As you know my Start Up Stories feature has been going strong for a couple of years now and I’ve had the joy of sharing the businesses of fellow parents living the Start Up Life. While planning in the next few months of interviews I realised that I hadn’t really shared my own story of my business Little and Fierce! Some of you may know about my store while newer readers may not have read me reference it here that often. So I do hope you’ll indulge me while I share my own Start Up Story this month.
Tell us a little bit about your business
Little and Fierce Kids is an online boutique selling children’s fashion accessories and gifts, including things like hair clips, stationery and necklaces. When I first thought of this store back in 2014 there was so little on the high street for children that was good quality and fun. I wanted to curate products that were from small independent makers and brands that you couldn’t find on the high street that would be a hit with both children and their parents.
Once you had the idea how did you go about turning it into a reality?
I spent a lot of time on my business plan and doing research and then looked at getting funding to start me off. I applied to the Virgin Start Up programme and after a lot of back and forth business plan tweaking I was approved. The money hit my bank account and I was matched up with a fantastic business mentor. I was also fortunate enough to be loaned money from family too. I have to say one of my favourite parts of this job is researching and sourcing brands to stock. Before launching I went to trade fairs, scoured Etsy and lived on Google searching for brands and businesses that would be a good fit for the store I wanted to create. I looked for fun, vibrant products that were good quality with a mix of handmade and factory produced. My husband helped me set up the website and in November 2014 I opened up Little and Fierce’s virtual doors.
What’s been the hardest part of your life as a start up business so far and how do you overcome those kinds of hurdles?
Oh gosh, it’s been a huge learning curve. I found managing the money and planning stock levels to be the hardest. It’s so tricky knowing just what to buy and how much to invest in a brand for each season. Sometimes I’ve got it right and other times I’ve taken a risk and it just hasn’t paid off. When this happens I’ve had a moan and a cry but then dusted myself off and reflected on what I can learn and put that into practice for future decisions. An example would be, that I got feedback from a few customers that I don’t have enough aimed at boys. I took that on board, did market research and ordered more ‘boy’ products for the next season. It bombed. I couldn’t give it away. From then onwards I decided to stick to what I knew fit well with my brand and bring in less gendered items where possible.
When you’re a primarily online based business you need a strong social media presence, which is your favourite platform and do you have any tips for running it?
My favourite platform for Little and Fierce over the years has been Instagram (@littlefiercekids), especially in the early days. I’d post any new products or offers and get orders in straight afterwards. With the change in algorithm it’s been a challenge to get seen, and I’ve not spent enough time investing in my Instagram feed as I should have. My tip would be plan your social media content in advance, know what products or lines you want to promote and then plan round them. Try not to be too sales-y and mix it up with lifestyle images, fun images and product shots. I know my customers love it when I share their photos on my feed – with their permission of course!
What is the best part of running your own business? Has there been a ‘pinch yourself to check it’s real’ kind of moment for you?
Having something that’s mine. I can look at my business and know that it’s something I created from the ground up and that in itself is something to be proud of. A moment I’ll never forget is seeing our products featured in an editorial in OK! Magazine. It was such a great feeling of validation.
Has being a parent influenced the way your business works?
Being a parent has been a fundamental part of Little and Fierce. My girls have been where I get my inspiration from when it comes to choosing new products and lines for the store. As a parent I’m not a fan of spending money on accessories for my girls that are novelty and break easily, so with that in mind look for quality and value for money and that underpins my ethos for Little and Fierce.
Running an online business must overwhelming at times, what do you do to manage your time and what tips do you have for avoiding being overwhelmed?
I am the worst for getting overwhelmed and wanting to hide under a duvet. With running a store and a blog as well as having a family with no extended family nearby it can all get a bit much at times. I can end up feeling like I’m doing so much but actually achieving so little! I find I’m at my best when I have set goals and plan out my time. I also try not to do too much and set my expectations too high. It’s important to be realistic when thinking about what you can achieve. The worst feeling is that constant feeling of failure, set some easy wins and move up from there.
What’s your current favourite item or range in your store at the moment?
I particularly like the Oh K! Korean beauty inspired range. I think it’s really cute and always goes down well when I do pop up events.
I’m also excited about these new accessories that arrived just this week,
Whether practical or inspirational, what is your top piece advice for anyone out there wanting to take that leap and start their own business?
Know your numbers! It sounds dull but make sure your business is viable and you’ll actually earn from it. You might want to take that leap and quit your day job but make sure that decision also makes financial sense and you’re not putting too much pressure on your fledgling business too soon. On a less practical note love and believe in your business, it’s going to be your baby so protect and nurture it and believe in yourself. You’ve got this!
I’ve put together a pre-Christmas giveaway where you could win a pre-packed silver stocking with these items, Little Cloud Necklace and Silver Star Necklace by Rockahula Kids, Unicorn Nail Stickers, Blue Hair Bobble Set and Meri Meri Unicorn and Rainbow 3D stickers.
In the meantime..
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