Thursday, 2 April 2015

A Thoroughly Modern Tale of Two Parentpreneurs

Nicola and Louise, the co-founders of Thoroughly Modern Baby

This week we are catching up with the founders of Thoroughly Modern Baby, an online baby boutique, to tell us how two lifelong friends became business partners. 

Louise lives in Hackney with her husband and daughter, Skye Daisy and Nicola lives in their home town of Perth and has a grown-up son, Cain, who is now studying Art in Glasgow. 

How does this make for an online baby business you might ask?

Well, it started with an obsessional love for Cuddledry's Apron towel. Lou has purchased dozens of these as newborn gifts and as Skye started to grow, she found herself looking for more of these innovative products that were popping up to help modern mums and babies - from the genius ideas to the super-practical everyday items, the just-for-fun to the down right beautiful. Lou soon realised that although there was plenty of fantastic ‘stuff, she couldn't find anywhere that you could buy all of these wonderful products together. One basket, one click, one easy lunch hour transaction... or 10 minutes on the sofa with a cuppa.

So she started researching and pulled in the help of one of her oldest pals who, as luck would have it, just so happens to be a digital-marketing professional… Enter Nic to the mix!  The pair started planning and within one lunch date they had a name, after a couple of dozen emails to TGo Creative Design they had a brand and following hundreds of hours of chat between themselves and Anna at Atholl Road Design, they were ecstatic with the launch of their prototype website.

All of this happened in time for their first trip to Harrogate in March 2014.“We were so wet behind the ears. We had this idea that suppliers would pay an admin fee to be part of our fabulous site. That lasted about ten minutes! We were changing strategy as we walked – it was hilarious. Thankfully, Nic and I are both used to working in industries that change constantly and neither of us shy away from making quick decisions so we just rolled with it!

We were focused on what we were looking to sell though and we didnt really deviate from this. We had a vision of a beautiful website filled with innovative products that would make parentslives easier and baby's life happier.  So it had to be clever or beautiful or both!”. The weeks that followed were immense; Nic headed to Hackney for a full-on week of copywriting, photo resizing and website uploading.

“We barely touched the sides of what needed done. It was so labour intensive. Nic went back home to Scotland and we worked until midnight every night for about a month. I include Anna the web developer in that statement - she was amazing”
Louise with baby daughter Skye Daisy.
The site launched on 1st June 2014, with Nicki sitting watching patiently from Scotland and Lou trying to connect to the internet from her family holiday in France. They clocked up 1000 unique visitors in week one and theyve never looked back.

“Were both really pleased with everything we have on the site now; not just the products. We wanted to create an interesting platform for parents whether they’re buying products or not; its one of the reasons we decided to invest so much effort in our blogging section. 
Weve been thrilled at the experts whove agreed to chat for us – Jo Swinson MP has talked about Shared Parental Leave; Andrea Grace, the sleep expert, provided her top sleep tips for babies.  We also invited our friend, Mrs M, to document her pregnancy - a beautiful read!
When we realised how much parents enjoyed the ‘real lifestories from Lou, her husband Iain and our friends Muireann and Louisa, we launched ‘Parent Reviews’ and thats been another huge hit. Were just so delighted that everyone seems to love the site as much as we do!”

They have just completed their second Harrogate Nursery Fair; with almost a year under their belts they know what works and what doesnt. It was two confident and knowledgeable women that strode into Hall H this year. “We were on fire! We had a list of items we knew we wanted, an idea of gaps in our range and a real commitment to the quality and integrity of the brand weve been building.  You need to be so sure with online because people cant see or touch before they buy; so when it hits their doorstep, they need to open the box and be WOWed".

We know our customers trust us to have checked every product for quality and feel-good factor - its important we get it right. Thankfully were both super-fussy” The increase in web traffic, social engagement, sales and blog readers isnt the only thing to have put a smile on the faces of these old friends this year. Lou and her husband Iain are expecting their second baby at the start of June meaning ‘Dad-D and Skyes Adventuresare about to include a brand new little character.

“People wonder how we do all this, hundreds of miles apart and with families and other jobs to worry about. But the truth is, regardless of where you live, what you do and how your family works, if you believe in something youll find a way to do it. The feedback weve had on Thoroughly Modern Baby and our product range is wonderful.  Sometimes when youre a bit knackered and uploading pics or sorting the VAT return, an email will ping in with a photograph of a lovely baby using our products it makes it all worthwhile.  We both love our website and cant wait to see what year two is going to bring.”

To receive your Thoroughly Modern Baby discount please click HERE

To browse through the gorgeous range click HERE

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