Up All Hours With… Tinybeans

Interview

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  2. #interview
  3. #tinybeans
  4. #app
  5. #business
  6. #business women
  • Name: Sarah-Jane Kurtini
  • Age: 37
  • Children: Bella (6 ½) Patrick (4)
  • Where: Bills on Crown Street, Sydney

Up All Hours was fascinated to find out about Tinybeans. It's a clever way of sharing photos of your kids, tracking those precious milestones, but limiting access - eg, only to family. It's especially useful for relatives who live abroad, and it helps declutter your social media.

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So while in Australia recently, we bribed Tinybeans' co-founder Sarah-Jane Kurtini with muffins to spill the, well, tinybeans...

Tinybeans

Tell me about how Tinybeans came about.

My co-founder Stephen wanted to track his children’s milestones after his eldest son experienced speech delays. He began by building a simple website, but it soon developed into an app which became a great way for sharing photos and precious moments with his family. By combining milestone tracking and private photo sharing, Tinybeans was born.

We met through a mutual friend and have been together ever since. With all my family back in the UK, I thought it was such a brilliant idea and wanted to start using Tinybeans immediately. We launched the first iPhone app together in mid-2012.

Stephen looks after all things tech, I take care of marketing, and last year our CEO, Eddie, joined Tinybeans. Now there are six more members of the team and it is so exciting to be working with awesome people to grow our dream.

We love a business built on passions and dreams! We also hear so often about mummas building businesses whilst their children sleep, any tips?

Oh yes, I work at night - a lot! When I’m with my kids I put my work and phone away. Some evenings when I've been at the office all day I only get an hour with them before bedtime, so every second counts. Having my own business brings flexibility and I don’t have to ask anyone to go to my daughter’s assembly. I can do the school drop-off every day, but with more flexibility comes less freedom. Everything comes down to you, so some nights you can’t go to sleep until the work gets done. It helps that my husband is amazing! He has his own business and works nights, so often he picks the kids up from school before I get home and he goes to work.

He works nights and you work days… Without the risk of sounding nosey, when do you have ‘grown up’ time?!

Not as much as we like! Especially when first launching our businesses we got into the habit of sitting next to each other on the sofa, working and not speaking – feeling like we were hanging out but not. So now we’re either working or we’re not: if we’re working we go to a different part of house from each other and if we’re having a meal all technology gets turned off. We moved to Australia from England and don’t have family living near so babysitters are a rare treat, but we try to make evenings in as good as possible. It helps that my husband works in the drinks industry and makes an awesome cocktail.

SJ Tinybeans Family

Wait a minute, you not only took a 24-hour plane journey with your children, you moved your whole life to Australia?!

It was before Patrick was born, so it was just with a 14-month-old Bella. Actually, the worst 24 hours of my parenting life was after Patrick was born and I took both of them back to Sydney from London on my own. A 2.5-year-old and a 4-month old. I don’t know what I was thinking! I ate two boxes of muesli bars, as I couldn’t get the tray down. My top travelling tip with children? Don’t let a toddler out of their pram in Singapore airport - they can run for miles!

Ha, we hear you! So when you’re not travelling to see family overseas, or running amok in Singapore airport, do you rely on social media to keep them up to date with photos?

Well of course we use Tinybeans for sharing photos of the kids with our family. It means I get to keep Facebook more for myself and friends, and it's great that when I’m working late at night there’s always someone in England online to enjoy a little break with.

SJ Tinybeans Family

At Up All Hours we take comfort in knowing someone somewhere in the world is awake when we are (it helps to keep us sane!) In fact our website began with Sam sharing a photo at 2am. Do you think parents' attitudes to sharing family photos in social media have changed?

We actually recently carried out a survey on this, and found that 70% of parents feel uncomfortable – or worried about – sharing family moments in social media. That’s huge, right? We then discovered that 50% of this 70% don’t share, meaning half of those that do worry about sharing photos in social media are still sharing and feeling uncomfortable. I think a lot of the worry comes from not being completely sure about who will see your photos and the extent of privacy settings

Ah yes, the ongoing security debate…

Tinybeans is 100% private – you have to invite someone to follow your journal. Friends and family without smartphones, like grandparents, receive an email with the moments that have been shared, so they don’t miss out. Our most gorgeous feedback is often from grandparents who say their Tinybeans update is the highlight of their day. I save my feedback emails for my cup of tea in a morning, and it's a great way to start the day.

Ohh, a nice cup of tea makes everything right, doesn’t it? Have you learnt anything from when it doesn’t go right?

Don’t be a hero! Early on I pretended everything was fine, but the moment I opened up and said I struggled sometimes, friends said "me too". It opened up the channels for communication and people offered help. I found it hard to accept that help to start with but now I take any help I can!

I want to introduce you to The Up All Hours round: a quick-fire round of questions so we can get to know a little more about what you're currently into. It might serve as some awesome recommendations for others.

Up All Hours watching

Breaking Bad, yes I know, just a couple of years behind everyone else!

*Up All Hours reading

How To Build A Girl… it’s taking me back to my teenage grunge years and making me homesick

Up All Hours listening to

iTunes Radio Festival Best Performances

Up All Hours eating

Jamie’s Great Britain book. I’m obsessed with his Empire Chicken (soooo good!)

Up All Hours wearing

Black and fluoro. Black means minimal thought required in the morning and I can wipe porridge off it easily. The fluoro accessories and shoes are to cheer me up!

And finally, if you had to be Up All Hours with anyone, who would it be and why?

Zoe Ball, my girl-crush. It is weird to say that if we met in real life I’m convinced we’d be besties?

Poop, flying solo with children, business building during the night and social media sharing… I think we covered everything there! For more info on Tinybeans head to www.tinybeans.com.

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