A MUM-OF-TWO who launched a kids' clothing business with £100 from the boot of her car has told how its since turned over a whopping £5million.
After her daughter's dresses kept riding up while she crawled around, Amanda Peffer, from Kendal, Cumbria, had a lightbulb moment.
The 49-year-old saw an opportunity to create a range of leggings that would embrace the beauty of little ones’ nappy bottom, and designed fun and creative patterns to highlight it.
After investing £100 on a prototype and receiving positive feedback from other parents in her daughter's baby group, British children's fashion brand Blade & Rose was founded.
Now, twelve years after launching, the company is operating in over 30 countries and has an ever-expanding range of clothing lines – including their award-winning and officially licensed Peter Rabbit™ collection, which makes the perfect Easter outfit or alternative Easter egg gift for your little one.
Speaking exclusively to Fabulous Digital for it's Easter Bossing It! special, Amanda – who shares two children with her husband Jonathan, 44 – Harvey Blade, aged 15, and Issey Rose, 13 – explains: "The inspiration behind the original Blade & Rose signature leggings design came about in 2009 when I was on my maternity leave.
READ MORE ON BOSSING IT
Mum who started business with £199 while pregnant turns over £80k per year
Woman who started her food business with just £20 says it’s now worth £5m
"I was constantly pulling down my crawling daughter’s dresses to cover her bottom.
"This, coupled with a distinct lack of interesting legging designs on the market at the time, created a lightbulb moment.
"Why not embrace the beautiful nappy bottom sticking out and design a fun range of leggings around this concept?!"
Another main motivating factor for Amanda, who was working full-time as a business development manager, was wanting to spend more time with her kids.
Most read in Fabulous
Queen wanted BOTH Wills & Harry to fight in Afghanistan, says ex Army chief
I went to Turkey & spent £16k on new boobs, bum & teeth but have huge regrets
DIY dad transforms his son's boring bedroom wall for £12 – & it looks amazing
I went to a wedding but my boobs stole the limelight
"I wanted a better work life balance, with young babies I struggled with them being in 9am to 5pm nursery, five days a week as well as working away from home," she says.
"I was missing quality time with them, as they grow up too quickly as it is."
Amanda had previously graduated with a BA Hon degree in Business Management, where she learnt the fundamental concepts of running a business.
I wanted a better work life balance, with young babies I struggled with them being in 9am to 5pm nursery, five days a week as well as working away from home. I was missing quality time with them, as they grow up too quickly as it was.
"My previous work experience of over 15 years before setting up Blade & Rose was in the FMCG industry where I learnt the importance and knowledge of building a brand," she says.
Implementing the knowledge she'd learned at university, Amanda invested £100 on samples, which she then tested on her daughter, before developing a final prototype.
"I had the idea for leggings with characters on the bottom, to create a feature of the crawling nappy bottom as there was nothing at that time on the market in the UK," she explains.
"A major component of the development was to not only ensure the designs were eye-catching and interesting, but that the quality of the fabric was durable, functional, would wash well and most importantly, that it was soft and kind to children’s delicate skin."
The determined mum-of-two took the original samples to the baby classes she was going to with her daughter and asked other mums if they’d be interested in buying them.
"The prototype was thoroughly tested on my daughter," Amanda explains.
"I then took them to baby groups with me and tested with my mum friends to gather feedback and tweaks that needed doing."
But it was the positive feedback she received from other parents that gave Amanda the final push to place her first order.
"After I had the confidence that this was a product that other mums, dads and grandparents also loved, I chose which designs I could afford and invested in my first order from the factory, which was a small amount of just three designs," she explains.
As soon as the £1,500-worth of stock arrived, Amanda set up a base in her front room, with the stock being held in a self-store unit.
She also set up a website, which was a DIY site with three designs which nobody knew about.
"I knew that we needed visibility for our products so the best route to market was baby boutiques and gift shops," the savvy mum continues.
Amanda’s top five business tips
- Be Unique.
- Do your research.
- Get feedback from friends, family and focus groups.
- Choose sustainable options.
- When you’re ready, hire a great team that believe in your brand.
"I made starter packs of leggings and called on shops – sometimes with my daughter modelling them – and sold them from the boot of my car.
"Every shop I called on bought straight away because this was such a unique product."
In March 2010 – two months after returning from maternity leave – Amanda left her job to concentrate on her business.
"I worked full time, but was lucky that I was able to leave my position and concentrate 100% on Blade & Rose," she explains.
"The immediate sales and love for the company was enough for me to jump in with both feet."
Blade & Rose grew organically and slowly initially, with all of the profits invested back into the business.
But Amanda quickly saw success with year one account figures of over £15,000.
"My husband came to join me full time with Blade & Rose after year one," says Amanda.
"He left his chosen career to help me build our family business."
In 2011, the savvy mum-of-two added another two design to its signature leggings, and slowly grew the collection year on year.
By 2013, she employed her first member of staff, before later going on to employ a further 14 people to help with the continued growth of the company.
Now, Blade & Rose has expanded its range to include gorgeous clothing sets, hoodies, dresses, and swimwear.
"The range grew in designs, then we expanded to matching accessories.
"But our signature product are our fun, bright leggings which are just £10."
And with spring finally here, if you've started thinking about your little ones' Easter outfits or alternative Easter egg gifts, Blade & Rose have got the perfect solution for you.
"We just love our Peter Rabbit ™range, as the collaboration is perfect as both brands are born in the Lake District and take inspiration from the beautiful countryside around them," Amanda explains.
"Our first collaboration had to be Peter Rabbit in his natural habitat.
I made starter packs of leggings and called on shops sometimes with my daughter modelling them and sold them from the boot of my car
"Our Peter Rabbit collection is also a fabulous Easter gift for babies and toddlers, as an alternative to chocolate."
Over the past 12 years, Blade & Rose has experienced continued growth, reaching its highest turnover to date of over £5million.
Amanda adds: "Our British family business has stockists all over the world including Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Greece, USA & New Zealand."
But the entrepreneur isn't just about fashion, she's also committed to sustainability and doing her part to protect the environment.
"At Blade & Rose, we believe that children's fashion should be both fun and sustainable," she says.
"Our goal is to create a range of playful and creative clothing that parents can feel good about supporting, both in terms of its style and its impact on the environment."
The charity supports WWF with their GOTS certified organic cotton collection – with 10% of the sale price donated to the charity to help support animal populations and habitats.
To date Blade & Rose has raised a whopping £48,000 for WWF charity.
Speaking of what she's most proud of, Amanda says: "Blade & Rose as an entity.
"It's our family business and it has been extraordinary watching it grow.
"We have amazing, loyal customers and trade accounts who have supported us from day one."
Read More on The Sun
Urgent warning for 150,000 grandparents missing out on £6,875 pension boost
Parents are scrambling to get their hands on kids’ Croc dupes from Home Bargains
As for the future, she adds: "We will continue to launch new fresh designs and ideas.
"Watch this space………"
Source: Read Full Article