How to be a Mumpreneur webchat with Julia Minchin. TUESDAY 12th APRIL 12-1pm

Looking for ideas on how to work from home, and perhaps become a mumpreneur businesswoman from your kitchen table?



Join Hippychick founder, and mumpreneur extraordinaire, Julia Minchin for our live webchat on Tuesday 12th April between 12-1pm, to talk through your ideas and queries.

Posts

  • Hi, I won't be in tomorrow for the webchat but would like some advice please. I am a primary school teacher and have done some training on treasure baskets and heuristic play. When I had lo I began collecting stuff for his basket when I thought it may be an idea to begin selling them as gifts or babies. However although I have the ideas for developing the baskets I am unsure where I stand with the things that would be within them and liability etc. They should be made up of 'real' things, so I would like to use things like egg boxes, pine cones, seaweed etc but feel it would be silly to buy these things when I live in a prime collecting location, however again I'm not sure where I would stand with this. Again I would possibly like to use glass jars (babies should be fully supervised with the baskets as they are for 'real' play, but would these have to be bought new? This from a conservation pov seems silly. The other thing I would like to ask is how do I find suppliers and set up as a business, and would I be better seeing if there was a market for them before doing this? I would be providing instructions with each basket, and would explain that they are not toys but i just need some advice before starting up properly.



    Thank you if you can help with any of this,

    Jellytots
  • Hello, I will be out working when this webchat takes place, but would very much appreciate any help.



    I have created a new product but keep coming up against a brick wall while trying to get the product for sale - it seems very hard to get interest from major companies translated into an actual deal for a licensing agreement, and also impossible to find a manufacturing unit in the UK, and it seems that Chinese manufacturers are only interested in a definite order, at a greater quantity than I need to begin.



    I've now decided to press ahead by setting up my own small manufacturing unit, which I think will work really well, but now I have to source the materials and again it's not easy to find genuine wholesalers. Do you have any tips about sourcing materials? Also, what do you think is the best way to ensure compliance with safety standards?



    Thank you



    Rattleskuttle
  • Hi Julia



    I have an idea for a product that is actually quite popular in the US. I would really like to have a go at recreating my own version for the UK market, however haven't a clue where to start. I have done some research and there really isn't anything like it over in the UK.



    What should i do once I've made a prototype? Do I get it patented if so how? Do I need to get it checked by some kind of safety standard as it will be for babies?



    I would like to just start small as a kind of side-line project/hobby for myself really and plan if all works out to sell my product on my own website. I am crafty and creative but have not ever done anything to do with business so do you recommend I do a small business course?



    Any advice would be greatly appreciated from an excited mum itching to get started...
  • Hi Everyone, Julia here. I can see that some of you have been very industrious and already posted your questions, so I'll get on and make a start with these first.
  • Thank you Jellytots for your questions. The first, and most important thing to do, is some serious research into whether there is actually a market for your product and how much people would be prepared to pay for your product. Supplying anything into the nursery market requires stringent testing for obvious reasons so initial chats with UK testing houses and Trading Standards would be a good place to start. Business Link are also a very good source of information. Looking for suppliers is probably a little bit further down the track at this stage. I hope this helps to start with. Good luck.
  • Thank you Rattleskuttle. There are obviously a number of issues raised here. Firstly, it is a good idea to produce in smaller numbers to start with whilst you establish your market, but do watch the costs. Margin is absolutely key. It depends what you are actually manufacturing as to whether China is ultimately the best option but there will always be minimum order requirements.



    It is difficult to help with sourcing unless I know what materials are needed.



    Re compliance with relevant safety standards - talk to the various testing houses eg Intertek, SGS or STR. Trading Standards are also very helpful if you approach them.



    I hope this is useful. Good luck - sounds very exciting.
  • Miss_Xan - thanks for your post. The first, and most important thing to do (which you may well have already looked into) is to check whether there are any pre existing patents for the product here in the UK. The Patent Office is your first port of call for this. Assuming the coast is clear for you to proceed you should register your own patent and trademark or at least design registration to protect yourself. Go to Ipo.gov.uk for more information on how to do this. Business Link will also be able to help you with start up courses and a business plan etc.



    With regards to safety standards - you are planning to supply the most vulnerable market so everything will need to meet all UK/European safety standards. Independent testing houses and Trading Standards will be able to help you with this.



    Good luck!
  • Hi Julia,

    I have a great idea for a product but no idea how to execute it! I have never done anything like this before and would like to read up on what the next steps would be...i am totally in the dark? Can you recommend any good courses or websites that will help a first time mumpreneur wannabe? I am currently on maternity leave so it's a great time for me to look into whether or not my idea could be a possible money maker!
  • Hi summeruk5 - the first thing to do is thoroughly research the market It doesn't matter how inventive your concept is if there just isn't a demand for it. A way to start is to ask mum friends or get the permission of a local playgroup or nursery to give out questionnaires. Establish there is a genuine need and then get going before someone else spots the gap in the market too! All the products we have sourced for Hippychick have to be genuinely useful and aim to make family lives easier.



    Business Link runs start up courses and has all sorts of relevant advice. They will also help you put together a viable business plan. Banks can also be a useful sounding board with regards to funding options.



    You should also enter our Mumpreneur Competition which is running on this website until 20 April. Remember it doesn't need to be an actual product - it can be a concept or just an idea for a business.



    Very best of luck!
  • Hi Julia



    I wondered if you could give some advice with regards to pricing please.

    I have a new product and have managed to get a few quotes from factories to produce it and that's all coming together.

    I am stuck as to how to set a RRP and then trade prices. How much margin should I allow? How much do shops want to make - is there a general standard? I don't want to give too much away or not enough so that shops don't want to stock it.

    I have no idea where to start!

    Thanks in advance.
  • Great! Thanks Julia
  • Hello Whizz27 - these are some very good questions. First of all you need to thoroughly calculate all your costs (don't forget things like shipping, duty, currency fluctuations etc). You should also build in enough to cope with possible unforeseen price increases from your suppliers - cotton for example has gone through the roof and it is very hard to tie suppliers down to a price for anything more than the current order. I would suggest that you need to make a minimum margin of 40% (depending on your own overheads), and shops in turn will require the same for themselves. The bigger accounts will want 45-50% and will build in discounts of all descriptions, from marketing contributions to early settlement.



    When you have these figures in place you can then work out what your RRP should be - but you will need to ensure that the market is prepared to pay this price. Check out competitive product pricing and it is always a good idea to get a good accountant to look at your figures before finalising anything.



    I hope this helps - it certainly sounds like you are heading in the right direction. Good luck!
  • Hi Julia



    I had shipping and duty on my list to factor but not considered currency fluctuations so thanks for reminding me!



    This is very useful, again I hadn't thought of marketing contributions/early settlement either.



    I think my next stop, as you say, is to find an accountant who has a bit of experience in this type of thing to help me.



    Thanks again!
  • Hope I"m not too late. What have you found the best methods of PR and getting your product /company "out there" for the world to see and get to know you?. A friend of mine has a small website of products which is isn't doing so well but I think it is because it is not being marketed properly - any tips would be great.



    thanks
  • Thanks for your advice Julia



    So hypothetically (at this stage) once I've got my product/prototype patented and 'safe' what would be my next steps 'first point of call' to get a company to actually make it for me?



    Sorry if this all sounds very obvious to you, but I really have no experience at all, I guess I'm just looking to see if it is really do-able as it is just a dream at this stage.



    thanks again.
  • Hi Homebunny_UK. There is no point having a good product if nobody knows about it. We use a PR agency ourselves and have our own marketing department in house. They deal with consumer PR and we deal with all the trade media. However, it can be costly if you are a small business and time gets used up very quickly especially if you have a large range of products.



    There are a number of excellent review websites - your friend would just need to provide product for testing. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful and a lot of people get a great response from social media promotions/offers/competitions.



    We are now over our slot time but do please feel free to contact me at Hippychick if you want to discuss this further. I am always happy to help.
  • Thank you everyone for your excellent questions. I have thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you all. I hope the advice has been useful. Good luck in your various ventures.

    Julia
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