The drive: What challenges have you overcome?
Many! There have been many moments I have cried into my coffee (or wine) about the pressures of running the business and told my husband we need to close up shop. The enormous pressure of running your own business can actually take you to breaking point.
We have had stock quality issues in the early days, stock availability issues due to COVID and shipping issues. We had a website that would crash when more than a handful of people were on it, and we’ve had copycats try to replicate our products.
Due to the quality of our products, they cost a lot to make, so cashflow is always a niggly problem as we try to buy more and more with each order to gain the value from buying in bigger volumes. It wasn’t until very recently that I was actually able to pay myself – a huge win!
But these were storms we were prepared to weather, because we had faith in our product and the benefits it brings. We get daily messages from mums and dads telling us how much joy our doll has brought their child. We know our journey, even though 6 years in, has only really just started.
For better or worse: What are the pros and cons of running your own business?
Despite all the stress, anxiety and sometimes overwhelming workload, there are so many pros to running your own business. I love what I do, I love the joy our products bring and I love our community. I love that my children are so invested in our business and come up with ideas and help me design our products. I love that my husband no longer has to travel for work and can be with us full time. But for me personally, I love the creativity my business allows me. I design our products, our marketing materials, our website and emails – all of it – and I love it!
Hopes and dreams: What next?
Children are feeling pressured to grow up too quickly in our modern world – skipping crucial years of social and emotional development that come from playing and just being a kid.
We want to encourage play for children aged 6-12+ by giving them a doll they can be proud of: something that won’t be hidden away when friends come over. A doll they can play with now and treasure forever. Our dolls are designed to be a friend. They each have their own characteristics and traits: characteristics and traits that we value as a family and promote to our daughters.
In the next 18 months, we are going to continue streamlining our production and focus on building our community, so we can spread the word that play is just as important for older children as it is for younger children. Hopefully our dolls can be their confidant, someone they can connect with and love. Someone to give them the confidence to be themselves. We want our dolls to help children to hold on to their all-too-short childhoods for just a little longer.