As Oprah Winfrey once said, “I believe the choice to become a mother is the choice to become one of the greatest spiritual leaders there is.” In celebration of Mother’s Day this month, Absolute Mama interviewed 5 inspirational women this month, all Mother’s, all doing it for themselves.
Here’s the third installment with one of these powerful women.

Q & A with Madeleine Hugo – Founding Owner of The Cotton Company

1. Tell us about yourself and your company/venture

The Cotton Company is a lifestyle brand born from a love of the traditional artisan-ship of Turkish towels.  We offer a beautifully versatile collection of 100% Cotton Turkish Towels and luxurious throws, that adds a touch of elegance and luxury to everyday living.  Working with a small family-run team of artisans in the Aegean region of Turkey, every product is lovingly crafted to perfection.

2. How did your business come about and has it changed your life?

I fell in love with Turkish towels during the time we lived in Istanbul.  A highlight of my stay was an extraordinary road trip through the Turkish countryside where I met a family of authentic Turkish towel weavers.To experience their legendary hospitality was humbling in countless ways. Here, over meals of chickpea stew and Çay tea, we discovered a shared love of family, food and life’s simple pleasures.Everything there is about slow living and doing everything together as a family, from picking vegetables to cooking and eating together.Back in South Africa, I decided to bring these traditional Turkish towels home, creating The Cotton Company.  I carefully choose each design specifically for the South African aesthetic and consult with my team of weavers on contemporary designs which will resonate with the local market.

3.Do you have any tips for working Moms who are looking to start their own business?

Set attainable goals – make your daily goals realistic enough to complete – be proud of what you’ve achieved.Surround yourself with supportive friends and fellow entrepreneurs.Have fun along the way and celebrate the small things.

4. What do you think is the biggest challenge faced by mothers/women in business?

A  large number of women are not just entrepreneurs – they have families, a spouse and other responsibilities.  Running a business with demands for attention from your family can be difficult. And that is where delegating and support from your partner and friends come in.

5. Where or from whom do you find support?

I am so lucky to have a husband that supports me all the way. He can see when things get tough juggling work and kids and then will offer to drop-off or collect Grace, my daughter from school. He will take her to sport, pick up food, prepare the food, brings me takeaway coffee at work. How lucky am I?!  I would wish that support for all working moms.

6. How do you achieve work/life balance, and what do you do for yourself?

To be honest, I feel blessed that I have a business where I have flexibility. I have an amazing assistant that is there when I have to pop out and do mom things. I also offer her the same opportunities to be there for her kids when there is sport or school outings or doctor appointments. I wish all moms could have that.What do I do for myself? I pour a glass of wine after a long day and reflect on a job well done.For my birthday every year, I stay at home ALONE (that’s my gift to myself)…hubby’s at work, my daughter at school and I have one quiet day where I do whatever I want. Normally it’s drinking coffee, reading and watching my favourite programs on TV.

7.In your opinion, can you be a good Mom and a successful entrepreneur / business woman?

Women often have life skills and natural abilities that are useful in business. They tend to be great at networking, and they possess great skills for negotiating and they own the ability to multi-task. Mothers are often good at delegating and budgeting, skills they rely on to manage their families. .

8.What is the most rewarding thing about being a Mom?

The feeling of true, unconditional love. That warm feeling in my heart that just keeps filling up with love for my child. I feel her feelings in my heart. I love having conversations with Grace about life. She asks such intelligent questions and I want to burst with pride.