This week we meet the very inspiring Kerri Sargent... owner of Logbox Firewood and mama to Stevie (14), Fern (3.5) and Forest (2). Kerri's background is in graphic & digital design and in 2015 she launched her own business - Logbox Firewood - supplying pre-stacked locally sourced kiln-dried hardwood directly to her customers doors. So if you're a fan of switching the TV off, cracking open the wine and enjoying the warm glow of the fire - this is the Mama for you!
What time did you wake up this morning?
What was your very first thought of the day?
What are the babies up to? They share a room and all sorts of craziness can happen before I hear a peep, then brain check as to whether it’s a work day or day with the kids and whether I’m doing the early school bus stop run into TW with my eldest and last but not least how deeply offended I am at having to get up and how lovely it would be not to have to get out of my nice warm bed...I’m a night owl.
What are your 3 essentials for getting up, out and at 'em?
1. Make sure everyone is dressed BEFORE going downstairs or it takes forever
2. A cup of tea in a quiet minute while the kids eat their porridge or in the car if I’m doing the early school bus stop run
3. I’m pretty low maintenance so minimal makeup and my favourite ‘Folk Clothing’ grey tweed coat to get out of the door (fully clothed underneath I must add).
Describe a typical morning.
I work three days a week on Logbox while the babies are at my friend and childminder Lucy’s in Langton Green. They absolutely love being there – I think Fern would happily move in with them and not look back and Forest calls Lucy and her husband Mum and Dad! After dropping them off I drive home and start work at 9.30am dealing with new Logbox orders, emails and admin in the morning then whatever is top priority on my task list for the rest of the day. I’ve just started using the Bullet Journal system and it’s really helping me keep on top of things and with time management, something I’m really not very good at naturally. I’ve been looking for something like it, digital or analogue, for ages and have found it’s the closest to what’s in my head. I really like using pencil and paper and even though I’m a self-confessed geek no app has come close!
My husband Ben deals with everything operational and me, well everything else, so my working days are full which means at the moment I usually have to do some work on days when the children are with me. I run the office so look after sales and marketing, managing and developing the website, accounts and customer relations. My career before Logbox was in graphic and digital design and further back, PR & marketing and I still do a small amount of freelance design work for local and long standing clients – I love it too much to stop!
Your perfect local lunch spot would be...
Juliets on the High Street. Vintage style, great service and atmosphere and of course consistently delicious food. I’ve been going there for years but less so recently because of work or having two little ones in tow and I do miss it.
The happiest moment in your day?
Cuddles and downtime or reading a story with the babies or chatting with Stevie whilst cooking dinner, relaxing/zoning out (and not talking about the business) with Ben in front the TV which is about all we’re good for in the evenings – Ben Fogle’s Lives in the Wild is our current squeeze. Last night we were saying that one day when we hopefully have our own bit of wilderness we’ll look back at this crazy time and laugh! Start a business with two under two? Yeah, why not?!
The hardest moment in your day?
If/when I’m up against it time wise and the kids are playing up/just being kids and I just can’t find the concentration needed to finish the job – I find that really stressful. Or when I risk making a work phone call and they decide it’s the perfect time to whack each other and wail incessantly while following me from room to room as I try and escape the noise while apologising to the person at the other end of the line for being so unprofessional. Some find it amusing and like that they’re dealing with a family company...but I’m sure not all!
#1 tip for juggling work and family life?
I’m not sure I manage it very well at the moment. Bullet Journal and blagging it...and friends.
Most overused word of the day?
Logbox, like for the last two years, ha ha! Or can it be the most overused phrase? “Be nice to each other!”
Once the kids are in bed I...
Look around at the mess and think really, again? Then stop and have a beer before getting on with it unless I’m out in which case I put my blinkers on and deal with it in the morning.
Top 3 local gems?
Groombridge Farm Shop – I live out in the sticks so this is my local stop for essentials such as eggs, bread, salted caramel chocolate brownies and fresh basil pesto (I know that sounds so ‘Overheard in Waitrose’)
Pasta Madre Italian Restaurant on Camden Road – run by three Italian ladies, Adriana and Evelina and Gabriella, two of whom I had the great pleasure to meet recently on a spontaneous night out for dinner with a friend who just happened to speak Italian...well let’s just say it was quite late by the time we left and by then we felt like we were part of the family!
The Forest Way – a 10 mile mostly flat disused railway track from East Grinstead to Groombridge. Brilliant for safe cycling and walking with the kids. We do the Withyham to Hartfield stretch with a playground stop in Hartfield and ‘refreshments’ at the Anchor Inn or Pooh Corner tea rooms before tackling the return journey, about a mile in total.
Best piece of advice for fellow Mum's...
Get out there! I cannot put too high a value on the sanity giving support and inspiration, good laughs had and friendships made through local networking. I got out there a year ago after launching Logbox Firewood as yes I wanted to promote my local business locally but also I knew I needed advice and support (and I love meeting people). I started with West Kent Networking then joined TW Mum’s in Business and have made every Mama’s Meet Up after going to the first one with my sister. Each group offers something different and there are overlaps, naturally, but that’s where it’s magic. I think these and other women’s groups are part of a particularly active and dynamic local scene at the moment, one well worth tapping into. I feel pretty damn lucky to be part of this community of talented, creative, crazy ambitious and like-minded ladies who are out there taking on the world in their own way and doing a bloody good job of it!