Home > Life > TMC Talks > TMC Talks To: Milly Bagot Founder of ByRuby.
Explain what you do in a sentence?

Along with my Co-Founder Ruby, we run a company called ByRuby where we make seriously special, hand-made food for your freezer.

How long have you done your job?

Since 2019 full time, and before then I juggled another job, starting up ByRuby in 2017, and having my third child all at the same time which was pretty full on!

What does your day or week entail?

It’s super busy, no 2 days are the same. I have 3 small children so it’s always a bit of a juggle. Sometimes I’m in the office covering emails, other times I’m working with Ruby on recipe development or I’m out in the field visiting our different stockists and lovely farm shops. There’s lots to do so it usually involves lots of early mornings, and each day starts with a strong cup of Yorkshire Tea which helps!

Where did you start out?

I left Durham University and fell into a job in the city. Quite quickly I realised that wasn’t for me and so I went on to partner with my Aunt at her wonderful food shop, Finns on Chelsea Green. 10 years later and still at Finns I met Ruby, my now business partner, when she started cooking there. We began to see lots of demand from our customers for really delicious, hand-cooked frozen meals, and at the same time I had just had my third baby and was desperate to find some pre-prepared food I trusted to eat myself and give to my friends. After a very successful trial of selling frozen meals prepared by Ruby at Finns, we realised the idea had legs and took the punt on starting the business of its own.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Navigating the funding landscape. Like all startups we have had to raise equity to help get us off the ground. Writing business plans and managing investor relations whilst running the business is a challenge. I am so pleased that I have had the support of wonderful people who have helped me along the way

What piece of advice would you give to someone hoping to do the same?

Go with your gut instinct and trust yourself when taking advice. Somebody may have more experience but nobody knows your business better than you.

Something you’ve learnt that is crucial to either your job or to success:

Be kind and always be yourself. Also, talk to anyone who is interested, it’s amazing where connections take you.

How important is it to switch off?

To be honest I find it very hard to switch off. Whilst my business is always in the back of my mind, my children are a great distraction and will always be my number one priority. You will rarely see me working after 6:30pm, and a glass of wine and dinner with my husband is a crucial part of my day. Sleep is a big priority, and I really use that as my ultimate switch off time.

How do you manage your work / life balance?

I work very flexibly, and not always 9-5, which is one of the benefits of running your own business. I fit things in where I can, but work is a big part of my life and I enjoy it so I don’t mind both things merging together. I find it’s the only way that it works for me personally.

How do manage mum guilt?

It’s a difficult one. I think children thrive on routine, so for me as long as mine know when I am going to be there and when I’m not they are pretty chilled. I also have an amazing nanny who I couldn’t do without – she allows me to do my job whilst knowing the children are in safe and happy hands which is vital for me. Of course I feel guilty when I forget the ballet shoes or don’t remember that football club has been cancelled, but this can happen to anyone, job or no job, and my children know they are my number one priority. I have always worked so they also see that as normal, I think they would find it strange if I was there all the time!

How did you get over the feeling of missing your baby when you went back to work

I am very lucky in that I work flexibly, so whilst I didn’t take much maternity leave, I was able to pop in and out. I have horrible memories of pumping in the loos when I was on an entrepreneurs accelerator and my youngest was only 6 weeks old, which was a step too far looking back! I have a happy home, a very supportive husband and a wonderful setup with my nanny so I couldn’t ask for more on that front. Thankfully the children are always happy to see me when I come home and that has always been the case. If that changes, I’ll know there is something really wrong!

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