When Jenn McGarrigle quit her job at a start-up, she never imagined she would go on to start her own business. “Handing in my notice was the scariest thing I had ever done, but also the most freeing feeling in the world,” says Jenn, 40.
“After I quit, I called up a friend of mine, Aisling Connaughton, who was also my mentor.” Aisling’s response? “What?! Are you crazy?! You don’t quit your job when you’re seven months pregnant.”
Of course, it was exactly the response Jenn had expected and prepared for. “I told her that I felt I had reached a ceiling and wanted to do something with more purpose, and that before handing in my notice, I’d gone away and looked through my family finances to work out what I needed to do to be able to quit.
“We had a good plan in place. We’d reduced childcare for our first baby because I was going to be on maternity leave with our second child, we’d sold our car, which we felt we didn’t need in London, and we’d set the target of saving eight to twelve months of our mortgage payment so that when my maternity pay ended, we’d have a safety net.”
Aisling, feeling calmer after Jenn’s explanation, went on to share her plans for her own career. “When Jenn phoned, I’d almost finished my Masters in sustainability and had started to think about how I could build on the consulting work I’d already been doing for businesses that wanted to become more sustainable,” says Aisling.
By the end of the call, the seed of a business had been sown. Within two months, and before Jenn gave birth, the two women had brought on a third co-founder, Aisling’s cousin Mica Janiv, and delivered their first project to their first client.