Meet Tinuke, the founder of Mums and Tea

In our latest Member Spotlight, we meet Tinuke, the founder of Mums and Tea to talk about her 3 businesses, why she created them, and how she prioritises her well-being as well as being a business owner and a mum. We discussed Black History Month, how Tinuke celebrated and what Tide and other corporations can do to amplify the voices of Black business owners.

We are thrilled to introduce you to Tinuke. 

Hi Tinuke, It’s so lovely to chat with you today! Could you please introduce yourself?

Hello! My name is Tinuke, and I am a mum of 2 children aged 5 and 2. I am the founder of Mums and Tea, a social platform for mums to connect and Learning with Ez, specialising in diverse educational resources for babies and toddlers. I am also the co-founder of Five X More CIC, an organisation committed to highlighting and changing Black maternal outcomes in the UK.

You told us that when you became a mother in 2017, the motherhood landscape, both physically and online, was not diverse. You created Mums and Tea to change that. Can you tell us more?

I started Mums and Tea because I was the first one out of my friends to have a baby, and I wanted to reach other mothers who were going to be on maternity leave around the same time as me. I was tired of seeing the typical experience of motherhood look one way – not reflective of me. I wanted to build a safe space for Black mums to connect and learn from one another. I wanted to share my experiences of motherhood, the good, bad and ugly. I wanted to show other women experiencing motherhood who looked like me that they were not alone. The more I did the events, the more popular they became as mothers realised the importance of connecting with other mothers who can connect with you by way of background and culture.

The most impact came during the pandemic when we were reaching a lot of first-time mums who were feeling very lonely during the lockdowns but we were able to connect mums together in a meaningful way.

Your website says that Mums and Tea is “a platform and community for ALL mums and mums to be that shares the real “TEA” on motherhood”. What has been the most powerful thing coming out of creating that community?

Creating a safe space and community has been a lifeline for me but also for all the other women who have joined the community and attended our events both in person and online. I would say the most impact came during the pandemic when we were reaching a lot of first-time mums who were feeling very lonely during the lockdowns but we were able to connect mums together in a meaningful way.

You have launched a second business called Learning with Ez, a platform that offers diverse and educational resources for babies and toddlers – can you tell us more about the platform and why you launched it?

Learning with Ez was started because I was looking for educational resources to teach my 2 year-old at the time and couldn’t find many things that were reflective of his background and what he looked like. So I wanted to change that! 

My son recently received a diagnosis of autism and he is a very visual learner. I quickly saw there was a huge gap in the market and that Black autistic children were underserved as I looked for communication and visual aids that looked like my son, but once again struggled. Representation matters for all children, not just for Black children to see themselves reflected in their learning but so all children can see what the world around them looks like.

You have three businesses and two kids; it must be busy! We recently talked for World Mental Health Day about the importance of prioritising your well-being when you are an entrepreneur. Can you tell us more about your own experience?

I used to be terrible with prioritising my mental well-being as a mum and entrepreneur. Being a parent to a child with additional needs is another level of parenting and takes its toll and oftentimes, I would put everyone else’s needs and the business before mine. After suffering from burnout last year, I realised that my well-being is of the utmost importance, as I can’t function or be helpful to anyone if I am not okay. I now schedule time for daily walks ( I need to reach those 10,000 daily steps!) and I actually take lunch even if I am working from home. I am learning to say no and respect my boundaries too, both personally and professionally.

Speaking about getting time back, what’s your favourite Tide feature?

Tide has helped me streamline a lot of my business processes including how I send (and chase!!) invoices. Tide makes accounting easy and helps with getting paid and staying organised which is exactly what you need as a busy mum.

We’re thrilled to chat with you during Black History Month. How have you been celebrating?

I have indeed! I’ve been invited to speak at many different events to speak about the work I do and have been able to celebrate with other Black men and women who are in business in style. The best bit so far about this particular Black history month is the fact that I was featured in a magazine and showed it to my daughter. She’s only 2 and has just started speaking and she is so happy whenever she opens the magazine and sees me in there. I am proud that I can be a part of the positive role models she sees and can relate to from such an early age.

What’s something you wish people knew about being a Black female business owner?

That we often have a double negative placed on us as soon as we have even started our businesses. Being Black is one, but also being a female is another. Did you know that Black women still receive only a fraction of Venture Capital funding at a whopping 0.5%? As everyone knows, businesses need capital and funding to be able to start and grow and be sustainable and oftentimes it’s not that there is a lack of ideas, it’s that there are so many other things working against us in order to succeed. That doesn’t mean we will stop trying though! I know so many amazing women in my network who are doing amazing things, running businesses, building generational wealth and paving the way forward – We need more of this! You can’t be what you can’t see!

What do you think Tide and other corporations can do to amplify the voices of Black business owners?

In order to amplify our voices you must first and foremost understand what the barriers to success are for Black business owners. Once you understand what those barriers are, work together with business owners (all year round and not just during Black history month!!), supporting them with more access to tailored and specific funding, networking and marketing opportunities. This should be done in a way that is fully inclusive of the Black community and not done in a tokenistic way to ensure long-lasting change.

Mothers get left out of certain conversations when it comes to running a business as a Black person or as a female.

What feedback are you getting from the Mums and Tea community and what type of change do you think we need to see happening?

The mums in my Communi-Tea are always looking for ways to grow and expand their businesses, in a way that is inclusive for mothers. Mothers get left out of certain conversations when it comes to running a business as a Black person or as a female. There is another layer of things to consider when you are a mum – so having more opportunities that are mindful of this is very helpful.

What’s next for Mum and Tea and Learning with Ez?

We are working on a number of exciting projects with both Mums and Tea and Learning with Ez that I am hoping to be able to share very soon!

One last question before you go, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to a fellow mum thinking about starting a business?

Great question!  Be sure to find a community and network of other mums who are also in business so you can share the highs, lows, challenges and opportunities that come with running a business – with people who understand what it’s like having to answer emails with cocomelon in the background to keep the little ones entertained!

Valentine Hutchings

Valentine Hutchings

Head of Community and small business enthusiast

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