Jenn McGarrigle discusses starting a business

“I was seven months pregnant when I quit my job,” says Jenn McGarrigle, co-founder of sustainability consultancy Cyd Connects (pictured above with her family). “It was the scariest thing I had ever done, but also the most freeing feeling in the world.”

When she quit the start-up she previously worked at, she never imagined she would go on to start her own business.

“After I quit, I called up a friend of mine, Aisling, 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, 38, 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’d reduced childcare for our first child while I was going to be on maternity leave, we’d stopped having a car, which we felt we didn’t need in London, and then we’d set the target of saving eight to 12 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. “Aisling was finishing her sustainability Masters and doing consulting for businesses that wanted to become more sustainable.”

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 and delivered their first project to their first client.

They have since supported countless clients with one-off projects and ongoing sustainability tracking and communication in all sorts of industries – construction, technology, fashion, food, travel – and many in beauty. Jenn previously worked as the Head of Marketing for the well-known beauty and wellness brand Liz Earle.

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