Today we are going to talk about what drove me to start Tickle Tots.
Some of you may already be aware of how our story started, but for those of you who are not...
Tickle Tots was born on a kitchen table in Shropshire, literally the table that is in my kitchen right now from where I am writing this post from. When Evelyn my daughter was born I was set on the idea of using cloth nappies both from an environmental sense and also to save some money. We started our cloth nappy journey but I very quickly established that Evelyn’s legs were just too skinny for the brands on the market and this led to me getting out my trusty sewing machine and having a go at making my own.
From here first Tickle Tots nappy was born. I used to get friends with babies to test the nappies and give me feedback on what needed to be tweaked and improved and what worked well. Once I had the design right it was time to find someone to manufacture the nappies, something that I thought would be easy but in reality it was not easy at all.
It is a minefield to find a manufacturer, there are so many things to think about, to check and negotiate all before a sample is made and sent to be reviewed.
I returned to work during this phase so I was now juggling part time work, family life and trying to launch a business.
After what seemed like forever we were eventually ready to launch the product. We had a soft launch through a number of independent retailers at the end of 2015 with our official launch at the NEC Baby-Show in May 2016 and we have not looked back since. We now sell our nappies directly through our own website, a number of eco-conscious retailers both on-line and in-store and more recently through Waitrose. Whilst initially I was trying to juggle a job and Tickle Tots the decision was taken that I should leave my job to run Tickle Tots full time - the demands of trying to run all three was too much and juggling everything was a task in itself.
The beauty of running your own business is the fact that it can fit around you, I am able to walk the children to school in the morning, pick them up at night and take them to their clubs. School holidays are a little more of a juggle but I get to go to the Nativities, Sports Days and other school events.
There is a flip side to running your own business and I will always give anyone who asks both sides of my story; when you own a business you are never off duty! You are the only person who can answer that email, deal with that issue, pack that order. Even when you're on holiday.
However, when I’m tired, drained or at my wits end I would never change the business for the world. I have put all of my energy into making Tickle Tots and I cannot wait to see where it will take me next.