Music has long been a key feature in my life from my early boyfriends being in bands, my first husband who I was with from 21 to 31 being a music producer and world-touring DJ. Then when we separated I moved to Ibiza the clubbing capital of the world, many of my friendships have been solidified on the dance floor. One of my favourite pregnancy pictures is me in DC10 at least 6 months pregnant. Then as tea total sober, more sensible me met my now-husband Pete Gooding in an office in Ibiza, he lives and breaths music as a once DJ and music producer to now being a music manager. Music is a core part of our family my 7-year-old knows the basics of DJing and is a passionate singer (thanks to my sisters online singing groups) music is deep in the soul of so many people and none more so than the founder of Disko Kids who turned what sets her soul on fire into a business.
Hi Helen, Welcome to No Mum Is An Island. I am a great believer that no mum or dad should have to do everything themselves, we can’t possibly know it all, and we need all the support we can get, there is a wealth of information out there to help us upgrade our parenting experience, to make our lives easier and this website is a hub for just that! We love that you have transformed your love of music not only into a great way to dress your kids in unique stylish clothing but also to a way to create a business to help support your family.
Can you tell us about your own music career and what it meant to you to do a job you loved?
I always loved music as a kid – teen. Then when I went to Liverpool in ’89 as a student the club /rave scene had well and truly started & I was buying a hell of a lot of records with money I got from a part time job. We used to go out every weekend to different clubs in term time – Back To Basics , Quadrant Park, Renaissance, Luv Dup nights in Manchester around the North then when I came home from Polytechnic in the holidays, my friend and I would drive down to London at get the best of both parts of the country clubs and went to places like The Gardening Club, The Milk Bar, Sign Of The Times & Cafe de Paris.
I started DJing properly when I returned from Liverpool Poly. My first pay cheque from my floor manager job at Next bought some decks and a mixer & I then did everything I could do get myself a spot DJing at a local club.
I’d been messing around on friends decks in Liverpool and had made lots of friends who were DJ’s ( mostly because I was continuously going up to the decks to find out what a record was called, so I could go and find it the following week ) One night at an after party on a trip to a Birmingham club I got asked by promoter Phil Gifford who ran the club Wobble if I would send him a mixtape as he was looking for someone to become resident at the club. I was over the moon and got one to him and started DJ’ing there the last week. I then got gigs up and down the country guesting at other clubs on Friday & Saturday nights – at one point I was holding down my day job as at a manager at Next & driving up to Derby, Newcastle or wherever the gig was on the evening
It was the best job – and I go to play at some ace clubs and travelled all over the place to play. I got to the point where I I handed in my notice at my job at Next & DJ’d for a few years with no day job. My circumstances with my partner at the time changed and I moved back home and I remember feeling a bit lost at the time. Out of the blue a store manager role at Fopp an independent music retailer. came up. It was in Leamington Spa nearer to Birmingham where I was still DJing most weeks. Fopp sold Vinyl, CD’s, Books – I was my element – It was another great job that I really loved. I loved the people I was working alongside & they were all really into their music so we all shared knowledge & likes – I learnt so much about all genres of music in that shop.
The next chapter of my life involved the birth of Lottie followed by my partner at the time developing a terminal melanoma cancer so understandably my carer went on hold for a number of years while I was in that bubble. I met Chris my current partner in 2012 & we started up a Men’s T-shirt business – ‘NoWayBack’ with designs inspired by dance music culture.
How did the idea for Disko Kids come about?
After NoWayBack had been going a few years Chris helped me set up Disko Kids – we wanted to create designs for kids T’s – Our kids initially . The name seemed to fit as we’d met in a club and our kids were constantly around us playing music all the time. The ladies clothing, prints & greetings cards have been added as we’ve grown over the last few years.
Your art and t-shirts really resonate with people, what is it about the designs capture peoples souls?
I hope they relate to the designs in some way – maybe they love music, Disco, have had a pair of Roller Skates as a kid, born in the 70’s or 80’s.
Charity is also a huge part of the Disko Kids ethos can you share with us who you support and why?
It’s a nice feeling to give something back from what we are doing and the charity Winstons Wish is close to our heart. I found lots of support from Winstons Wish when Lottie was growing up & now. We’ve also donated to a number of other charities through sales of certain T’s and sweatshirts since we started. Alzheimers research UK & Alzheimers Society.
Your mixtape blogs are amazing… what would your top 10 mixtape tunes be?
Thanks – it’s great hearing other people’s selections – there’s always a track I’d forgotten about or something I’d not heard before on them.
I love all genres of music so it’s always a bit of mix up when I have to choose tracks.
Here’s a few of my favourite records that I love, bring back memories or just make me want to dance x
One Dove – fallen ( Andrew Weatherall mix)
Beach Boys God Only Knows
Karen Young – Detour
David Beneath – Feel The reel ( remix )
The Tramp – Say No Dope ( Exnd vocal mix )
Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes – Don’t leave me this way
Pet shop Boys – Left to my own devices ( Disco Mix )
Ten City – That’s the way love is (underground mix)
JT Company – Don’t deal with us
Madona – Borderline
Electric Dreams – Phil Oakey & Giorgio Moroder
What would you say to other mums who want to create a business around something they love?
I think the answer is in the question – running a business around something you are passionate about it what keeps your driven. I love what I do & enjoy every minute I work on the business but don’t get me wrong it’s bloody hard work.
It has been great to have a job that’s flexible around the kids too but the last few years a lot of things have had to take a back seat. Ironically any spare time I might spend on buying new music, messing around on my decks is now spent on Disko Kids – alongside all that goes with being a Mum.
I’d say another good thing is to have a good network of fellow business owners – it can get quite lonely sometimes & scary doing things when you’re working on your own – but having friends who are doing a similar thing gives a great support to help with all sorts of things. I’ve recently joined @themamahood which is a great platform for mother makers who are building a business alongside family – providing community, kinship and networking with other small business owners.