Well, a toddler actually. But the challenges are much the same!
Welcome to my first profile of a mum who has succeeded in starting a business with a small child. Introducing Elizabeth Geldart of Chiggs Ltd…
Tell us a little about your business
My business, Chiggs Ltd, based in Harrogate, retails and wholesales my own inventions- the Baby Feed Wheel, Baby Medicine Wheel and the Get Well Wheel. These are parenting products, cards and gifts with rotating numbered dials to keep track of baby’s feed and everyone’s medicine times! I have been running my business since 2005, and now supply my products to online and bricks & mortar shops throughout the UK, and further afield!
What was your job before starting your business?
I used to be an Air Stewardess, but I was a stay-at-home Mum when I had the idea for my first product, the Baby Feed Wheel.
What were your reasons for starting a business?
I didn’t really sit down and plan to start a business, but I had an idea for a product that I thought would be useful for new parents- too good not to take further, so I set about designing and making it!
Did you use any childcare?
I mainly worked around my daughter, Holly, by working in the evenings or when my husband, who works shifts was around to help with childcare. Holly was just 2 when I had the idea and was doing all the initial research and design, and she had just started going to a local nursery for a couple of hours twice a week which was also small window of opportunity!
How did you get your business idea?
The inspiration for my first invention, the Baby Feed Wheel, came in October 2005 when I was visiting a friend who’d just had a baby. In the midst of sleep deprivation, she couldn’t remember her little boy’s last feed time, so I jokingly suggested she used a car parking disc to set the time whenever he had a feed. A couple of days later I took round a little ‘homemade’ version (covered in blue paper with a little picture stuck on the front!)
Remembering my own ‘hazy days’ after my daughter Holly’s birth, when I would write all her feed times down on pieces of paper, I realised what a useful idea this would be for new parents.
What were your challenges and how did you overcome them?
My main challenge was a lack of experience! I had no experience of running a business, or of bringing a brand new product to market, and there were so many things to do:- product development, patents, production, branding, sales and marketing….
What training, information or advice did you need to get started?
I did lots and lots of research on the internet, but it was mainly a case of learning by experience!
If you could give one piece of advice to a mum of a baby or toddler starting a business, what would it be?
Go for it! Particularly if you have an idea for a new product- you’ll kick yourself if someone else invents ‘your’ product!
Did you start a business as mum to a baby or toddler? Would you like your story to appear on Business Plus Baby?