Career Q&A: Being Made Redundant and Moving From Financial Services to Story Mama

Updated March 2020

In this Career Case Study Series we’ve asked the talented individuals around us to share their stories.  Learn from people who have taken a leap of faith in their career and stepped outside their comfort zone. I hope that you can relate to these stories and use them as a source of strength to encourage you to confidently go in the direction of your dreams and live the life you imagine for yourself.

Being Made Redundant and Moving From Financial Services to Story Mama

Debbie first shared her story with us in November 2013, as she approached the celebration of Story Mama’s 1st birthday.  At the time (and for a number of years afterwards), Story Mama was a specialist online children’s book store, based here in Melbourne. Here Debbie reflects on the emotions leading up to leaving her busy corporate life and starting her own business. 
Once upon a time there was a corporate career girl attempting to manage a full time role in 4 days and a small child. She worked in financial services and whilst she loved her team and the challenge, she felt guilty all the time. Guilty when she was at work that someone else was looking after her child, guilty when she was at home that there was still stuff to be done in the office.When a redundancy became available, she jumped at the opportunity with mixed emotions, but was determined to make it life changing and to truly crack the flexible working and work from home challenge.
Redundancy is often a difficult situation, as it bangs up your self esteem, messes with your head and takes you way out of your comfort zone. However, it can also be a blessing. This is because it gives you an amazing opportunity to re-evaluate how you are living your life, and somehow gives you permission to try something else.It was during this time, the girl was getting frustrated when buying picture books for her child and his little friends, that information about age suitability was limited and she couldn’t get her hands on some helpful top 10 lists – like the best 10 books for a 2 year old.
She hated ordinary picture books and just wanted to be able to identify the great ones.  So… with a giant leap of faith, a supportive family, a little bit of mentoring, and a handful of capital, she started writing a business case…. to cement the dream in her own head and to see whether the idea stacked up… and what do you know, it did!It was out of the ashes of my financial services career that Story Mama was born.
We stock just the best picture books, recommended by mums and loved by little kids.  My small business adventure has been a massive learning curve so far, but I am loving the challenge. We will be celebrating our first birthday in early December. It’s amazing and completely empowering to have built a brand, a business and new career.

Debbie Hatswell, Think Bespoke

Debbie successfully built Story Mama over the next 7 years. It became a popular choice for many parents (myself included) who were after children’s books recommended by other parents.  During this time Debbie also became a key member of Think Bespoke’s team, and is now the Head of Online Content Solutions for Think Bespoke.  In 2018, Debbie closed the online bookstore and now spends most of her days writing for a variety of clients while child and dog wrangling.