Your Name and Age: Jenny McLaughlan and I’m 35
Tell us about your family
Married to Stuart and have two children Maisie who is two and a half and Miller who is almost 14 months
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
I still do a day job as a sales manager and run the business. The transition is just working on the laptop in the evenings instead of watching TV and I love it!
When did you launch?
How did you get started?
I was inspired on maternity leave, Miller was/is such a big teether and I was fed up of him putting everything in his mouth including my necklaces! So I started to form the idea around a baby safe necklace, it took months of research to get the right material, manufacturer and produce to a good quality.
What research did you do before launching?
Looked into what teething toys were made of and what safety requirements were needed. Did some market research on some mums and checked that I was free to operate in the UK market.
How have you funded the business?
On my credit card! With being on maternity leave I did not have the financial backing or time to go through the very long process of securing a business sloan, so instead opted for an interest free credit card.
How do you promote your business? What has worked best?
I mostly rely on word of mouth and customer feedback which to date has been 100% fantastic! I also use twitter and facebook to spread the word. Twitter has been amazing! People are so genuine and helpful and it allows you to access all kinds of people. My biggest break was denise van outen tweeting about her gumigem necklace and how much she loved it, this has lead to further coverage in the press, including my upcoming live tv interview on Scotlands The Hour on the 14th April
What has worked well about your business?
The fact customers genuinely LOVE this product and are so willing to spread the word.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?
Cash flow and managing stock. Its hard to know what a bit of coverage will do in terms of converting into sales and you don’t want to let people down, but don’t want to over order and produce either!
How do you fit in work with the family?
Its all done after the day job and after the kids are in bed.
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?
Go for it! Its hard work and a rolloer coaster ride, but its worth trying otherwise you will always wonder!
If you have a flexible working business opportunity, please explain briefly what you offer and how people find out more.
As time progresses and volumes increase we will struggle to make the necklaces ourselves and would be looking for people to string them together and tie clasps on. This would be on a volume basis and paid on completion to a high standard. It would be very flexible as long as it was managed within the time frame we agreed and could be slotted in around family and other commitments
Your website link. www.gumigem.co.uk