The Power of a Mug

flexible working, working mothers, part time jobs...

female founder entrepreneur small business story of helping working mothers find flexible work

2to3days founder Juliet Turnbull tells the story of how our company mug came to be so much more than a good place to dunk a biscuit.

The 2to3days mug is no ordinary mug. It has a will and a life force of its own; it has meaning and purpose. Most of all, it tells a story.

The story begins at Christmas 2014 when the seeds of the idea of 2to3days were slowly beginning to germinate in my head. To help bring the idea to life, I’d asked a graphic designer to produce the first version of the company’s logo - and my husband thoughtfully had it printed on a mug, which I discovered in my stocking on Christmas morning.

Unfortunately I wasn’t a fan of that first logo, so the poor mug was quickly relegated to the back of the cupboard. But even though this mug wasn’t a looker, back then it still carried great significance. It was my husband’s way of saying, “I believe in you, I believe in 2to3days and its role in society and the economy.”

The business finally launched in the summer of 2015. At which point I discovered something many a budding entrepreneur can attest to - take off isn’t always as smooth as you dream it will be. I quickly developed insomnia as I dealt practically single handedly with what felt like an insurmountable number of issues and opportunities. The full story is available over a large glass of wine - be warned, you will be reduced to both laughter and tears!

Steadying the ship

Thankfully my conviction that the world needed 2to3days was strong enough to keep me going - and to get the attention of Russell Marsh at Publicis, who patiently gave his time and expertise to help me steady the ship. One day over a meeting he drew me this picture, with the following words written underneath:

 

 

 

Anyone who has ever built a business from scratch will understand how poignant those words were to me.

What followed was a period during which we burned an awful lot of midnight oil, with Russell dedicating his precious weekends to help me realise my vision. By the time Christmas 2015 rolled around it was time for me to gift him with a mug. I took his sketch and put it on the outside of two mugs - one for me, one for him. It was a symbol that tied us together as we worked side by side, connected by a higher purpose and our favourite brew.

  

Growing the team

By May 2018, 2to3days had grown into a close-knit virtual team and I wanted a way to remind them that, even when they were working from home on their own, they were part of something bigger. Not just a team of colleagues but a movement - the 2to3days hood.

So we created the 2to3days team mug, which embodies what we’re all about: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” This quote from Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule, inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

The movement that 2to3days is leading is closing the void between the business world and motherhood by championing mothers’ careers on a flexible basis. By focusing on mothers - who have a very tangible need for flexibility - we hope to make flexible working a reality for everyone. Our vision is to create parity at work and at home, for businesses to have balanced and diverse teams, for flexible working to be the status quo for everyone. We believe we can accelerate the pace of change by giving mothers a voice, allowing them to pursue their careers on a flexible basis and ultimately closing the void between the business world and family life.

Working with innocent drinks

In October 2018, international smoothie and juice brand innocent hosted our first roadshow - the first of what we hope will be many - at their head office, Fruit Towers, in London. The event sold out within a week, with over 100 fantastic mothers coming to learn more about the job opportunities at innocent, to get CV tips from our partners City CV, and to hear more about the 2to3days vision and mission.

Each of them got to take home one of our mugs to use at home while working on CVs and applying for jobs. For them, the mug is a reminder that they are not alone in their quest to find a fulfilling career opportunity that allows them to balance work with their family lives.

Thank you and congratulations!

For a while now, I’ve been wondering what we can give to our business clients as a thank you gift and as an acknowledgement of the difference they make when they hire one of their mothers. I also wanted to be able to send a congratulatory gift to the mothers who find roles through 2to3days and are therefore able to fulfil their career potential on terms that work for them. I wanted the gift to be something that had significance, something that was useful and not a marketing gimmick that would be thrown away in a trice.

That’s when I had my ‘aha moment.’ What connects the seemingly disconnected parallel universes of boardroom and kitchen table? The humble mug - ever present in our lives, wherever we are. What better gift to give to our progressive leaders and highly capable mothers.

So here’s to you, whatever your role in championing the movement to close the void between the business world and motherhood so that in the fullness of time ‘flexible working’ and ‘gender diversity in the workplace’ become the norm rather than buzz words.

Do you have a 2to3days mug? We want to see it! Take a photo of your mug wherever you are in the world and share it with us on social media. We’re changing the world - let’s have some fun along the way!