Lifestyle & Travel

Published on October 12th, 2013 | by Kelly Rose Bradford


Lone Parents Mean Business: Claire Tyler from Yellow Lolly children’s boutique

Claire Tyler is single mum to two daughters, Esme and Mathilde. She started her baby and children’s boutique, Yellow Lolly, shortly after her eldest daughter was born in 2007. She became a lone parent just weeks after the birth of her second.

When did you become a single parent?

August 31st, 2011. It was the day my husband left to go and sort his head out. He never came back. I had a nine-week-old baby and a five-year-old.

How did the idea come about for Yellow Lolly?

I used to be a sales person in the high-end commercial furniture business. I had a yearly target of a million pounds and I knew what was involved with achieving that kind of target. Once Mathilde was born, I had to work out how I was going to manage my job, be a wife and a mother, and also remain true to myself. We decided that I shouldn’t go back to work and that I should start my own business instead.

Did being a mum influence your choice of venture?

Being a new mother, I decided to start a business within the new world I had entered, and so opening a baby and children’s clothing boutique made complete sense.

How do you juggle it with parenting?

Juggling is the operative word! I try really hard to separate the two but it’s really quite difficult as I run my business from home! Mathilde is seven and at school and Esme is two and with a child minder for two and a half days a week. In between, I snatch moments and work most evenings. Saying that, I enjoy the fact that as a single mother I can divide my time as I want and I am always available if my girls need me without the guilt and stigma that can be experienced had I gone back to the workplace. It is a balance that has taken some time to achieve, but I think I am pretty much getting there!

Do you think it is important for your children to see you working?

Yes. I can be a good role model for my girls, showing them that women can be their own bosses and make their own living.

What is the biggest challenge for you?

In business it was becoming a single parent to a nine-week-old baby and a five-year-old at the same time the economy was taking a nose dive! They were interesting and dark times. I did feel like giving up sometimes but I really believed in Yellow Lolly and I still wanted to maintain the work/life balance that I had started to achieve, especially when my situation changed so dramatically. Suddenly my kids were number one priority, and my time with them was paramount so working from home on my own business was more important than ever.

What is your biggest fear as a lone parent?

I don’t really have a fear as such, but I do worry about the financial aspects.

And of course, being a lone parent means I have no one to share the tough (or the fantastic) bits with. That is very sad.

How do you think lone parents are generally viewed by society?

I was quite ashamed in the beginning. I didn’t tell even close friends for a while, but my experiences so far have been those of support. Friends and family have been fantastic and for the most, no one can quite believe that this had been forced upon me. But that’s my personal experience.

Have you ever experienced any negativity as a single mum?

Not at all. The only negativity comes from me. It’s just not what I had imagined when we were planning to have children.

Are you a one off among your family/social circle?

Yes I am. I know many couples who have been through the mill, nearly split up and then have come out the other side. Sadly that wasn’t the case for me.

How do you split childcare/access with your girls’ dad? 

I have the kids six nights a week. They go to their father’s one night and one day, every weekend. It was easy to arrange as he felt he couldn’t have them any more than this because he works, and I am happy because I didn’t have children for them to spend time apart from me! I get some time to myself and I generally don’t need any more than I have. It’s just enough for respite and then they are home again and all is normal.

Is it harder for lone parents to be self employed/entrepreneurs?

I imagine it is. Luckily my ex earns a decent salary and therefore I don’t have to worry so much about having a smaller income from having my own business, but starting a business generally means investing savings or earning a meagre salary, no mean feat when you are bringing in only one wage.

Do you think there should be more help for single parents?

So far I have been surprised about how much help there is out there!

Tell us more about your business?

Yellow Lolly is an online children’s clothing boutique selling beautiful clothing from Scandinavia, Britain, Europe and beyond. We have a passion for quality, practicality and sustainability, which makes us the natural choice for parents who think that style doesn’t have to be grown up!

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About the Author

Kelly Rose Bradford

is a London-based journalist and broadcaster, writing for the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Sunday Telegraph, and a host of women's magazines. Her robust opinions and feisty debating skills make her in demand as a social commentator, regularly guesting on ITV's This Morning programme, and across many radio stations, including 5 Live and BBC Radio London.

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