Your Name and Age: My name is Tze Ching Yeung and I am a bit over 40.
Tell us about your family: I live near Bath with my husband, two kids (twins) and a handful of pets.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
I have been in the kids fashion business for close to 10 years but wanted to make a positive change in the way we design and the entire production process by making everything more sustainably. So we made the decision to stop trading for a while, focus on rebranding the business and to put a new company structure in place.
We are launching our first zero waste collection on 14th March on Kickstarter.
How did you get started?
I spent months sketching ideas and researching zero waste design techniques before beginning the actual design and sampling process. It was a very exciting time of exploration.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business
I am free to do what I want, when I want and I get to make my own priorities.
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business
There is a lot of (financial) risks involved in every decision you make and you are fully responsible for everything, so it can sometimes get a bit stressful.
What has worked well about your business?
Despite recently taking a break from trading, I feel we have moved a big step forward, in terms of future business prospects. We have managed to stay very true to our core values.
What’s been your biggest business mistake? How did you deal with it?
My biggest business mistake, I’d say would be not getting involved in the finances more at the beginning. Budgets and cash-flow is very important, in order to plan for effective business growth.
How do you fit in work with the family? Is your partner supportive of your business?
I work around the kids schedules and a lot of late nights. You can’t be in 2 places at the same time, so I tend to just focus on the kids when the kids are around and work when they aren’t.
My husband is very supportive of the business and my work … although, I am sure that he sometimes wishes that I could spend a bit more time with him. I am really passionate about my work, so I work as soon I get a chance. We do make sure we have date nights every now and then though.
Are you working towards a financial goal for your business?
Ultimately it is all down to money because you need money to run a business but my goal is to be able to grow the business year on year, so we can influence more people and companies to be more mindful of the impact that kids clothing (or fashion in general) is having on the environment.
Would you ever give up your business to do something else?
Yes, why not? When the time is right and there is a reason to but for now, this is where my heart and soul is and I am 100% focused on growing this business. I am in it for the long-term. There is still so much work to be done, in terms of sustainability and I plan to be part of that for as long as I can.
Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment? Tell us about it. If not when do you think it will come
Every time someone tells me that I inspired them to either create more, waste less and live just a bit more sustainably, I feel like I “made it”. It is all the small things that makes me smile.
Apart from that, seeing my first ever collection in Harvey Nichols was quite a nice moment, and being shortlisted for “Best sustainable Kids Brand” Source awards was also nice.
Where do you hope to be in five years time?
In 5 years, Jake + Maya (Kids) will be a household name and extending/mending kids clothing will be more of a norm. We will have a network of direct-selling mums (and dads) who will help us in this mission. We will have a workshop that will teach and help our customers to sew, to mend and in general achieve a more sustainable family lifestyle. There is so much we would like to do within the next 5 years but we will take it one step at a time.
If you have a flexible working business opportunity, please explain briefly what you offer and how people find out more.
We love working with new people because we believe new people always bring new energy and new skills, so we are always on the look-out for partnerships and collaborators.
We will also start introducing a direct-selling program towards the end of the year.
If people are interested in becoming one of our sellers, they can register their interest (http://bit.ly/2lMPDSJ) and any other enquiries, just send us an e-mail telling us what it is that they would like to do and their experience and we will get in touch if something comes up.
Kickstarter campaign: http://kck.st/2m4rBUr