to see the running of my own children's household and the roles that them as parents will play both in work and in the home.
One final thing to consider, we can only learn in the moment, making mistakes along the way bearing in mind that our children who learn from us will hopefully find it easier to lead the way for their children in the future.
Perhaps there is more than meets the eye to the rise of the kitchen business phenomena, working from home and raising a family is a far cry from the 9-5 life that many of us have been used to. It takes guts to make the leap but the rewards, perhaps for generations to come, outweigh, for me at least, the risks of taking this leap into the unknown.
• Linzi Boyd is the author of Brand Famous: How To Get Everyone Talking About Your Business, published by Capstone (2014)