Tace Clifford is a Mum and the founder of a clever business that’s growing quicker than she ever imagined. Her story is not one of overnight successes or how to ditch conventional advice to make a dream a reality. Instead it’s a story about how she kissed a frog. And how that helped her rediscover her pre-mum mojo and drive to bring a new business into the world.
With mothers day upon us, Tace kindly agreed to sit down to chat about balancing mumma duties and her other passion and business, BabyDrive. Here’s 5 things we learnt:
1. Tace got skills
Born and bread in the UK, Tace is a creative person at her core. A clothing designer by trade, she’s worked for some big hitting global brands.
“I used to design for Marks and Spencers, which is a big retailer in the UK. And then I used to design for some of the football clubs in the UK and Europe. And in Australia I mainly designed kidswear for Target.
“That’s always been who I’ve been, just very creative, [and] arty.”
After meeting her husband in her twenties, the pair quickly set their sights abroad to India with the slightly unusual aim of tackling as many modes of transport as possible.
“We bought a Royal Enfield motorbike while we were there. Two big backpacks, one on each side. We were in our early twenties and just exploring life, you know, traveling the world. Our plan was to go from the UK to Australia, overland kind of thing, using as many forms of transport as we could.
In the end, Tace recalls jumping aboard a moped, motorbike and tuk-took.
2. Tace takes risks
“I’m very much a: ‘if I don’t do this, will I regret it or not kind of person’?”
If an opportunity arises I always ask myself will I regret not doing this and if the answer is yes I always do it.
“That’s really the way I am.”
3. Tace kissed the frog
After the birth of their child, though, Tace lost herself in a new “all consuming” identity, called motherhood.
“I was a full-time mum for probably a year.”
“I was like a completely different person if I’m honest. All of a sudden, it was like everything that life has been about is actually not important. Your sole purpose in life is to keep this thing alive.”
Before motherhood, “I’d always been very care-free. All of a sudden I didn’t know myself, because I’m now none of those things.”
“I just found it difficult, you know, to be in a room and people will be chatting to me. But my attention is not there. My attention is with my baby. And it’s actually biological. You know, people like to say, ‘oh, it’s fanatical mothers’. [But] it’s actually not. It’s biological.”
“Doing babydrive. I actually had to overcome a lot of things like that.”
“My confidence was really low, I had this good idea and… I had to get out of my comfort zone. The camera stuff, being on video is the most outside of my comfort zone [thing] I think I’ve ever done.”
“Becoming a mum,, I’ve changed physically as well. So to look at myself on camera,now, as opposed to pre-child is a big thing to deal with if I’m honest.”
“Eventually, the confidence that you get from learning so many new things, and overcoming these things is worth it.”
“My thing is: always kiss the frog.
“Kissing the frog; you’ve probably heard that phrase. It’s doing the thing you want to do least, first thing in the day. Then the rest of your day is better and you’ve achieved something.
4. Tace is a business-woman
Having kids is a tipping point for lots of things in life, including buying a car.
All of the sudden, the sporty 2-seat Mazda coupe you once owned doesn’t seem like such a good idea anymore. And a more sensible option i.e. one that fits a child seat and stroller, is on the cards. But which car is right?
For Tace, the lack of information for parents and parents-to-be, and her experience around the car industry, made her the source of help for family and friends.
“I had this amazing new group of friends, which was my mums group, and what I discovered was the majority were saying to me, nothing fits in my car. We’ve got to get a new car, what car do I get?
Her experience removing a car seat and stroller from a new car each week (Tace’s husband is car journalist) meant she had built up a bank of car knowledge.
“Each one came with a different thing. All the modern cars; they will beep and flash and lock doors and beep if you hadn’t got something done up.”
For us, “our daughter hated the car. If she wasn’t attached to me, she would scream her head off. And so driving went from like being mine and my husbands massive passion and enjoying it to the most stressful thing in the world…which it can be for a lot of parents”
So knowing the ins-and-outs of cars from a parents point of view turned from great advice into a proper business idea.
“Every time I met my mums group, they’d say, what’s this one like Tace? Can I get my dog in there as well? It went on and on until one of them said, you need to write stuff down Tace. You should do something with this.
“When my daughter was about 1, conversations started happening with my mum’s group, , what are you gonna do? Are you gonna go back to work? Who’s going to go, you know? And so anyway, that’s, that’s how BabyDrive came about.
BabyDrive helps parents and parents-to-be find the right car for their family via online video reviews of cars in the market today. And tests them with child seats and strollers to see which will fit.
5. Tace’s car picks are…
A “surprising one is the Peugeot 5008; which I absolutely love. Peugeot is not a big make here but it’s an awesome car.”
“The Mazda CX-9 is a fantastic seven-seater family car if you need to fit five child seats.