1. Tell us a bit about your business?
London Mummy is an online store which offers gorgeous design led gifts for babies and children. In addition, we offer a new baby gift box service using the lovely products within our range. Customers, and our corporate clients, can either create their own bespoke box or choose from a selection of our ready to go boxes and we take care of the rest. This service is particularly popular with overseas customers who want to send a fabulous gift to someone here in the UK.
2. What inspired you to start your business?
I previously ran my own interior design business and during visits to trade shows would see so many gorgeous products for children that weren’t readily available to buy here in the UK. Plus, with a love of textiles and a rather large fabric collection, I had always made interior accessories etc for my own daughter and friends who were looking for something a little different were asking me to create something for their children too. I decided to source and curate a collection of these products that would appeal to both parents and their children and create my own range of interior accessories.
3. What are the biggest challenges you face with your business?
Juggling cash flow, having confidence in myself and asking for help to grow the business.
When I started the business, it was literally from scratch. I had incurred a large bad debt from one of my interior design clients which took me to the brink of bankruptcy and shattered my confidence in my own judgement. I have also been a single parent to my daughter since she was 3, so obtaining funding for this new venture proved impossible and due to the age limitations at the time, 18 – 25, I was too “old” for a Start Up Loan.
In order to get the business off the ground, I raided my fabric stash, made some products, sold them on ebay and at fairs and gradually was able to buy in stock with the proceeds. The first London Mummy website was an off the peg shopping cart which I customised myself – one steep learning curve!
4. What is the most rewarding part of your business?
I absolutely love sourcing new products for the business and the feedback received from both customers and corporate clients about what we offer and our level of customer service.
5. What advice would you give to people who have a business dream that they want to follow?
Plan carefully but don’t procrastinate!
Set yourself reasonable goals, keep an eye on the end result but remember that it takes time to build something really worthwhile. There will be setbacks along the way but remember can’t is spelt TRY!
Put yourself and your ideas out there, don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice. There are so many useful resources online, visit sites like www.enterprisenation.com a great source of useful information and support for small businesses, Start Up events etc .
Collaborate and build a support network within your local business community, Starting and running a business can be a very daunting time and it is easy to feel isolated and alone. Getting together with others who are in, or have been in, the same boat is inspiring and a great way to exchange ideas, learn about new resources and ventures and provide support to each other.
To find out more about Esther and London Mummy shop click here: http://www.londonmummy.com/