Name of Business: Seventeen Minutes
Your Name and Age: Sara Vickery-Bragg, 33
Tell us about your family: I’m a mum of two, Max (3) and Olivia (1). We live in North London and have just finished renovating our house. We love to travel when we can and most weekends you’ll find us in the garden or on a walk.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition? I worked in Children’s Publishing for 10 years so this is a complete career change. I quit my job while on maternity leave with my second baby because I wanted a job that fitted around my family and I was craving something that motivated me.
When did you launch? March 2019 so it’s very early days!
How did you get started? I launched on International Women’s Day and started with just the essentials – a website, a product and minimal marketing materials.
What research did you do before launching? I wrote a short business plan and then started planning what would go inside the first few subscription boxes. I spent a lot of time costing products, talking to suppliers and working out if the business model would be viable before I launched. I researched other subscription boxes too as the market is quite crowded and I wanted Seventeen Minutes to offer something different.
How have you funded the business? The business is self-funded from savings as I wanted to see if there was interest and demand before really investing in it.
How do you promote your business? What has worked best? I’m still on a very limited budget so I’m relying on social media as a good starting place. I find Instagram is a brilliant platform to build a community, engage with customers and share my business journey honestly and openly. I’ve designed marketing material that is included with every subscription box too.
What has worked well about your business? So far the feedback has been really positive and I’m pleased that mums get what the business is all about. My first goal was to make the business (and myself) relatable. I’m loving building relationships with customers and seeing them come back to buy again and again.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it? One of the hardest things has been not having anyone to discuss ideas with. Sometimes I miss having colleagues to get a second opinion on something. I usually turn to my husband or ask friends to give me their thoughts.
How do you fit in work with the family? The children go to nursery a few days a week and spend a day with their grandparents so that’s my time to work. I try not to work at all the days I’m at home with them or at the weekend. My son was in hospital recently and having the flexibility of being self-employed meant I could drop work instantly without worrying. Sometimes I need to work at night or at weekends but we seem to have found a way to make it work.
Have you got an exit strategy? Not at this stage. For now, I’m focusing on growing the business, getting subscribers and building a community of mums on Instagram. I’m in this for the long-haul.
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area? Think about how you can do it differently and why people would want to buy from your business. And plan as much as possible!
Find out more at www.seventeenminutes.co.uk