Our Chief Mudder Natasha in The Guardian!


Our ‘Chief Mudder’ and Managing Director, Natasha spoke to The Guardian about taking a step back from the Muddy business in order to start a new venture. Read on to find out what she had to say.

natasha ascott

Being diagnosed with cancer in 2019 forced Natasha Ascott to take a step back from running her award-winning children’s outerwear company Muddy Puddles. After months of treatment and being told that she was in remission, Ascott somewhat surprisingly decided to start a second business. “The team did a brilliant job of running Muddy Puddles without me and I had the space and opportunity to decide whether I wanted to jump back in with two feet or do something else after six years of growing the company,” she explains. “I now work with them part-time.”

The first Muddy Nursery opened in Buckinghamshire six months ago, with a second due to join the chain in early 2022. Ascott started her career as a teacher and says the diversification aligns well with her passion for education and a customer base she knows well – Muddy Puddles sells to 30,000 families and 300 schools and nurseries every year.

But she admits launching a new business hasn’t been easier the second time around. “Some of the biggest challenges include making sure I give the right focus to the right things across both businesses. I try to use the urgent/important matrix to help me prioritise, but can definitely get lost in the weeds. It’s also challenging to communicate and connect well across two different cultures and teams.”

Her advice to other entrepreneurs is to get comfortable with juggling. “With two businesses, you’ve got even more hats you need to wear,” she says. Good connectivity is essential too. “I work between a lot of different places and I’m totally dependent on everything being synced up wherever I am. One of the first jobs we prioritised at the nursery was getting everything on to the cloud and making sure everyone could communicate remotely and on-site.”

Despite the challenges, she likes the mix of having a product-based and a service-based business and says she feels more resilient this time around. “My dad’s an entrepreneur too and he always says to me: ‘Nothing’s ever as good or as bad as it seems.’ I think I’m better at keeping things in perspective now.”

Read the full article here.