Creating a Community: How Zoe Chamberlain Connects the Parents of Birmingham

community parenting podcast uk Nov 02, 2022

Hailing from the United Kingdom, Zoe Chamberlain was searching for exciting things to do that “lit” her up again. After having children, she wanted to connect with other parents and share how their lives have changed - together. Because of this, Brummie Mummies was born.

Zoe, tell us about your passion. 

I'm passionate about all things parenting, helping families to connect both online and in person via my Brummie Mummies social media networks, fun events and award-winning podcast.

When did you discover you loved building community for parents?

After having kids, I found I was constantly searching for exciting, good value things to do. I set up Brummie Mummies in 2015, initially as a way of sharing ideas on things to do. But it has grown into much more than that over the years.

What was happening in your life when you began to discover this passion?

Like many parents, especially mums, I felt like my priorities had been turned upside down after having children. I wanted to reach out to other mums because I wanted that shared connection. I discovered many, many other mums felt the same way.

Have you ever hesitated in pursuing your passion? Why? What support has helped you continue?

A couple of years in, I was advised to abandon my passion as the rewards weren't really equalling the effort I was putting in. I disagreed with this. Believing that it just needed time for parents to find Brummie Mummies and that it was something very worthwhile pursuing, I carried on quietly yet doggedly and my determination paid off.

Brummie Mummies now reaches up to 200,000 parents a month on social media and the podcast, which I launched a year ago, has won a major podcasting award and been downloaded more than 100,000 times.

Where have you needed to invest your time, energy, or other resources to pursue this passion? What have you removed from your life so that you could pursue it?

It requires time, dedication and a certain amount of just trying it out and seeing if it works! But when you love doing something, it doesn't feel like work. It's part of my everyday life now so I just fit everything else around it. Multi-tasking is what we mums do!

Tell us about one challenge you've encountered as you've pursued this passion. What is it? Are you overcoming it, or still managing it? What tools or strategies have you found helpful for navigating this challenge?

In 2016, I decided to launch free social events so that our Brummie Mummies families could meet in person. They were an overnight success - so much so, that people were getting disappointed that the tickets had 'sold out' before they'd had chance to book them. But then I found that only around 50% of people were turning up because, having not paid for tickets, they'd not really made a commitment to coming along.

Talking to parents within the group, I suggested we start charging a nominal fee for tickets so those who wanted to come were able to attend. They agreed and it worked. The tickets still sold out in 24 hours and we had more like a 95% turnout, with parents getting in touch to offer their tickets to others if they were unable to attend at the last minute.

Over the years, I've hosted Brummie Mummies picnics at botanical gardens, days out at theme parks, climbing walls and trampoline centers, festive ice-skating sessions, forest schools, craft workshops and Santa grottos amongst many more, all of which have been bespoke for the families in my group for just a few pounds (dollars) each.

Look back at the "you" before you started this passion. Is your life different now?

If you'd have told me 10 years ago, I'd now be running a popular parenting network, organizing social events and hosting an award-winning Brummie Mummies podcast I would never have believed you! I love what I'm doing and the confidence it gives me to do more and try more things.

How has your passion helped others?

I've since been asked to train students and apprentices at Facebook HQ in London on how to build a community on social media. I am due to speak at the Publisher Podcast conference in London next month on building community via podcasting. I love doing this, sharing with others how you can turn your personal passion into something that others are passionate about too.

What is one "life lesson" you're learning as you pursue this passion?

That it's always worth giving something a go, trying something out. I'd rather live with the knowledge that it didn't quite work as I'd hoped it would than the regret that I never tried. Nine out of 10 times you find a way to make it work in any case.

What would you say to a Passionado who is considering exploring a passion?

Give it a go! You never know until you try.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Yes - please join our tribe! You can follow Brummie Mummies on Facebook and Instagram and listen to the Brummie Mummies Podcast on Apple and Spotify.

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