I am Emma Midwood, 30 years old and owner & creator of Piglets Boutique, a beautifully stylish place to shop for Baby Gifts with added “Oooo” and I am also first time mummy. to our beautiful little girl Neve, my inspiration. I live just outside York with Neve and my husband Paul.
I am trained in design and used to be a kitchen designer, I spent 5 years training in design after leaving school. I have a National diploma in Interior Design and a Higher National Diploma in both Interior Design and Museum & Exhibition Design, I worked in kitchen design for 9 years prior to beginning my maternity leave. Although Piglets Boutique is a different avenue I really don’t feel it’s too far removed, as I was involved with the design of my site and of course it is me that sources all the products I have on there.
Piglets Boutique has grown from a dream of working for myself and whilst I was on maternity leave in 2010 the dream finally became a reality. Like a lot of people I had felt for a long time that I wanted to create something for me and my family, instead of working and earning money for someone else! And once our new baby girl arrived I had the best reason in the world to really push it forward.
Our little girl was born September 2009 and it was in April 2010 that I first had the idea of creating “Piglets Boutique” from scratch, when 9 of our close friends were pregnant, a definite baby boom! And me being the lady of the house was in charge of looking for the new baby gifts…the problem I was then faced with was what do we get that was different and would stand out from everything else our friends would perhaps receive?! Starting from scratch with pretty much no budget was going to be difficult but I love a challenge!
I have now created Piglets Boutique a place where people can shop in the safe knowledge that they will be looked after, I am always happy to give advice on the gifts I sell, and people do get in touch to ask my advice.
My target market is new mums and dads to be, their family and friends. The average age of my customers ranges between 25-45, with more women putting careers first on their list of things to achieve before thinking of starting a family.
I realised in starting Piglets that I would have huge amount of competitors out there as there are hundreds of online baby shops, but this is also what makes me strive to achieve more, by offering something that is more stylish, more beautiful and more special. A gift that arrives when I say it will arrive and beautifully gift wrapped, making the buyers shopping experience with Piglets a great one! I realise that when people buy gifts for new babies most automatically think of going somewhere like Mothercare or Mama’s and Papa’s to buy a gift, this is after all what I used to do!
I didn’t rush into starting my business, as we were in the middle of a recession at the time and I had no real funding, I had to be cautious. My research included speaking to friends and ladies at my postnatal classes, also I spoke to people that didn’t know me, when I was out and about, because I find that they tend to give you a more truthful answer! Visits to endless amounts toy shops and gift shops was a must too, although this I loved because I love shopping! I live about 40miles from Harrogate so have attended the trade fairs which take place there and found a couple of my suppliers there, it great to meet the people behind the brands! I also visited my local business centre a few times and gathered information on birth rates in my area.
My biggest challenge is most definitely making people aware that Piglets is here and promoting my site. I plan to get as much press coverage as I can in 2011, to introduce Piglets Boutique to the UK. I have had articles and free editorials in my local papers and magazines already and seen a huge increase in people visiting my site following these appearances. I have also had a live radio chat about my business on Radio Humberside, which covers Humberside and parts of Lincolnshire; I had a great response from this.
I have been advertising in a Tot2Teen magazine which has 10,000 copies distributed to Nurseries, Schools, Play cafes and to Ante/ Post Natal classes in Yorkshire; I have decided to continue to advertise with Tot2Teen as it reaches my target audience. I have also been in touch with and plan to now begin advertising in Boo Magazine which is also directed at families with small children and 15,000 are distributed around Leeds.
I also have Piglets Boutique on Face-Book and Twitter and have found these to be invaluable, and I plan to run competitions from these and again hype up the buzz and excitement that I feel about my business to others! I think that enthusiasm about your products definitely gets others interested in them too!
We do send our little one to nursery a couple of days a week now, as I feel that it is really important for her social skills and plus she loves it there, so these are the days I can keep on top of my jobs at home too! A woman’s work is never done, that is so true in our house!
I would definitely recommend other mothers who have dreams of setting up on their own to not jump in lightly, but if they have a dream and a great business idea to go for it. As long as you first seek advice from people such as an accountant, and listen to what your family say. Check that you are different and can offer something special, get a USP and stand out from the crowd!
I don’t regret taking the leap of faith and pushing myself forward in this venture, I see a very bright future for Piglets Boutique and it makes me very proud to see what I have created.
Special Offer to readers of this enter promotional code FAMILY15 at our checkout to receive a 15% discount off your purchases, valid unit 30th April 2011