Voss Boss Entrepreneur Spotlight Series — Carolyn McCarthy, Owner Of Bumbles And Clover

For many entrepreneurs and small businesses, social media can be an absolute game-changer! All it takes is one viral post and a business can suddenly take off.

At Like A Voss Inc., we’re highlighting local businesses and entrepreneurs who are killing the online game. This week’s spotlight is on Carolyn McCarthy, Owner of Bumbles and Clover!

The Bumbles and Clover Story

“Hi, I’m Carolyn and I’m a busy mom of two young kids. Before I had my first, I loved spending hours perusing the aisles at the local thrift shop looking for hidden treasures for my soon-to-arrive baby. But once I had her, and as she grew out of her clothes, I had to either bring her with me or find time in the evenings to stock up on her new sizes. Neither of these options were much fun for me and I often would turn to convenience and order brand new if I didn’t have time to go searching for specific items.

As she continued to outgrow her clothes, the benefits of second-hand clothing became more and more obvious. Some kids are simply hard on clothes or, like my daughter, seem to outgrow a new item in a matter of weeks. It didn’t make sense to keep buying brand new when there were so many pre-loved options out there that would save us money and keep textiles out of the landfills. I sat on the idea of creating an online boutique for pre-loved children’s clothes for a long time, thinking I would tackle this project when my kids were older. But after COVID-19 hit, I realized the value in having this option online was huge. So here I am, balancing raising a family and running a business and I love it! I hope your children get as much joy out of these pieces as the children before them and that Bumbles & Clover can provide just a little convenience for your busy lives.” — Carolyn

Our CEO Mandi interviewed Carolyn about her secret to success in business and in life. We also got some awesome insights into what they think makes social media such an effective tool in business.

A Little Bit About Being a Female Entrepreneur

1: How long have you been in business?

I started Bumbles & Clover in the summer of 2020 in response to the pandemic and the big shift we were seeing to move towards online shopping. I try to buy used when I can and I didn’t want to browse a thrift store during this time and thought other parents would be in the same boat. I also realized there were no comparable businesses nearby, so Bumbles & Clover was created.

2: What made you decide to break away from the 9–5 and start Bumbles and Clover?

As a parent to two young kids, I didn’t want to do the 9 to 5 and couldn’t find the daycare to support those kinds of hours, anyways. With limited time during the day, I had to think outside of the box on how I could earn income, but most importantly, find something I’m passionate about outside of my day to day parenting duties.

Bumbles & Clover has allowed me to pick my own hours, have control over the entire creative and logistical process, squeeze in my work during nap times and evenings and even bring the kids along on consignment pick-ups and local deliveries on our way to parks or other activities. My hope is to continue growing the business while my kids are young so that I can go full time when my youngest (currently 4 months old) is old enough to go to daycare.

3: What do you love most about being a female entrepreneur?

I love being a role model for my kids and showing that you don’t need to give up on your own aspirations when you become a mother. While being a mom will always be my number one job, it’s important that they see that I’m a person too who has dreams and goals beyond my role as their parent. Beyond that, I love the support other female entrepreneurs give each other, especially through social media. It often feels like being part of this super awesome club full of amazing women pursuing their passions, too.

4: What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome as a female entrepreneur?

As a woman, I often suffer from imposter syndrome and lack the confidence to really own what I am doing until I feel it has a proven track record. This can be really limiting and is something I struggle with a lot. Even when I see growth, I still feel it’s not enough and I end up constantly raising the bar of where I feel like I can really own and be proud of my business. The “fake it til you make it” mentality is not something a lot of women are socialized with, so for me, it’s pushing beyond the numbers and knowing that what I’m creating has value and that it’s okay to give myself permission to proudly share my business and dedicate time to growing it.

For my personal experience, being a female entrepreneur is so intrinsically linked to being a mother. It’s giving myself permission to really try to grow my business when the demands of my household and motherhood are always present. This year, women have really taken a hit in the workplace due to COVID-19 and there’s that expectation that they pick up the slack on childcare when it isn’t available. It can be so hard to put business first when facing a never ending to-do list, and often the guilt of putting yourself first can be a real challenge.

5: What is one thing about working in your industry that people would be surprised to learn?

Tiny baby and kids clothing takes up a lot of space! What started as one shelf in my den has completely taken over the entire room, adding more racks and shelves to store all the adorable items I get through consignment. I’m so grateful to have the space to be able to operate out of my house but at this rate, I may need to look at outside storage options. Time will tell!

And Now Onto The Social Media Questions!

6: Do you have a favorite social media platform? Why?

Definitely Instagram. I hear that in order to stay relevant, I need to think about TikTok but let’s be honest, I’m a woman/mom in my thirties running a business for other parents likely in the same demographic as me, so Instagram seems to fit the bill the best.

I like Instagram because it’s a visual storytelling platform that also has a lot of space for being real, vulnerable and sharing an authentic voice. I love the Instagram stories and the interaction you can get through that feature. Every day I share a poll where I ask my followers to pick which clothing item they prefer from my collection. When I started doing this, I would get a few votes but now, I get tons of engagement and like to throw in the odd silly poll to humanize us all.

7: What made you decide to start using social media as a way to promote your company?

Social media is the best way to reach new people and share what you do, who you are, and what your values are. It’s so much easier to let people know about your business through social media than relying on Google for them to find you. I can’t imagine my business without social media.

8: How has social media impacted your business? Would you say that it’s an effective marketing tool?

Absolutely! Social media has been my number one way of getting known in the community. Without Instagram and Facebook, to a lesser extent, nobody would know that I exist. To rank on Google, it takes months of SEO work, which I am doing, but social media allows you to get in front of people in a much shorter time frame.

9: What advice would you give to other businesses and entrepreneurs who want to use social media as a way to connect with customers?

Just start creating content. Don’t let the fear of putting something out there slow you down. There are several posts I have made that totally flopped but the great news is, nobody is dwelling on them and the entire process of trying new things out is such a great learning opportunity to tune into what works. Most of all, try to have fun with it. When you are having fun, your audience can enjoy what you create with you. At the end of the day, we are all humans behind a keyboard (or phone), so don’t worry about everything being perfectly curated. Focus on connection and being your true self and chances are, someone will connect with what you put out there.

A Little More About Carolyn

In my past life, I dabbled in voice-over work for non-profit videos creating several infographic style shorts as well as a longer video used in a provincial fundraising campaign for Big Sisters. I got to pull out the old voice-over skills again by creating a ‘how-to consign’ video for Bumbles & Clover.

Connect with Carolyn


Know Any Voss Bosses?

Do you know a female entrepreneur who loves social media as much as we do? Contact us today — we’d love to tell her story!



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