I could see there was a gap in the market for 100% cotton zip babygrows, especially in the U.K. at affordable prices. So this prompted me to start ZIPPYUP…a babygrow with head to toe zip, designed with parents in mind, for the middle of the night newborn changes or wriggly toddlers.
As an award-winning baby line designer of ZippyUp, do you have a fashion background?
Yes, I do have a fashion background, having studied Textiles at Manchester I progressed from there into fashion, working for the largest importer in the U.K. supplying the high street stores with their clothing across all product areas. Finally specialising in Women’s knitwear, I sourced, worked with the design team, and made sure all deliveries were on time and as the client required. I did this for 15 years before becoming a full-time mummy, the fashion industry and family are hard to juggle.
What do you wish you knew before starting your line that you know now?
This is a hard question because the whole experience has been a great learning curve, including learning to be a mummy at the same time.
I’m still learning new things about every aspect of being a business owner along with juggling family life. It’s important to remember that things might not go completely to plan and that we are all trying our best.
Do you run your business from home and how do you juggle being a Mum of 2 and running a business full time?
Yes, I run my business from home which has been a huge advantage because I can fit it into our everyday life very easily.
We love the idea of a time-saving item of clothing, baby grows with concealed (so safe) zippers, are there any other items of clothing you think need time-saving fastenings or open/close features? -I always find getting a sock or glove on another human really fiddly!
I think this product is a great idea… The Milky Tea Co.
We have to ask, (we hope you don’t mind) but, why Zips? Why not Velcro? (We know buttons also take forever)
The simple answer is that zips are quick and easy to fasten. The clever idea of a baby grow without poppers for quick nappy changes is a great one.
Some might say the poppers are quite cute though, will there in the future be a collection in your line where the baby grows look like they have poppers but really they still have a concealed zip?
This is an interesting idea, not something I have considered! I wouldn’t want to confuse customers and as my business is internet-based, it might be hard to portray this in a photo.
On the subject of fastenings, will there ever be a garment in your line that incorporates all fastenings and teaches older children dexterity skills on how to do a button, tie a ribbon or shut a popper, incorporated on the front of their outfit?…a play garment if you will! -?
This is not only a time-saving item for parents when dressing or changing their babies but it also limits frustration, for example, after bathtime, you have a wet, crying, tired baby or toddler who will not stay still!
If you have ever tried to wrestle a baby lion cub (while sitting on the floor), into clothes and then fasten approx 10-18 poppers, then realising you have fastened one up in the wrong place…so you start again! The frustration is beyond belief.
You’ve invented a time-saving garment for little ones, do you have any time-saving tips for us to lend to busy working parents for daily routine, mealtimes, bedtimes…anything else?
I find routine is really important along with writing a daily, weekly, monthly to-do list.
Do you find being on the same schedule as your children is the best schedule to work by?
This is the only schedule to work by, when the little ones are in bed either at nap time or evenings is the time when I can think clearly, I have a plan of what I need to get done in those precious hours when I can concentrate. Yes, I can do little things when they are hanging out at home but generally, my work is done when they are fast asleep.
Which online platforms aside your website do you use to promote ZippyUp?
Social media is crucial to my business and Instagram has played a huge part in that. I am also about to launch an affiliate program, which I hope will help to share the ZIPPYUP love.
How do you find the main source of your business for your ZippyUp line?
I have grown my following on Instagram over the last year which really shows in the business, getting the word out into the mummy/daddy community has really helped promote ZIPPYUP. It’s been crucial to have an easy to use website to make buying a ZIPPYUP simple process.
You’ve won awards for your business, can you tell us a bit about that, how it came about, how you’ve chosen to market the brand etc?
It’s important for ZIPPYUP to be recognised with other big baby brands, to start with I advertised in baby-related magazines, and then as I got noticed it has been easier to build up the recognition and word of mouth recommendations. It’s always very exciting to be shortlisted for an award and even more exciting to be included in the mix of huge retail baby brands. As the only employee of the business, I am very to proud to say I’ve done it all myself…with a little help from my two baby boys!
What would your advice be for someone wanting to start a business, as you have, who’s a busy working parent, and who is struggling to begin?
Everything takes longer than you think it will and it seems such a big hill to climb but you have to just go for it and each thing ticked off the list is a step in the right direction.
Networking can be very time-heavy and for working parents may not be an option. To drum up attention for a new business, do you have any networking tips for us?
Online networking is important but really it is the customers that come first, word of mouth, and good customer service is key.
What are the component parts required to be successful in business do you think?
Make sure you have a product people want and sell it at a price that is workable for them and the business.
Do you think it’s helpful that as a working parent your business is centered around children? i.e. how the two merge, having a mini-model for the line or even your children inspiring new designs and ideas?!
Our baby boys were definitely an inspiration for ZIPPYUPs as I found poppers so frustrating as a new mum and my husband also couldn’t understand why all babygrows had poppers. We would never have known this had we not experienced it first hand.
As your children have already inspired the start of your business, will we continue to see more inspiration…their drawings as prints on the garments for example?
I have a very clear vision for the look of ZIPPYUPs and sadly this doesn’t include my lovely little boy’s artwork…this can be kept for the fridge door.
What’s next for ZippyUp and where would you like to see the brand in 10 years?
I would like ZIPPYUP to be the go-to brand for all parents and also buying gifts for new parents or those with wriggly toddlers. I aim to have a large selection of colours to suit all preferences. It’s very hard at the moment to have the selection and stock levels I want, as with any new company you have to be careful with cash flow and predicting what will sell.