There are thousands of parenting websites for mums and dads to turn to on the internet, but Yano, carrying the motto “Inspiring families with fresh-thinking on parenting”, is an innovative venture with the aim of providing not only mums and dads with a source of information, but an online establishment that caters to the whole family unit.
For Ann-Marie McKimm, mum to Eva and Zia (aged six and five respectively) and the woman behind this forward-thinking organisation, her personal family experiences alongside a successful career in the recruitment industry, is where the idea of Yano stemmed from.
Here’s what she had to say.
Tell us more about Yano and your vision…
“I found as a working mother there was nothing out there that spoke to me. Yano is exactly all of those ideas embodied in our motto. It was very much about reflection on real-life. I think that’s the thing when you start a business yourself you’ve got to pull out of real-life experiences – it’s so much easier for me because I’m so passionate about Yano and for me this was about a reflection on my life.
I think that’s the thing when you start a business yourself you’ve got to pull out of real-life experiences – it’s so much easier for me because I’m so passionate about Yano and for me this was about
“I thought ‘well nothing is speaking to me right now’, and when I spoke to other mums and my own parents, they were saying the same too, that there was no website talking to them. Immediately, I felt there was a gap in the market, especially as my friends and family were echoing the same questions.
"No longer is it just mum and dad, that isn’t how it is now. And I think there is something to be said about the cultural mixes we’ve had over the years. I want it to be a website that embraces different culture and the diversity of that.
"My background is West Indian, my husband is Irish and when we look at our children, we know they’re mixed. And that’s just one family –there’s so many different mixes within families in the UK today, but I felt that there wasn’t anything to really embrace that."
And so Yano was born…what can families expect to see on the website?
"When I started Yano, the website, I was very persistent that I wanted articles that were thought-provoking and quite challenging sometimes, which would encourage parents to think outside of the box, and certainly inspire grandparents and anybody who had the opportunity to influence children.
"So that’s not just mums and dads but teachers, carers anybody that’s really had a direct influence on children is really what Yano is about and that’s who we are that’s what we want to do is pull that diverse family unit."
What makes Yano stand out from other parenting websites such as Mumsnet?
"I wanted a website that spoke to the whole family and what Yano does is offer something to the whole family unit – and what it says is we embrace the diversity of the modern family unit now.
"Mumsnet is fantastic and they have an amazing following. They are very professional at what they do, just look at how successful they’ve been. They cater for a huge group of mothers out there and they are so supportive to these mothers.
"But I really believe that there is room for Yano out there. I felt that I wanted a website that spoke to the whole family because in my own family when raising my two daughters and setting up Yano, it was myself, my husband - we both worked - my brother helped and my mum and dad helped. I think that really reflects modern day families at the moment anywhere.
"It isn’t just mums, it is mums, dads, uncles, aunties and grandparents, they all get involved in the upbringing of a child and for me the Mumsnets of this world, as fantastic as they are, and they are brilliant, it really is what it says on the can it’s Mumsnet – it’s for mums."
Why the name ‘Yano’?
"The name Yano comes from an Amazon Rainforest tribe, they’re called Yanomami. I sort of went back and thought where can I get inspiration from and that’s when I came across the tribe in the amazon. The reason why I chose Yano is because of what the business stands for. It’s a very ethical business – it’s about sustainability. Everything we do, we think about the environment because if we’re talking about children here – we’ve got to think about the future of children and we wouldn’t be right if we didn’t think about the environment they’re living in."
Is it difficult balancing business and family life?
"I think any parent; their first priority has to be, being a mum, a dad, a grandparent whatever it is that they are, that’s got to be your priority. That’s the most important thing – your family.
"So there’s always going to be a challenge in that, in trying to balance family life and work life. But I think for me the key thing is assuring that my children have everything they need, and that’s not material things, that’s the emotional things that my children need.
"I started running my first business at 29. And as a working mother it wasn’t just me at home raising my children, when I had my first child, Eva, my brother helped. As a working mum, I needed that support, it wasn’t a case of me shutting up shop to be at home – at the end of the day I was working and my money was paying my bills."