My Name is Jenny Park I live in Cheshire with my Husband Graeme and our 6 year old twin boys Ben & Oliver.
My husband is Graeme Park, a famous DJ who is still on the decks and still spinning all over the world after more than 25 years.
We found out we were pregnant with twins after having IVF and as you can imagine we were absolutely thrilled and over the moon.
Before launching Bumpband I worked in DJ management where I had the best time, travelling all over the world, staying in all the best hotels and getting paid to party which, was amazing! Although the perfect job for a single twenty something, I felt it would not work being a mum. I decided to go to University to do a degree in Arts Entertainment & Business Management. I got a place at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts which was amazing, funnily enough my parents also went there in the 1950s when is was Liverpool Art School and were is in the same class as John Lennon.
After leaving with a 2.1 I got a job with Sketchpad PR in Manchester where I stayed until I fell pregnant.
As I was pregnant with twins I found my bump became very heavy very quickly. I had tried a number of maternity support bands but they all felt uncomfortable, either too bulky, or not made of cotton therefore were itchy. I went hunting for a bump band but could not find one anywhere so I decided when the boys were born I thought that a perfect way to juggle family life and work was to launch the Bumpband myself.
I was lucky enough to have lots of pregnant friends to test my early bands on so that I knew the design was right and that it fulfilled all of its claims. The hardest thing to find was the fabric. Bumpbands’ fabric is specially made as it is a very heavy cotton elastane mix so that is will lift and support the bump without becoming too tight on the tummy. It is also very durable and can be washed and tumble dried. One band will last throughout the whole pregnancy, no need to buy a bigger size. Bumpband is made in Manchester, my manufacturer has been a great mentor to me and I have learnt so much from him over the years.
Before setting up Bumpband I wanted to make sure there was no one else doing the same thing, at the time there was not, unfortunately I could not patent my idea as it was not technical enough, however I did Trademark Bumpband. There are free Patent clinics all over the UK, it is definitely worth going to one with your idea for free advice, you can also complete all the Trademark and Patents forms yourself, do not be pressured into finding a Patent Lawyer who will charge you the earth to fill out a form.
I funded Bumpband Ltd with a small overdraft from the bank. I kept my initial stock small incase it did not work and then I would be left with it. Fortunately for me it did.
I have been extremely fortunate to have had regular editorial press since Bumpband launched in national magazines, national newspapers, TV, radio which is extremely valuable for Bumpbands profile and customer awareness of the product.
I also place adverts in specialist baby magazines and have set up Twitter and Facebook accounts for Bumpband now which I am finding increasingly valuable to my business and keeping abreast of what other businesses are doing.
You cannot beat editorial recommendations though, especially from magazine editors etc.
The biggest challenge for Bumpband so far is to keep on top of the competition, there are now alot of ‘versions’ on the market so we have to make sure Bumpband stays being the best, using the best designs and the best quality fabrics and to ensure its profile stays high.
When I first set up Bumpband they boys were still babies so I had to fit everything in around naps and bedtimes which was tiring but it also allowed me to stay and work from home instead of going back to work.
The boys, now aged 6 are at school which is much easier apart from school holidays! As Graeme works weekends we are able to juggle this time between us to make sure everyone is happy.
It is also great being able to take and meet them from school, although it does seem like a very short work day at times. The key is to have good time management and to prioritise my work load and I am a great believer of lists.
For anyone who is thinking of starting up a business my advice is to do it, I always said to myself If I don’t do it then someone else will, then I would have been so disappointed, I don’t like ‘what ifs’.
Just remember to protect your idea if you can asap and try not to tell too many people in case someone out there copies it, also do lots of research of your market and write a business plan.
Everyone will want to see your business plan including any funding organisations. It is also a great tool for making sure you are on track and you have not missed anything out.
Thought for the day – Go for it, if you don’t someone else will!