FANTASTIC Female – Sophia Procter is the founder and CEO of Munchy Play

Sophia Procter is the founder and CEO of Munchy Play – the first children’s plate with a built-in track, solving mealtime struggles. She lives in London with her family, and loves all things kitsch and ‘kawaii’.

The Munchy Play collection is now available on amazon.co.uk/munchyplay and you can follow her @munchyplay

FANTASTIC FEMALE – SOPHIA PROCTER IS THE FOUNDER AND CEO OF MUNCHY PLAY

How do you balance being a mother and a professional? 

It’s certainly a challenge, especially now that we’re all spending more time together. I try to fit work in around my day. There is no such thing as a 9-5 anymore, it’s all about ‘units of time’ as Hugh Grant said in About a Boy! My husband and I try and plan our day so we have enough time to both work, and also spend quality time with our son. It’s not easy, I’m still working on it.

What have you sacrificed (both personally and professionally) at each stage of your career? 

I’m a communications professional by trade, and held senior roles at British Airways, Red Bull and Ask.com before launching my own business. To work at that level, you have to be committed to your job, travel a lot, and often miss important friend and family events. That’s the trade-off, but I had some incredible experiences and learnt a lot which I can now bring to my own business.

When I came up with the idea for my kids’ plates back in 2017, I had to take a financial risk to invest in machinery, engineering, and protecting my intellectual property. Everyone I spoke to thought I was overly ambitious, but I just saw it as a problem that needed to be solved. I had to sacrifice my career, my personal time and my savings to achieve it.

Who inspired you and why?

I guess it was my son who inspired me. He was such a terrible eater and not interested in coming to the table, unless he had his toys with him. He forced me to look at eating from a child’s perspective. When I did, I realised that young children take great comfort in toys and play. Tapping into this, I created the first-ever kids’ plate with a built in track to help overcome mealtime meltdowns. I knew that if it worked for my fussy eater, it could help families everywhere. I’ve always kept that thought close.

What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?

There are no shortcuts to success, it takes hard work and time. Above all, you must love what you do, that’s so important for a long and enjoyable career.

Find someone in your business that you respect and has your back, and ask them to mentor you. The best boss I ever had (Kate Gay, former Global Head of PR at British Airways) is still a very good friend and confidant.

munchy play

Do you think women feel intimidated in business?

Generally, I think women tend to feel more intimated than men do. I suspect it’s because we’re over-thinkers.

I’m not easily intimidated and quite enjoy challenging power. I thank my Dad for that. He encouraged me to have a voice and be brave enough to use it. I quite enjoy the male approach to business – we can learn a lot from it.

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?  

I’m either standing on lego scattered across the living room floor, or just leaving the house to go for a walk or cycle with my son! Since lockdown I’ve developed a huge appreciation for green space, and very lucky to live in a place where there’s lots of it.

FANTASTIC FEMALE – SOPHIA PROCTER IS THE FOUNDER AND CEO OF MUNCHY PLAY

What do you love about your job?

As the CEO of my own company, it’s liberating to be agile and make decisions quickly and confidently without being held back.

And since we’re a start-up, we’re able to do things the right way. Like, for instance, we made a conscious decision to have our kid’s plates manufactured in Britain, as well as use engineers, printers and illustrators in the UK. Now more than ever, parents are turning to British produce for quality and reassurance, so it has paid off.

What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?

Being brave enough to launch my own business. I’ve grown more in the past three years than I have at any other point in my career. I’ve learnt how to build a website, use photoshop, delve into child psychology, and get to grips with injection moulding. 

What’s the worst career decision you’ve ever made?

No decision you make is ever a bad one, because it leads you to where you are. However, I do know that if my heart isn’t in something, I simply won’t do well at it.

How do you organise your time?

I’m an avid list-writer and find that the simple act of writing my ‘to do’s down forces me to focus better. I try and look ahead at the start of each week to give me a head-start too.

What do you think is your greatest strength?

It’s probably my tenacity. If I truly believe in something, I won’t give up. It took me three years’ to bring my product to market, I never expected it would take that long.

What do you think is your greatest weakness?

I have many, but I’m highly impatient – which even irritates me! On the upside, it has served me well, as I’m very creative at finding ways around problems.

munchy play

How do you make decisions?

When you run your own business, you have to get used to making decisions quickly and often on your own. It certainly builds your character. I take a simple view and ask myself is the risk worth the return? If it’s a big decision, I’ll consult with my husband or an ex-colleague, just as a sanity check.

What do you read?

Absolutely everything by Seth Godin, he speaks such sense and is the smartest guy. I love reading other people’s stories, everything from parent blogs that follow me, through to marketing and professional blogs like Neil Patel and Danielle Newnham.

What do you think are the secrets behind getting to where you’ve got to?

Surrounding myself with good people. I’m blessed with a wonderful family, brilliant friends, and former colleagues that are always there for me. I’ve worked hard to get where I am, and still feel like I have a long way to go yet!

FANTASTIC FEMALE – SOPHIA PROCTER IS THE FOUNDER AND CEO OF MUNCHY PLAY

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