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Monique Horrigan designs and sells the Dou-Doods – really cool baby & toddler comforters. She started off making them by hand – and through a lot of hard work, managed to outsource production when she was ready to scale.

Listen in to hear Monique share:

  • An introduction to her business and what she sells (0:55)
  • How she got started and the inspiration for her products (1:28)
  • Her journey from making her comforters by hand to outsourcing production (3:22)
  • How she made her first sales and got her business set up (6:23)
  • Her background in design and how she used it to make a business that works for her family (11:31)
  • How she ensured she was compliant with the safety standards for baby products (15:00)
  • How she found a manufacturer for a product with a very detailed and precise specification (22:00)
  • How she got the Dou-Doods in the press and the impact of that (29:32)
  • What she loves about running a products business (37:35)
  • Her number one piece of advice for other product creators (39:00)

USEFUL RESOURCES:

The Dou-Doods website

The Dou-Doods on Twitter

The Dou-Doods on Facebook

The Dou-Doods on Instagram

The Dou-Doods on Pinterest

Monique Horrigan on LinkedIn

LET’S CONNECT

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Transcript
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Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast,

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practical advice and inspiration to help you create and sell

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your own physical products. He is your host Vicki Weinberg

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hello. Say today I'm talking to Monique Horrigan from the

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Dou-Doods say Monique designs themselves to the coolest babies and

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toddler comforters that you have possibly ever seen. And she

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is going to talk to us today all about how

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is this journey I have. So it's always, I really

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hope you enjoyed this conversation. And here's Monique so, hi,

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Monique. Thank you so much for being here.

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Vicki thank you for having me. It was great cited

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and a bunch of diabetes, but she is going to

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be great.

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And so could you please start by telling us about

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your business and what it is the Sao?

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Oh yeah, of course. And I am the creator of

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The Dou-Doods and they are a small, it's a little

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bit of business that are set up selling baby, come

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for tears and the completely unique design. And I say

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for the soft and snugly And they will be the

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baby's best friend.

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Oh, it was lovely. And I have seen your website

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obviously, and then yeah, I do really liked them. Your

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bite there. Very different. See the comfort of that I've

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seen out there. So I'd love to know a little

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bit more about sort of your inspiration for creating them

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and how it was that he got started.

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He got, of course, and I went to have my

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first daughter and we really struggled to fall pregnant and

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she had a few miscarriages and I was just, it

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wasn't an easy journey. And I think one of the

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things that always sort of stood out for me when

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I was little as probably my most formative memory was,

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and I had a, a, a dude growing up and

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I just used to love this thing and I dragged

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it everywhere with me, and it was a snake blind

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kids and it smells, and it just fell apart eventually.

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And I just remember that sort of bond and that

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fondness and I just, when we first had our first

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daughter and I just remember kind of like, I don't

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know that all those memories come flooding back to me.

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And I sort of looking around for something that I

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found I could find that would be suitable to sort

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of reflect more of her personality and be a little

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bit more suited to her, rather than just sort of

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an inanimate blanket or something that wasn't just another sort

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of Jeddy cat bunny or something you can edit out.

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And so I can find anything and I just go,

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well, why don't I try and make some things, because

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I'm a little bit of crafty Andy, then yeah. Then

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I sort of had a little play around the designs

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and stuff. And so it was pretty bad, but yeah,

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that was the most, the pink. And he was the

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first to do that was ever born. And then I

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just, I just kinda like, Oh, this is quite exciting.

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I've been going to these mother's meetings and talks for

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a while. And then there is encouraging mums And to

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sort of do something new, do something different, you know,

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don't just sit there and if you've got an idea,

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then when did you try it out? So I kinda

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went like, Oh, well, you know, why didn't I try

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to make some of these?

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And I suppose that was in the beginning of the

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journey really? And then once you go from one end

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and I try to make them, it suddenly becomes you

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focus on everything as though sensitive, like how can we

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make this happen?

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So if you start off making a move by hand,

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I made a few by hand the faces. So because

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of the way that I had to design them and,

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and, and I wanted that sort of like handmade feel,

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I am, what's it called blanket stitched or the details

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around the faces. And I was never, I sort of

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inherited a sewing machine list for my sister, but it

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was never a good set of, of, so I found

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a mum's that have in my local neighborhood, she didn't

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mind seeing the, the outer shapes for me. So she

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spent, you know, I'd sort of pay her for her

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right. In the item in, and she just fitted them

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in a round naps and stuff. And she was a

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brilliant seems to have a, so it was just super

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easy for her. And that just gave you something to

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do. And then, you know, she sort of was helping

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me out. So yeah, in the beginning I made it

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more of a hand, but it just isn't sustainable as

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a sort of learn very quickly in terms of setting

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up a new business and everything that I needed to

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learn.

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It was just another thing with a, you know, at,

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at this point, and he was probably at about one

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and a half or two, you know, you still got

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this little toddler and you said that I'm trying to

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figure it out. Like it is so many things that

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you have to do when you got in that time.

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And that to basically a working hour or a couple

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of hours at the end of the day, and you're

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sitting there. So it wasn't just something that I could

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afford to do. So I started to look at outsourcing

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and that's where things get in a little bit more

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complicated.

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So you, so how long, how long were you in

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terms of this journey of creating And selling, The Dou-doods

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when you decided to outsource the production?

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I think it was always looking at it because I

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knew I'd never sustain showing them myself. And I'd love

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to sort of carried on the phone and with the

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mum down the road, but she couldn't do the faces

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and she didn't want you to do the faces. So

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that was understandable. And then I was like, well, how

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can it maybe try and get someone else to do

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the pieces and combine that process. But it's one of

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the things that my product is quite a simple looking

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piece by. There's actually a really tricky to put together.

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You've got lots of cut-out shapes, quite complicated shapes for

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the stars and flashes and, you know, pupils and eyes,

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and then you have to do so the no's is,

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and it sort of, it became a piece that people

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didn't really want to do often half a little bit

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sort of, they either sort of just that it was

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too complicated in stayed away from it and, or they

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were a sort of, yeah, they had sort of said,

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Oh, well, we can probably do it.

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Or we can't say, sorry, I'm getting a bit confused.

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So it was, I was trying to think of how

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long into the process it was before I started looking

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at it. I think I was looking at it quite,

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quite well, soon into it, into the process of having

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started it, because I just knew it wasn't sustainable, but

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I didn't realize how long it was going to take

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for me to find someone, to be able to make

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them for me, which I think is the one thing

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that you underestimate. Yes,

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Stephanie and I love to talk about that in a

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second set of how you met about finding someone and,

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but first I'm going to kill BIA. So where were

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you making your first day? Was, was it mostly moms

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that were local to you or did you get websites

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set up early on and say, how did you sort

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of first launched them in terms of having them as

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a product for people to buy?

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Right. And I set up an Instagram account or a

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surprise away, and I think her LinkedIn to a Facebook

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account, I think you'd have to sort of do it

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that way. 'cause, I've been going to these business of

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mothers meeting the business Academy meetings. I kind of new

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sort of like their first steps of some of what

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I need to think about the first ones. The first

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one that I made was for her best friend and

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her little boy. And then she asked me to make

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one for a friend of hers whose had a baby.

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And then I started posting about them in my personal

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Instagram And. And then as soon as sort of a

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couple of friends, that's off of things and that sort

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of showed it around these mothers meetings and sort of

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became a little bit more, a little bit more known.

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And that's when I suppose I sort of was like,

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okay, I need to make them their own entity. I

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don't want it to be my, my personal account. So

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I wanted to be in a due date. So I

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had spent some time playing around with logos and sort

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of designing the look and feel and the brand itself.

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And I could sort of launch that once we sort

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of felt ready And was sort of in the process

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of, Oh gosh, it's also really like, it, it feels

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like so sure to go about so long ago when

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you sort of think back to it. I think because

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of the business Academy, I'd sort of was lining up

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a website and once on you, the website was up

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and running and I had, it was also trying to

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tie that with the same time as finishing, getting someone

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to help me with production.

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And my first batch was made by a professional seamstress

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in East London, and she is sort of She we

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spent time sort of Find to match a employed restyle

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because she couldn't do the blanket stitch, but she had

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founded similar zigzag that she could replicate on her machine

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to be able to do the shapes, the felt shapes.

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So I sort of had her working in parallel with

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me, trying to sort of set up the back end

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or understanding to a safety or understanding the website, setting

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it up. I've never set up anything with a lot

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before and, you know, sort of opening up business bank

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accounts and registering my company, who was it, you know,

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buying domains and just the things that it's a sort

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of, a lot of people probably be, maybe take for

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granted, but, you know, you, you just sort of finding

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every step along the way, you finding out something new

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and you're like, Oh, okay, well, I can't do it

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until I got this and then I can't do it

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until I got that.

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So in the meantime, I had to sort of small

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stash made one that I was just through. And then

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as soon as the, and the first sort of batch

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came through and I was able to sort of used

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those a little bit to help leverage if I still

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had friends asking about and buying one to kind of

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just help push along a way. And so, yeah, so

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it was all a bit kind of, I don't know,

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a chicken and egg, I think it's sort of, kind

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of what happened at the same time, but it felt

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like a very long time, but it was a very

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short time. It sort of, I think it must've taken

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me a good six months. I'd say to kind of

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get myself sort of ready to sort of do a

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public launch.

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And the funniest thing is, is when you do do

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the public and orange kind of go, or who do

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I tell her, I've got this website, but no one

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knows where to find it. And so then it was

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like, I launched and I had sort of told my

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friends and family and sort of tried to spread the

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word as much as that way, but I hadn't got

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to the points of understanding, light press and PR and

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those kinds of, sort of S that sort of stage

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yets. And, you know, it sort of used to do

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more and more networking groups within this number of meetings

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and sort of, or by mom or groups and things

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like that. But yeah, it was sort of like this

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website's in his, my product, but instead of a still

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wasn't it sort of known to the public. So the

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next step was to kind of draw people to it,

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sensitive, build a following, and you sort of build it

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up that way.

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But I think the, some of the hidden side has

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just as big as this is a visual science. So

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you just sort of, when you do dabbling on doing

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drawings on the middle of the night and figuring out,

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so I'm trying to read up and toys, safety and

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the crazy things that you just don't know and don't

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understand this sort of, it feels like if you spend

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weeks just in those a little stages alone before we

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sort of go, okay, and that feels like I understand

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at all, I know what I need to do next.

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And then all of a sudden the next stage is

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like, Oh, okay, I didn't want, I need to do

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next, but I need to do something. And I need

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to do a quick to meet, you know, to keep

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the momentum moving.

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I think that's one of the reasons that seam econ

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seems like a short time on a long time is

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because when you're in it and they're so much to

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do, and you're just busy and you're always doing the

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next thing, one thing I actually, when you look back

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on it, you can see, well, actually it was 20

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or 30 small things. It wasn't a big thing. There's

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just so many elements, so many follow up questions. I'm

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wondering where to go first. I might just start with,

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so do you have a design background when he got

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up? I realized I'd actually, you know, that about you,

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you, wherever you have a design background you've mentioned running

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and sign in to what you do.

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Yes, I do. And I was a creative artwork here

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in studio manager by trade when I was, and the

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workforce before children And and I sort of have probably

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spent about 15 years' kind of work in a way

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from being a creative art worker up into your studio

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manager and resource manager at a design agency. It was

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an advertising agency called Elvis And. And it was when

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I went on maternity leave that I sort of, I

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love what I did, but I still wanted to be

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able to make it work part-time and just the nature

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of that game was just all or nothing. It's just

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a bit kinda like, you know, studio's the last port

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of call you, or is expected to be there finishing

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late nights, weekends, and then it just wasn't something I

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was waiting to come with a sacrifice straight way.

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So we decided that I wouldn't go back to work

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when I first, when we first had eaten me. And

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yeah, so I suppose that was sort of, that's really

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helped in terms of, you know, having an understanding, being

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capable on a man to be able to sort of

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play around with funds and logos and sort of get

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to look and feel that I was with rather than

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having to sort of outsource that to someone else. So

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we get someone else to help me with that. I

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suppose, that I was really lucky in that sort of

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sense And and I think that creativity sort of helps

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me as well because I have always loved photography. And

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so I do on my own photography on all of

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my pieces that I put up and obviously the sides

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from sort of photos, they come from happy customers.

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And so, yeah, so it was sort of like, I

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definitely need more help on the planning side of things,

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because I was never that sort of creative kind of,

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you know, the planner or, or the sort of a

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product developer or we are the sort of, we were

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definitely either kind of thing, like hands on, make it

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happen and part of the process. So I think, you

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know, I love going to talk to us about, and

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hearing things about how to sort of develop the brand

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and how you need to think about your marketing strategies

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and stuff. Because even though I worked in an advertising

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agency, you don't necessarily come and do that contact with

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that information every day. So we had just the last

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port to port to cool and, and we, it was

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sort of stuck up against tight deadlines.

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So it, it, it definitely gave me a lot to

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start with, which is a very lucky with, and I

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didn't do anything. Oh, it wasn't digital. So I had

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to teach myself how to do, and it sets up

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to my shop at that site shop, OSI website, which

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ones you sorta kind of understand a little bit, it

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does sort of become more natural to you.

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Yeah. And I think that's your point is one of

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the nuts, and then my other unknown other platforms like

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Shopify tea, but its one of those things that actually

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is quite intuitive and user friendly. I think if you

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were setting up a website, I don't know how long

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ago, 10, 20 years ago, imagine it was,

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I read it, she had to know the coding. Right.

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And it's good to know a bit about your background

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as well. And I think what you've said really highlights

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the fact that it doesn't matter what your background is.

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There's always going to be strengths and areas. Do you,

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you always have strengths and you always have areas that

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you know less about and you have to work on.

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So I think that's a really good reminder as, as

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well. So in terms of, we were talking about some

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of the practicalities and so obviously you, you a lot

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about the design aspects of how to design your products

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and we'll talk about it in the manufactured in just

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a moment. What would be good to understand is so

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how, what did you do in terms of like the

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safety standards and how the, how the competence had to

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be constructed and compliant and that kind of thing?

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Because I imagine that's an area that terrifies a lot

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of people because I have very few of us got

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experience in that area.

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Yeah. And it also terrified me because obviously I was

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making a baby product that can be used from births.

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And the last thing I wanted was for anything to

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happen in a baby, get harmed anywhere. And that's certainly

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any kind of manufacturer is anyone that's producing, anything is

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biggest fear. But I joined the fantastic group in the

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beginning because I was, everything was hand made and it

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was just the Facebook group. I think it's CE standards

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for handmade. I need to double check it, but if

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there are a fantastic, so there is sort of just

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a self-funded group or not in funded at the same

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thing, it's just a group thing. If you're going to

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be making anything that's going to be used for being

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the kids and toddlers and stuff, and they talk you

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through how to get stuff CE tested.

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And a lot of the time you can't do it

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yourself for certain things. There's a lot of stuff that

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you can touch, you do yourself. So you can't sort

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of chemically test your fabrics and things. But the, the

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sort of stress test that the product is through in

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terms of sort of like the durability and the sort

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of like how many times you can pull this thing

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and parts and you know, strained that seems and pull

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on anything that's dangley or you see if anything is

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going to come, those kind of things they do once

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you start understanding of it, it does make a lot

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more sense. You can't do so many. She initial test

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yourself the best course of actions to always get it

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done professionally.

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There are a lot of safety. What do they call

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it? Safety testing agencies out there. And obviously I think

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the biggest thing is it's a big expense expenditure in

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the beginning and it is when you're getting everything sort

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of safety tested. And the first ones I did myself

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and then as I had one of the fabrics chemically

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testing to make sure that there is no harmful chemicals

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or dyes or hazers or anything like that, or any

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kind of ions, if you'd be surprised at sort of

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what people try and hide and fabrics it's crazy. And

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then when I was having the manufactured, I sent them

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off to be tested independently.

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So you pay for that test and then it kind

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of sent the results back to you. And as long

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as you're sort of aware of kind of, you don't

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change the process of how you make things. So its

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always the same process. You've got the same stitch type,

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you've got the same overlap versus single stage or whatever.

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And however, those seams are bound together in a however

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you attach ribbons or whatever, as long as that process,

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which means the same for your product. If you changed

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on mine, the designs changed slightly and within the faces,

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but it doesn't mean I need to get every single

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one safety tested. Cause I know my batch of fabrics.

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And again, once I had sort of moved into sort

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of big a manufacturing in us, ordering fabrics and buys

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that have 50 meters or a hundred meters, I knew

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that My, I could source organic 100% gods organic cotton

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Jersey when it comes fully certified already.

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So I didn't have to pay for that certification, but

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in the beginning where I wasn't quite sure. And some

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of the fabric who had come from I got it

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all for the safety tested and made sure just to

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check that and the sort of supply I was getting

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you the correct information. And, and then yeah, I suppose

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it sort of a structural and durability of it. And

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the sort of the biggest thing is obviously what goes

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into the fabrics and in cells and how they made.

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So again, on my plush, I made sure that I

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could source it or Ian certified, which is the European

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standard and in 71. And that it means that the

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has been certified at source where it's on from entering

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European standards.

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So I know that the standard will change slightly. Now

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that Brexit has happened. And in January, this is the

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one thing that I need to sort of your continuously

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never-ending to do list just to double check the news

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and CE Mark will be it because I think everybody

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would recognize the CE Mark on a toilet, which is

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the international safety standard Mark. And so I just need

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to check what that would change to in January of

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2021. But yeah, I think this taste the testing, we

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will be pretty much racism there to where we are

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now. They're not going to change the process of it.

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The ones you had, the testing and you pass the

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test, is that means you can display the C Mark

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on your product labels.

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Yes. Yeah.

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Okay. A presumably before you, do you even do the

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testing, you need to sort of find out for yourself

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what the standards are. Would that be where my writing

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say in that so that you could at least produce

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products that you feel we are meeting those standards? So

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where is it? I mean, is that a lot of

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Google research? When did you find the best place to

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find that sort of information out?

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And a lot of Google research, there's a for toys

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that was the British toy association, which has got a

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lot of news and information on a lot of the

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information I also got, From the handmade toy on Facebook

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and Facebook groups and yeah, it's sort of, it's just

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a lot of reading again and I'm sort of trying

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to think of like exactly where I found it, but

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I'm one of those terrible Googlers. I can't, I don't

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know how to surf the internet efficiently. And some people

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are just amazing. I just fall down in these random

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holes and get lost in a sidetrack has a presence

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also because I get to say to easily distracted. And,

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but yeah, I'm desperate trying to think and I'll follow

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up with any other websites and things that I can

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remember off hand, but the safety agencies themselves to safety

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testing agency is they're quite happy talk you through about

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what you need to do.

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And I was sort of made aware of them quite

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early on. So it seems, I knew that it needed

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to be safety tests and we could do it through

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this sort of independent bodies. I sort of went to

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them and sort of was asking them questions and they're

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very helpful. So that was the one to make sure

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that, that they can get as much information as possible.

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Thank you. And yes. Do you please send data for

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any websites that you come across that you, that you've

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used because I'll put those in the show notes so

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that people can get it easily go and find them.

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And this is also a good point to say that

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I'll put your website and in the show notes as

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well, because I'm sure that people listening up until this

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point, you know, it might be trying to picture what

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your product look like. A best thing to do is

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to click through to the show notes, go and have

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a look. So I think is always good to have

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a picture of in your mind. So when we are

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talking about it now, because we're going to move on

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and talk about the manufacturing. So before we do that,

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go and have a look at the products and then

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you'll have a really good sense of what it is

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that we are talking about. How did you go about

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finding someone to manufacture them on a larger scale?

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And I spent a lot of time asking people and

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sending off. And I suppose that was the worst. One

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of the most annoying bits of sort of sending off

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samples to people who used to, to find finding manufacturers

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is like finding gold. If someone has a good manufacturer,

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they don't want to share it with you just because

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once you've started searching, you realized how tricky it is

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to find someone that you can work with. And again,

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sort of through various methods, meetings, groups, and things I'd

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always asked someone's advice, or I'm just going to say,

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Hey, does anyone have any guidance or can anyone point

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you need it directions?

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Or does anyone shouldn't mind sharing any information? And sometimes

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people who have more than happy to say yes, sometimes

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they'll get a little bit more selective over kind of

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what information they shared, which was absolutely totally fine. But

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I did, I just spend a lot of time just

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emailing people, you know, for my product. It was all

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about the embroidery and the faces. So I'll just look

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up and forward to it and just sort of work

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my way through list sensitive, send them emails, give them

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a phone calls. I'd have to send an email with

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links, to my images, all, you know, sort of like

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pictures of my products so they could see what I

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was talking about. And it just because otherwise it's quite

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hard to sort of imagine you were telling me as

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a funny shape and its got a little felt face

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sewn on the front and different diagno I catch in

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one eye on and then that other eyes know normal

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knows and that's, and I'm like, Hm, okay.

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That sounds so complicated. And you're like, yeah, it's a

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little bit of a plush in front and cotton on

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the back was a little bit of a run on

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the side. Oh yeah. Okay. And I can, no, I

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don't think we can do that. So I got a

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lot, Lots of notes and Oh yes. I remember one

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of the trade fair that I went to, which I

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did source a lot of potentially British media companies and

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was, The make it Britain and a trade fair. And

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there was a British based companies so that you can

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sort of go along too, this big trade fair obviously.

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And this point was really a night out. I think

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it's online and speak to manufacturer's and they go to

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the UN kind of a fight for it and for

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being able to be seen and sort of found, and

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it was nice because as you can go and have

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a conversation with them and you can just show them

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in a part of it to me in my life,

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then you can hold it up and touch it.

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And some people just want me to try to make

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things work. They sort of said, yes, we can do

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them on a date, but what we can't do the

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second, the final Fitbit in one company so that they

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could do the final So, but then couldn't do the

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important to you. And then I was trying to work

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out how I could match these two together. But I'm

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the one thing that you sort of always has got

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to be conscious of. It is sort of, if you

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don't really think about when you're making a few, but

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as soon as you start moving around sort of a

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a hundred meters of material and like really heavy and,

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and after you shifted in From, you know, I think

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mine came from Portugal and you know, you've already paid

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shipping on this to get it into the country and

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then you going to be shipping some parts to here

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and you're going to be shipping other bits too there.

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And then when you're going to try marry them. So

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it does make it quite complicated and you kinda go,

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well, that's actually going to start working on at the

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cost of everything is not cost effective to the specific

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to the party in the back at square. One is

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trying to find someone who can do it or to

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get there. And it was actually a really random and

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events. I went and did my first trade show, which

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was called.to dot and, and I don't think they're actually

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running anymore on a doc to doc to and trade

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fan. And it was for kids and children's products and

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an outstanding on the new business section and so forth

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stands, which was the new business and its testing to

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the ladies on the side of me, who I was

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also new businesses and I'm one of them is called

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Arie in London and she made these beautiful children's clothes.

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And she had had these amazing fabrics. And you just

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talking about fabrics over the course of the two days,

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she sort of told me that she was just a

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self proclaimed fabric lover. And I said, Oh wow. Would

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be great to just to talk to them more. And

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after the show is when we can just, you know,

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I was really struggling to try and find the right

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organic cotton and plush in sort of a large quantities.

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I don't really know what to do. And she said,

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yeah, yeah, I'd love to help you. So again, I

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think you should never stop asking for help because you

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never know, who's willing to give it to them. Even

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if you get knocked down a a a hundred times,

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just keep going, just keep asking, because I like it.

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She didn't ask everyone in like, does anyone know have

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any contacts in a sort of like a wholesale fabrics?

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And then again, sometimes we get, yes. Sometimes we get

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to know and she would just be, so she was

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so lucky to, and we actually formed a instant friendship

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and she sort of helped me. She said, I'll put

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lots of context. We can sort of, I can help

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you if you find some fabric manufacturers and it just,

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the way it worked out. So, you know, as we

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kind of carried on talking, she sort of said, Oh,

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and I currently I run in a little studio up

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in Scotland and I said, that's amazing. And she said,

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my studio manager, I was talking to her about these.

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This is a couple weeks down the line. And because

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I had also been talking to her about how a

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struggling to find a manufacturer and she said, my studio

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manager, it reminded me that we've got this old embroidery

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machine in the back that we never use.

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And she said, why don't you send a sample up

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and we'll see if we can replicate it. And I

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was like, wow. Okay. That's fantastic. So I sent a

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sample up to her and then sent a sample pack

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and it was like achieve the blanket stitch on, on

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this amazing book or do you, and she knows, I'm

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like, yay. And this is, this is like magic. This

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is the best thing that's happened. But you know, it,

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it probably took a good for months to get to

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that point. Maybe more. I can't even remember what it

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was just sort of constantly trying a couple of people

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at at the same time. So he comes through and

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then it was just a, no, which invariably it was

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used to be. And you sort of hit the sort

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of internet again, find the next range of people that

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you can try and just sort of keep going.

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And so she ended up making my first few batches

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for me. It was just fantastic. And so that will

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make it up in Scotland or, or the private and

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report it to them. They could do everything. So it

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was the cut measure. Transient team, I think, is what

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they call it in the industry and service. And I

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got these boxes of Doods ship it down to my

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house. And that was sort of like, that was it

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that we could actually be, you know, taking them to

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market and sending them and a, and you know, pushing

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Instagram and Facebook, instead of getting them out, then there

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was a really young process. And one that is always

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a bitch Vicki too kind of have to pin down.

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Yeah. I think it's definitely something it takes and perseverance.

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And I think, especially when like that, it sounds like

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your product has so many different elements and you need

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quite a lot of different skills to actually be able

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to put one together. Definitely see how that was a

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challenge. I'm so pleased. You've managed to find someone who

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could do it at all and develop it to the

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quality that you need as well. I think that's it.

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Yeah. So we spoke a little bit before, so I

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want to change it up to it a little bit.

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Now I was, you mentioned that when you launched And

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that, you know, you weren't doing anything like press or

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PR, however, I have seen you in the press, so,

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yeah.

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Right, right.

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And if you could just tell us a little bit

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about sort of, you know, did you have a press

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and PR strategy? How did you go about it? You

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know, how, how did you get in the press basically,

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I suppose is the question. Yeah.

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Right. And again, I know I'll keep talking about it

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along your way. It certainly in umm, being a mum

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made business, there is a big support network to you.

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And then we met through or by mama, I got

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in touch with, and another business called mama made and

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it was one of those meetings and, and it was

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another business I got in touch with her and her

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name was Taylor bundles. And she used to put it

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together, these beautiful gift boxes. And I sort of approach

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to us and say, Oh, I love to you, you

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know, be considered for one of your gift boxes. And

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she sort of said, yes, of course I really liked

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your product. And it actually, she had also just found

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me randomly through Instagram or something that sort of, we

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had sort of been following the same person that she

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works with red D and I are sort of like,

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Oh, I like to look at this lady.

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And so I joined, I was, I was one of

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the other suppliers. And for a while that she sort

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of had to just shut down in and it just

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was the right time for her business to sort of

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be and taking a new term. And she put me

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in touch with a lovely, a PR agency that she

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uses because that was talking to her about, you know,

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how do I sort of grow myself? And if she's,

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again, I just got so much information and knowledge in

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it. And you just talk and ask with all these

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different people. And she said, I've got great a PR

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company who's called con site communications, who she was using

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for her. And she put me in touch with a

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lady there, Jessica and we still got chatting.

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And I was always one of those things that I

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sort of just said, like, I, I don't have any

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money. I've never had any money to just sort of

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splash around, which is why I've done everything. And everything

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takes in the long run a lot slower that she

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sort of said, well, why don't we work with what

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you had? You know, we just, we break it down

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too. You know, we break it down to sort of

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like a couple of hours here and there and then,

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you know, work it up into, we spent a whole

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day on it and then we can review what we

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are. And she said, it was long as we've got

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an idea of what you want us to be doing.

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And we can sort of focus on that because she

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sort of said to me, like, it doesn't really feel

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like you need us to be in a new content.

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You don't need us to be running a socials at

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the moment.

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And it's more about the stuff that you don't have

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the time for. And I just sort of said, I'd

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love to reach out to the press. I always keeps

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saying to myself, that's the next thing, the next most

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important thing to be doing, but then you get sidetracked

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by it, SEO testing your website because you've realized that

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no one is finding it. 'cause your analytics is not

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right. And your SEO like keywords are wrong. So that

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takes you a month to sort of sort out and

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figure out because you're only doing it in our every

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day. And so yes, I said to him, I'd love.

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I'd like to be able to do a PR push.

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And, and she said, that's great. We can know exactly

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what we can do and say, we just work together.

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And they just sort of did it in small batches,

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spent a couple of hours a day sort of during

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the first step kind of finding all the publications that

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we thought were probably be right to get in contact

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with them.

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Then, you know, we'd sort of worked on the, putting

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the press releases together. I worked on with the images

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made, we had a nice batch and then they reached

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out to everyone did the follow-up sessions. And eventually we

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got a couple of interests pack and then you kind

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of go, that's waiting to see what happens. And then

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all of a sudden it was it, Oh, by the

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way, you'd been featured. So that was really lovely too.

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Kind of get the recognition and a Sydney, coz I

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got featured in it, some really nice places, a goal

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and a feature in a stylist, which was amazing. And

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it had an ethical edit and, and I, and it'll

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do to make it into that. And we also made

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it into gift guide for baby magazine, which is a

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industry magazine and Citi kids magazine also featured us in

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the autumn issue under the way we love products and

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new products.

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And I'm like, Oh, well the other one was the,

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in the best list, one of the 11 best and

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baby guests to buy it for Christmas. So yeah, it

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was really fantastic to kind of get that recognition. And

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again, I think once you, I've never had to do

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that. And I don't know how to approach journalists. I

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don't know what to say. I don't know how to

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put a press release together. It doesn't take that long,

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but when you've got this never ending list of things

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to do, and you're doing everything on your own, you

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kind of do you just have to go, okay. He

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can help me with that. And if I need to

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spend, I think we ended up spending about two days

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worth of fees across a good couple of weeks. That

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was probably be the best of my own money that

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I had spent because it was actually, it actually got

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me something back and it was something that I didn't

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just keep putting on us and putting off because I

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would have never get around to it.

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That's fantastic. And I think you're right. I think for

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most of us of, if not all of us, there's

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always some thing that you could outsource and it's gonna

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be different for everyone because some people listening to this

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will say, well, actually I can do my PR, but

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I need an accountant or whatever it is. I think

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there's definitely something to be said for outsourcing things that

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are likely to give you a return on investment, but

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you just don't have the time, the expertise because we

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can't let space it, we can't learn everything.

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I know it definitely not

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Even if we wanted to, which I'm sure most of

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the day. So what kind of impact did you have

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from some have been featured in the press is you

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sort of see any immediate results from that, right?

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Yes. It sort of, its kind of, so I think

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indie Beth gave me the best and the best kind

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of night return and you, because that's when that sort

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of art for a long time and a stylist was

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amazing, but I think one thing is a stylist or

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is it sort of My product, meaning a baby Product

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people look at it. And sometimes I get a little

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bit confused by what it is and, and staying at

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such a ready kind of like, Oh, I love that

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top. I'm just going to buy it now for myself

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quickly. And then it's over in a week. So it

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sort of, if people kind of learned the look of

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it and I did get a lot of traction, but

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it was my not being the right time for them

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to be buying your baby gift or a baby product.

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And that's the one thing with my, my product is

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a little bit slower because people need to be in

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that right. Timeframe of Life to be able to have

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a gift advice for someone or have just had the

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baby themselves. So it is quite as of a small

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market of and purchasing and then yeah, the baby magazine

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as well. That was really a lovely lots of people

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and click through and purchase from that. So yeah, it's

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just, I think it's just, you do have to focus

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on who's the right audience for you and, and I

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would definitely, we would always do, you know, try to

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reach out to as many people as you can because

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you just never know who was going to give you

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the most return anyway. Yeah.

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And do you think it's the case of once you've

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been featured is easier to get featured somewhere else or

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does that really not make a difference?

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It probably makes it easier because you've already got to

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a little bit of kudos behind you. You know, you've

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got a bit of a reputation. Oh it has, you

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know, someone like independently in the best, in best they,

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they featured you or stylus to feature a stylist is,

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you know, for me, it's just like a stylist, even

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if I didn't get like the most sales from them

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is still And, I, it's such an accolade to be

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chosen as a, a stylish product to be featured in

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one of the magazines, you know, and people do look

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at that and the people do recognize that and they

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do, if they can make a choice, they were always

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either looked forward to some kind of, yeah.

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Some kind of brand recognition. And you know, if someone

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else is recognizing this brand was being noteworthy, then they'd

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go, Oh yeah. I'm like that brand too. Yeah. I

Speaker:

can definitely see how that might work. So we've just

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got a few questions before we finish it up. Could

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you please tell us what you love about your, one

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of your own business and about selling products? Please I

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love the way that I can make it work around

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my family. Like I said before, I didn't go back

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to work full time because I wanted to be, I

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wanted to be a mom. I wanted to be there

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and pick up some things that even though it says

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you can see com much later in time or three

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years down a nine, but I just want it something

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that could be more adapted to a family run night.

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And, and that's definitely one of the things that as

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we were working out from this, and then, you know,

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the second thing was is I just love my daughters.

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Just what both of them. Cause I have since had

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a second one and they both such snuggle bunnies. They

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just want to cuddle everything in snuggle, everything that I've

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always had such a strong attraction to everything. And they're

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both in love. They do. You do. And it's just

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the love and care. And how do you see them

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work through with babies? That just makes me feel a

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warm and fuzzy inside. Like my heart disbursed is knowing

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that I've created the product that is going to be,

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So loved by another baby out that, you know, it,

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it doesn't matter that it's love by one or 10

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or a hundred or, you know, hopefully thousands and thousands,

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but just putting something into the world is going to

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give someone that love and care.

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It just makes me happy.

Speaker:

So that's a lovely, really nice. And just one final

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question and this one I ask everybody and I love

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this question. And so what is the number one piece

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of advice you would give to another aspiring product creator?

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I would definitely say if you just follow your gut,

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if you have a dream and you want to pursue

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it, just give it a go, you know, just to

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be realistic. I totally underestimated how much time, money and

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efforts, you know it and let's button in tears that

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have gone into this. It would be because I just

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had the simplified version in my mind of, Oh, I

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can make it. And so it's, and I think you

Speaker:

do have to just be realistic with yourself and say,

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this is going to be long, hard slog. It's, you

Speaker:

know, it's taken me three years to get here and

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I think, and then it's just, and I still don't

Speaker:

feel like I'm on top of it yet purely also

Speaker:

because of Corona and having a baby and second baby

Speaker:

in the middle of the loss of like one year

Speaker:

off to just sort of get myself set up.

Speaker:

But yeah, it's just one of those things that just,

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you know, if you believe in yourself, that's brilliant because

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you got to just start there and then just push

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harder and work hard and you'll definitely make it.

Speaker:

And it was been at five. Thank you so much.

Speaker:

So I'm going to put links in a chain eight

Speaker:

to your website, your social media and everywhere that people

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can find, you see your products and hopefully buy your

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products as well.

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I'm thinking, you know,

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you're welcome. And thank you so much again for being

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here for sharing your story, for telling us what you've

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done and what you've learned. That's brilliant. So thank you

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so much. It's great. Thank you so much for having

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me as always thank you so much for listening today

Speaker:

and I always appreciate your being here Monique and myself

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would love to know what you think about this episode.

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So do you get in touch? You can email me

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Vicki@tinychipmunk.com or you can find me on Instagram at Vicki

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Weinberg product creation. If you've got the time to rate

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and we have to leave a little review of, for

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this podcast on Apple podcast. That was amazing. So please

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do subscribe and tell all of your friends about it.

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So have a lovely week and wherever you are, and

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I hope to speak to you soon.