Meet the founder of Kiddies Kingdom
Kiddies Kingdom has been around for over 25 years! Please tell us all about your amazing team.
Thank you, I'm Mohammed Patel the founder of Kiddies Kingdom. Over the years, we have managed to build a really strong and loyal team. There’s a real family style culture and that’s something I’m very proud of. Our staff are very committed and as we grow, it’s amazing to see everyone working together and growing with us. Most Fridays the team get together and have a little party, enjoying some food and conversation that doesn’t revolve around work.
What inspired you to start Kiddies Kingdom?
It goes back from when I was at high school. In year 9, everyone had to take part in some work experience, and as my Dad had his own shop – Nappy Factory, I thought this would work to my advantage, so I completed my work experience there. During my work experience, I would watch everyone work and think to myself how I would run the business if it was mine. From then I started inputting my ideas into the business and help with visual merchandising.
Not long after that, my Dad took me to see the company’s IT consultant, and that’s how I started working on the digital side of the business – I helped design and create the website and have been working to improve our digital marketing ever since.
Over the last couple of decades, what have been some of your biggest achievements?
Seeing how we’ve gone from a small independent business in Dewsbury, to now being one of the UK’s leading independent children retailers is a real achievement.
We’re now working with Bounty – the pack that midwives give to new parents. This was always a goal of ours and to be one of their few partners is a real achievement for us.
How have you incorporated social media into your business?
Our social media activity is minimal at the moment and is definitely an area of growth. Social media is a key focus for us this year and we look forward to growing our channels.
What's been the best piece of business advice you've ever been given?
There are three things that have always stuck with me: work to live, don’t live for work/don’t work for the business, make the business work for you/if you listen a lot more, you learn a lot more.
Having been around for so many years, what are your top tips for managing your business’ finances?
My Dad has a lot of business experience and has taught me a lot when it comes to the business’s finances – two pieces of advice he gave me a long time ago was not to go into partnerships and to keep internal and external fixed costs at a minimum.
How do you remain competitive in such a saturated market?
We’re extremely strategic with our buying and have built the very best relationships with our suppliers. We have determined a great way to work with suppliers and that’s why we’ve won so many accounts. We currently have 170 brands on our website which is more than any other children’s retailer in the country. We’ve also recently opened Yorkshire’s biggest showroom which stocks over 150 brands.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs wanting to get into the online retail sector?
It’s not as easy as you think it is. It’s important to have the right systems and processes in place from the very start to increase efficiency and allow your business to scale up. Don’t hesitate spending money on marketing and ensure you have the metrics to check the performance of every department in the business.
What's the secret to longevity in business?
Controlling costs and having a USP to allow you to continue taking market share. Never stop creating and developing ideas – move with the times.
Plans for the next 25 years?
We strive to be the number one independent retailer in the UK with a super strong online presence and one strong ‘destination showroom’.
We have great relationships in China and hope this will help us with our plans to start selling internationally.
How do you relax and enjoy the success of your business?
Family is very important to me and home is only two minutes away, so I always make sure to have lunch with my family – I feel lucky to be able to do this every day. I have built up a loyal and efficient team, so if I want to go on holiday, I am lucky enough to put complete trust in my team and know everything will run smoothly in my absence. I also don’t have to work on the weekends which is a great bonus!