Inspiring Individuals - Sarah and Nicola the mums behind Chiltern Chatter

Sarah Stigzelius and Nicola Buckley, founders of the community website Chiltern Chatter, talk to Inspired Mums about the joys of working together to build their own business. By following their passion and doing work they love, both Sarah and Nicola have gained a real sense of fulfillment as well as the flexibility they craved.

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What work did you do before you decided to set up your own business?

Sarah: I worked for a PR agency in London for 5 years before going in house where I managed PR rosters and worked on campaigns.

Nicola: I worked for 10 years as a water treatment specialist and engineer for a global energy company before coming a full time mum.

What made you change career direction?

Sarah: After having my first child, we moved to New York for my husband’s job. It was only after returning to the UK and 2 more children later that I decided that I needed to find something that was flexible and fitted in with a family. I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a change in career direction, more a case of utilising my skills to fit in with my lifestyle and doing something that I love.

Nicola: After relocating from Scotland to England and having 2 years as a stay at home mum, I realized the kids were growing up and I felt that it was time to do something for me again but I realised that a career in engineering didn’t lend itself to family life. I had always wanted to work for myself so I could have greater flexibility. I love being integrated in local life and realized there was a gap in the market for mums like me who are new to the area. 

Did you have a light bulb moment when you knew you wanted to run your own business? 

Not really. It was more of a slow burner. We both knew we wanted to work but it was trying to figure out what we could do and how it would fit in with a young family. We then came up with the idea for Chiltern Chatter as we saw a need for a one-stop, local website providing a good source of local information & knowledge.

Tell me more about Chiltern Chatter?

There are a few, well known national parenting websites but we wanted to do something a little different. Chiltern Chatter is a hyper local online community website for people in the Chilterns providing up-to-date info on events, activities, shops, services & schools. We want to help local people get the most of where they live by sharing all the amazing things that the Chilterns have to offer!

What are your future plans for your business?

On a day-to-day basis we want to continue building partnerships with local businesses and organisations and longer term we would like to grow the business by expanding into other areas. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of working for yourself?

The great feedback that we’ve received. We’ve had so many positive comments from people about how useful they find the website. Also, running a web based business gives us the flexibility to be able to work, when & where we want. Nicola has even sent out one of the weekly newsletters when she was on holiday in the Caribbean! We can shape the future of the website to fit in with our lives. 

And the most challenging? 

One of the main challenges has been the technology. When we started Chiltern Chatter the idea of running a website seemed very simple, but there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes!

The other challenge is making Chiltern Chatter financially viable – we obviously love what we do but we need to make it financially worthwhile. We spend a lot of time working on the website, building up the membership base, writing features etc and we sometimes forget about securing advertising. Saying that, we have some fantastic advertisers that have supported us from the beginning and have been pleased with the response they have had from the advertising campaigns so we hope to build on this. 

Do you think you have found a good work-life balance? 

NO! It is really hard to switch off. Especially with mobile phones and instant access to email.

Occasionally we think that it would be easier to go out to a work place, have set hours & a set wage but then we wouldn’t have the flexibility of working around the kids’ schedules. The grass isn’t always greener - there are pros and cons to every situation. We are hoping thought that as our children get older, we will have more time during the day to work on the website rather than lots of late nights, as it is now.

The main & most important thing though is that we are doing something we are passionate about and hopefully, in time, we will get better at managing our work life balance!

Any tips or advice for other would-be mumpreneurs out there?

It definitely helps to have a business idea that you’re passionate about as you’re going to be working on it, day in, day out.

For us, it’s so much more fun working with someone so you can bounce ideas off each other. Also there are times when you lack enthusiasm or motivation, so it’s nice to have a business partner that can pick you up. Luckily, we each have different skills that we can bring to the table, which obviously helps as we can divide and conquer!

For more information about Chiltern Chatter, email or visit their website,


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