Hi Daniel and Johnny, how has your day been so far?
Fantastic thanks, busy as ever though!
This is quite an intriguing venture – do you hear that quite often?
We do, although personalisation seems to be becoming more and popular these days – luckily our brand has developed a fantastic reputation, and we’ve invested a lot of resources to ensure our products remain the best quality and value for money in the marketplace.
What makes My 1st Years stand out from other children clothing brands?
Our personalisation techniques – which we offer for free – are really second to none within the marketplace. We’re continually innovating and improving our methods and machinery, which means your little one’s products will stand the test of time as a uniquely memorable keepsake.
How hands on were you both when business started almost 5 years ago?
We did absolutely everything – from sourcing products and testing personalisation processes, to building the website and marketing the brand to as many people as possible. We still try and get involved as we can in all areas of the business, though inevitably as the business has grown our time has become more stretched and we have had to delegate things to members of our team.
You spotted a gap in the market and went for it, what advice would you give to others wanting to take the first step?
At some point, you have to stop planning and just do it. You can always course-correct at a later date, but you have to have the confidence to actually launch your business and commit yourself to it fully before others will believe in you.
What is the best business decision you’ve made so far?
Probably not skimping on hiring good staff – we realised early on that in order to grow the business as we envisioned hiring an experienced, skilful team was essential – and we shouldn’t try and save money by hiring less knowledgeable employees.
What is the worst?
Luckily our business has seen phenomenal growth these past few years, but it’s possible we’ve been a bit slow to appreciate just how fast our needs have outstripped our physical workspace. But, we’ve recently secured a brand new office to which we’ll be moving in the next few months, so there’ll be plenty of room for us to grow and provide a fun, inspiring working environment for our employees.
How important would you say buying power is when starting a clothing company for children?
Not hugely – we found we could be very innovative when sourcing samples and products during the early stages of the business which allowed us to keep costs down. We’ve also found there’s a lot more manufacturing taking place in the UK nowadays – you just need to know where to look!
What’s the most popular item you stock and why?
One of the first items we ever sold remains the most popular – our embroidered high top trainers for boys and girls, which people love because they’re an easy, ever-adorable present which little ones can wear with practically anything.
How did you both fund the business in the early stages?
We used our own money in the beginning, and were lucky enough to receive investment from a high profile retail tycoon in 2011.
Do you think being an entrepreneur is something you are born with or must be learnt?
You certainly learn the business skills needed to make it as an entrepreneur at school, university and on-the-job training, but the innate passion and hunger to succeed is definitely something that you’re born with.
My 1st Years has seen incredible growth over the last 4 plus years, what plans do you both have for the future?
We’re focussed very much on expanding our product range to offer gifts for older children as well as newborns, and developing our US market so families across the Atlantic can shop even easier from our collections. As always, it’s full steam ahead!
Click here to head over to My First Years and get a cheeky Christmas gift made with love.