What’s your name? Rachel Pettiford
How many children and old are they?
I have two cheeky little girls aged 2 and 3 and 2 lovely step daughters aged 11 and 21 and a step son aged 18 who is adored by all his sisters!
What is the name of your business? Little Grippers
What is your business and when did you start it?
Little Grippers is a children’s accessory solutions brand, selling socks and gloves with Stay On Technology, keeping gloves and baby socks on and stopping school socks from falling down. The Stay On Technology is a 100% natural hypoallergenic silicon applied directly to the cuff of the product with no additional stitching or trims. The innovation work and business plan started in February 2012 and we launch with a full e-commerce website and at the Bubble London Childrenswear Trade Show on Sunday the 27th of January 2013.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
Having 5 children in the family means that you soon get to know the problems we as parents face with baby and kids products whether they be related to clothing, feeding, bedtimes, or toys and the one thing that struck us is the problem with baby socks getting lost and school socks falling down. How many times do you see baby socks on the floor in the shopping center or do you hear yourself telling your child to look tidy and pull your socks up. It is such a stereotypical image that we expect to see school children with one sock up and one sock down that even the industries marketing depict this.
Can you share 3 positive aspects about being a business mum?
I always wanted to put my career on hold and be a stay at home Mum when I had children, at least until they went to school, the early years go so fast and you can never get them back, but after 3 years I needed to get back to doing something more work wise. The sense of achievement and self worth you get from seeing your kids grow up is amazing, but there is no right or wrong and I found that my brain needed a different challenge as well as a sense of achievement outside of the daily tasks and something else to talk about other than family and babies. A happy fulfilled Mummy is a happy home.
Having my own business means that I decide who has my time and when. I work when the girls are in bed or at playgroup so I can still give them my full attention and they get the best Mummy I can be.
As a family our life is now geared up to getting the best work life balance possible and by working together with my husband, Adrien, from home, we can both be flexible, successful in our business but also be there for the little things that are so important like being at those special assemblies and picking the children up from school every time.
Working from home with my husband especially when busy means that it can become all consuming in the evenings, we have the perfect work life balance where the kids are concerned, but sometimes we forget about each other.
How do you keep motivated?
I use the children as my motivator, the ability to provide properly for them, both in a financial sense and also an emotional balanced one is very important. The alternative of working for someone else is not something I can contemplate at the moment.
Would you change anything you’ve done in building and developing your business?
I had a great idea and as soon as I shared it with the business community suddenly the pressure was on to get it out there. We have delivered a new brand to the market place in under 11 months. That means design, technifying, branding and intellectual property including patent application, marketing, sourcing, production, quality, etc etc etc…….
What I should have done is focused on the design and IP and once completely happy with the product, then started shouting about it. Our product is great but in an ideal world I would have liked a few more weeks to deliver it, instead we have had too many 2 am finishes for my liking!!
What tips would you give anyone wanting to start their own business?
With any business I would say take your time, make sure you choose something that you are passionate about and truly believe in, and carry out comprehensive market research to get your product or service 100% right, be sure your business plan is made with sound assumptions and realistic. You need your key business supporters in line with you and as passionate about the company as you are, i.e. your bank and investors, your solicitors and accountants and your service providers, no one wants you to fail you just need to be brave enough to take the plunge.
Our e-commerce website is www.littlegrippers.com
Watch our animation video and listen to our BBC Radio Live interviews at www.youtube.com/littlegrippersuk
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Rachel. Good luck with the venture and we will be watching closely to see how it goes!
Would you like to be featured on the Design Diva page? Drop me a line to find out more – email@example.com
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