Name of Business: Gander Kids
Your Name and Age: Maxine Lewis, 36
Tell us about your family I live in SE London with my husband of 8 years, and 2 daughters aged 6 and 3
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition? I worked as a project manager in an investment bank until the credit crunch resulted in the inevitable redundancy. I became a freelance business advisor before launching Gander Kids. The transition was hard both financially and on managing my time, but once I realised I couldn’t do everything, life became a lot easier.
When did you launch? November 2010
How did you get started? I sent a pitch document to the American founders of P’Kolino. One of which, happened to be on holiday in the UK and agreed to meet me in the Starbucks on Paddington Station for a coffee! I had no experience as a distributor but I understood figures and margins and loved the products and as a result they agreed to give me a go. Six months later and Gander Kids holds the exclusive distribution rights to the UK.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business The flexibility and that my whole family can be involved, my children love testing the products
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business everyone says this but it’s so true – the admin!
What has worked well about your business? Being organised and keeping on top of the numbers
What’s been your biggest business mistake? How did you deal with it? Not getting advice before launch on the logistics side of the business. I don’t tend to dwell on the negative so I got advice by speaking with people in my network, learnt from my mistakes and moved on.
How do you fit in work with the family?Is your partner supportive of your business? I work full days 3 days a week and the other 2 days I do the school run in the afternoon and then do some more work when the girls are in bed. My husband is great and has even been coaching me in his specialist area of sales. He also helps me if I have to work late or switch my days.
Are you working towards a financial goal for your business? My only financial goal is to make a profit for the business and ensure that we represent every brand we carry to the best of our ability
Would you ever give up your business to do something else? At this time no, I’m enjoying it too much
Do you have an exit strategy? Yes, but it is one that changes dependent on my stress levels!
Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment? Tell us about it. If not when do you think it will come No I haven’t yet and I’m not sure I will. I’m very ambitious and I’ve been told I need to work on recognising my significant achievements – so I guess to other people I may have “made it”, but to me there is always more that could be achieved.
Where do you hope to be in five years time? Hopefully running a successful, profitable business, with a sunny holiday home I can retreat to for well deserved R&R
Your website link. www.ganderkids.co.uk
If you can offer a discount or special promotion for Family Friendly Working readers, please write it here: