We look at three couples who live, work and run innovative businesses together
The Wriggler: James and Aileen McCauley
Can living, working and innovating together really work? Love is in the air this week and we found three couple innovators who tell us just how they handle working in close quarters with their loved ones.
Parents James and Aileen McCauley became a couple who innovate after the birth of their first child. Did you know that parents change a child’s nappy approximately 6,500 times before they are potty-trained?
“The Wriggler is the first portable baby-changing mat designed specifically for babies who wriggle through a nappy change – it can become a real stress and battle both for the baby and the parent. You are trying to keep them still and of course your hands are occupied then, you’ve no hands left to change a nappy, in short, the Wriggler solves this problem,” explains James. “I actually borrowed a sewing machine, taught myself how to sew and between us we researched fabric and materials and I stitched up the first prototype at the kitchen table. We found a solution that brought calm, stress-free changing with our little fella.”
After some research they found that 40 per cent of parents encountered this as a problem so they decided to take the Wriggler from kitchen-table prototype to saleable item. Aileen McCauley says, “I’m an educational psychologist and James is a teacher so we wouldn’t have had loads of business experience so this absolutely wouldn’t be for sale on the market without the staff in LEO.
“It is nerve-wracking when you put it out there especially as we spent so many years getting things right – when you put it out into the world you wonder what the reaction is going to be and it’s been brilliant so far. It’s been a huge relief.”
Working, living and raising a family together seems all-consuming but the McCauleys seem to have found a system that works.
“We both still work part-time. We are both at home with the kids alternate days so we are part-time stay-at-home mum or dad, part-time workers and the rest of the time is spent on the business for whoever is at home during the day once the kids are at playschool and after bedtime,” explains Aileen. “We both know what it’s like doing a hard day’s work. It gives me an empathy for James and I find that it gives the same in return. There is no point scoring between us, no resentment.”
“We’ve actually learned to laugh at each other,” says James. “It makes it easier to work with each other. We make a lot of joint decisions, it’s a joint achievement. It’s nice to be able to share it.”
Source: The Irish Times, 14th February, 2019.
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