Dealing with childhood skin sensitivities herself and then with her two daughters, Joanna Jensen noticed a distinct lack of natural products on the market for children, so she set out to make a change. Starting her business, Childs Farm, from her kitchen table, she launched a range of beautifully scented, mild, natural and effective skin products for babies and children.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I suffered from skin allergies as a child, and I also struggled to find products for my two daughters who both have sensitive skin. What struck me was that natural products for kids just didn’t look very inviting; they tended to have medicinal looking packaging and uninviting smells. I struggled to find any products that would look after the whole family and be a pleasure to use, so I created Childs Farm as a solution.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I already had some background knowledge of natural remedies and started the business at my kitchen table. The feedback I received was not only that the range smelled fantastic, performed brilliantly and that children loved using it, but also that it worked wonders on sensitive and eczema-prone skin. This unexpected outcome was the springboard for a series of clinical safety tests and independent user trials which we still use today. I then began to sell the range online and to independents, before John Lewis and Ocado in 2012, and Boots and Waitrose followed in 2014. Today we are in every major national retailer and are the fastest growing baby and child toiletries brand in the UK. 150,000 bottles of our hero product, the baby moisturiser, are sold every week in the UK – that’s one every 14 seconds!
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
The biggest breakthrough for the business was when a mum, Paige, posted a picture on Facebook showing photographs of her daughter’s hands before and after using Childs Farm. Her eczema and irritation had completely gone. The post was shared 35,000 times and our sales went through the roof. That was when I really realised the power of opinion on social media, and Paige’s post changed our business.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
Working full-time, running a business, being a parent and being in a relationship is pretty challenging. The amount of time and energy spent at work sometimes leaves me exhausted when I get home, so I have to conjure up a second wind to be able to cook, catch up and chat with the family.
As my girls have got older, they need me more, and add to that the love of my life, Jonathan, and his two kids, it’s all go.
I’ve recently hired a new MD into the business to allow me to focus on the parts of the business I love the most, and that only I can do, freeing up my hours to be more human – 5 days not 7!