Hi Keri, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed by us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a mother of 3 young children: Jasper, my twins Charlie and Aryella and my new baby - KeriKit! I am very driven, I never sit still, I love a list as I always seem to have one and I can’t sleep if I don’t empty my head before bed but I also love a glass of champagne on a Friday night.
What is Kerikit?
Kerikit is my new brand of changing bags that are designed to change with you. The idea behind KeriKit came to me through a genuine frustration with the range of changing bags available during both my pregnancies. I needed a bag big enough for all our things but also stylish and high quality. Having worked as a designer and then buyer of luxury accessories, I like and understand beautiful and well made pieces. This combined with my desire to find a career that could work around my family led me to create my debut range.
As a Mum, your designs really appeal to me, because they don't look like changing bags. What sparked the inspiration behind your designs?
Exactly that. I wanted my bags to be desirable to everybody. Not just new mothers but business women and any lady that enjoys a little bit of luxury in their lives and understand the importance of quality. When you become a mother you can often feel like you’ve lost your identity.
Everyone knows you by your child’s name and often by the time you have got your little ones up and out of the door you realise you didn’t have time to apply any makeup or put on your earrings! With a KeriKit bag on your arm it can keep you looking a little bit more glamorous and allow you to keep a bit of your personal style. My bags will help you stay super organised and gain you those extra few minutes every day so you can put in your earrings and dry your hair before you leave the house looking gorgeous.
What was the journey like from idea to finished product?
The hardest part was limiting myself to the amount of designs I could produce. However it was actually really good thing to limit myself to just 8 designs for my debut range because it forced me to look at each design in great detail to ensure it really was the best it could be, and that each bag was offering something different from the other styles in the range. Each piece is named after a member of my family, and as with all our beloved families, they too have their own personalities. When I meet a new customer I can quickly deduce which bag they will go for.
I won’t deny that at times it has been challenging. I did the designs whilst I was on maternity leave and while the twins were very small and sleeping, however it’s also been very rewarding. As with most mothers I seem to be a lot more emotional than before I had children and can easily be reduced to tears when I receive a testimonial from a customer. It’s not just that they have taken the time to write to me, it’s that they then go on to tell me all the benefits of their chosen style and how they love their KeriKit bag more now they have had time to use it than at the time of purchase. This is why I do what I do and it makes me feel really proud of what I have achieved so far.
We all make mistakes, what mistake, if any, taught you the most during the production process?
My bags are very technical and take (coincidentally) around 9 months from conception to completion. It was impossible for my factory to give me prices until the bags were made. I had planned to sell my range at £200-£300 however when the first samples arrived along with the prices it became very apparent that these beautiful bags would never be that price.
I had to make the decision to either deconstruct the range to fit into a price point, reduce the sizes or change the leathers, or leave them as they were and offer them to a more premium customer. I know this will make sales more challenging but I did not want to compromise on quality or features.
For other entrepreneurs out there looking to create their own product, what would be your greatest advice?
Try not to come up with something totally new that you know nothing about. All great ideas are just simple tweaks of something that is already available – just make it better!
I also wouldn’t have started up this business without the support of both my family, as well as a great factory - without these, I wouldn’t have got very far.
Try to do as much research as you can about your competitors - as you will need to know how your product compares to theirs, what is different about your product, and why people should buy from you instead of them.
Be patient and tenacious at the same time. Business’s take time to mature and find their feet but if your market research has revealed there is a niche for what you have created then go for it!
How important would you say branding is when launching? Does it need to be perfected first?
Yes, I think it’s really important to have your brand sorted before you launch. Your company logo needs to represent what you stand for and the tone you set needs to correlate to the business you have created. We work with a fantastic team who have been with us from conception. With our branded guidelines all set out from the start we ensure we have continuity in everything we do.
When you sit down to take a break from working, what is your favourite cheat snack?
You can’t beat a banana. I also carry Graze with me wherever I go because if I don’t have them in my bag then the chocolate starts to talk to my weak side.
What are your top 3 marketing tips?
Social media is an amazing tool to help you build your business and get noticed. It was all new to me two years ago so I paid a Guru to help me get a good understanding of all platforms and how they would work best for me. Facebook Ads have been a great low cost option for gaining brand awareness
Get your website working both front end and back end. Making sure its content rich and has all the keywords to make sure you get noticed by Google. Keep adding regular new blogs etc as they will also help with SEO.
You need a great PR company that really understands and loves your product as much as you do. Make sure they already have clients in your field of business as this will mean they already know everyone you are trying to connect with.
What plans do you have for KeriKit over the next 12 months?
We will be launching a personalisation service in the spring via our website so your limited edition can be made totally unique by adding your own initials or babies date of birth for example. We will be launching the ‘Lite’ range in June which is a secret for now - follow us on social media for a sneak preview soon, and we will also be introducing purses and little cross body bags for autumn.
How can our readers find and purchase your products?