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Friday, 26 August 2016

An Interview with Lisa Williams of TantrumXYZ (and some gossip on Ross Kemp)

I recently wrote about my budding breastmilk empire and favourite cartoon dads for TantrumXYZ, an online magazine and shop based in London. Through all of those experiences I always enjoyed working with Lisa Williams, one of the founders, and the creative engine behind the website.

Picture of the homepage of TantrumXYZ
TantrumXYZ homepage. The company is based in London.

She'd just had a baby and yet was smashing it, writing great content at a rate of knots, and working as a fashion editor, selecting the best kids' clothes and trawling through unusual fashion brands, picking out the best to sell on their website.

OK, so Lisa, tell us about TantrumXYZ, in one sentence?

TantrumXYZ is a shop and magazine for tech-savvy, design-conscious parents!

OK! Now tell us a bit more, what makes you different to other parenting websites? 

We help parents get what they want, all in one place, on their mobile phone. Parents are busy, so we can save them time by offering them funny and useful content in the magazine, and an edit of interesting kids’ brands to buy quickly and easily.

Designer kids clothes for sale on the TantrumXYZ website - featuring Stella McCartney, Bobo Choses and Babe & Tess
Kids' clothes by Stella McCartney, Bobo Choses and Babe & Tess on TantrumXYZ

We’re always thinking of new things to service parents of young children, so have recently added a ‘Breeders’ Digest’ newsletter to help everyone catch up on the news and the best of the web each week, and a family events calendar to browse what’s happening near you (or to upload your own event). We also run our own networking events for parents in start-ups and there's more in the pipeline too…

Tell us about your career and what inspired you to set this up.

I am a journalist by trade, starting out as a local news reporter covering crime, politics, health and good old-fashioned local news stories. I never had to report on a cat-stuck-up-a-tree rescue, but I did have a series of front pages about mysterious dog poisoning incidents, and broke a news story about an Iraqi politician’s wife driving down the road with a traffic warden on her boot, which was quite a far-fetched way of escaping a parking fine.

I went on to work for the UK’s national news agency Press Association. I spent a lot of time waiting for celebrities on the red carpet, and discovered that Kate Hudson and Jon Hamm are the nicest celebs around. I don’t have such kind words for Ross Kemp or Nicole Kidman.

For three years before setting up TantrumXYZ, I worked at Conde Nast, editing Tatler’s website – a heady mix of country pursuits and fashion.

Oh really? Dish some dirt on these celebs then! 

Ross used to complain about being described as ‘hard man Ross Kemp’, but there wasn’t much we could do about it, as that’s just how showbiz reporting goes. We were a bit cheeky with it, and I think we once wrote a story with the headline ‘’Stop calling me a ‘hard man’,’ says hard man Ross Kemp’.

Haha! Tell us about your son, what's he like? 

Picture of Lisa Williams, founder of TantrumXYZ with her son Stanley

Stanley is 13 months now. He looks as cute as a button but is #thuglife through and through. Favourite pastimes include eating mud, bashing objects together to make the maximum possible noise, and smiling at grumpy people.

What was the birth like? 

Stanley was breech so we had a planned c-section. It was very calm, unlike the first six weeks of life with a newborn, which felt as close as I’ll get to being a prisoner of war.

What's been your most memorable moment as a parent? 

Picture of Lisa Williams, founder of TantrumXYZ with her son Stanley
So many! I love all the cuddles and the cheekiness. Highlight so far was probably Stanley’s first giggle, which was when I was pretending to sneeze while holding him in front of a mirror. Making your baby laugh is such a great feeling, and I love having a little partner in crime.

What's been your most difficult moment? 

The first six weeks. We had feeding issues so he was hungry and crying, I was despairing, in constant pain, and severely sleep-deprived. We turned a corner at six weeks, and it’s got increasingly fun ever since. What nugget of advice would you give other new mums, knowing what you know now?

Picture of Lisa Williams, founder of TantrumXYZ with her son Stanley
Don't worry about the state of your house, the thank-you cards or entertaining people when they visit. When you're not feeding and either your baby is sleeping or there’s someone who can hold him or her, stick on an eye-mask and get some sleep.

Thanks Lisa! All the best with TantrumXYZ and I wish you every success.  

P.S. I've just been looking through the kids' clothes on the website and I'm tempted to spend a small fortune! There are brands like Stella McCartney and Burberry, plus cool ones I've never heard of like Bobo Choses, Oeuf NYC, Bellerose and Finger in the Nose. Have a look! 

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