Hi there, it's been a few months singe I last blogged. I've been learning lots about social networking and for this blog post I'm taking a look at Pinterest to hopefully encourage you to explore it too. WARNING ... It's super addictive!!!
As well as talking about being a mum in business, I also like to tell you fresh news and share cool clothing ideas for your children. This blog is going to combine the two!
Pinterest is one of the areas of my business that I've been building over the past few months https://www.pinterest.com/supernaturalcol/. It's great fun and suits me down to the ground because it's so visual and immediate. I've used Pinterest to find loads of great ideas to illustrate this blog, I hope you like it.
Personalising ... EVERYTHING is huge these days. Everyone seems to love wearing their name or initial or age loud and proud on their clothing.
We embellish our organic baby and kids clothing with letters and numbers from the deliciously quirky and colourful range by Jennie Maizels (she's the one who came up with the wonderful 'Clothes Plasters' - a groovy modern take on the sew-on patches so loved back in the 1970's).
We also offer Keepsake & Gift Boxes which can be personalised by slipping your favourite photo, date of birth/age or name of your baby into the cleverly designed box lid. Here's a little tutorial from me showing you just what I mean.
I'm an ordinary mum who has taken the plunge to follow a dream by being a mumpreneur. This blog goes through important lessons I've learned along the way and will hopefully help you as you lay the foundations for your own business. Although being a mumpreneur is a possibility open to all, it's not necessarily for everyone. You need to be passionate about your business idea and to be prepared for all sorts of untold challenges, setbacks and confidence knocks. Hence, the idea behind the title ‘A Natural Mumpreneur - tales of the natural highs and lows of a mum’s journey to business success’.
Although when I started my business several years ago, I probably knew some of the things I’m going to be talking about already, in my excitement to get going, I ignored most of what I knew and charged forward full of enthusiasm and dynamism… and wasted a lot of time along the way.
But here I am today... Older - definitely! Wiser? We’ll have to see...
Given that I have a business idea which I’ve developed into a brand with a USP, I now need to get to know and define my customer. WHO am I going to sell to, HOW will I find them and, importantly, how will they find ME? I’ve learned that by sussing out your customer first you can THEN work out what your product is going to be in order to give your customer what they want - but of course I didn’t do it that way...
Once you’ve defined your customer, how do you effectively communicate with them? Tweeting and Facebooking to a few like minded people (as I admit I had once thought was enough!), isn’t going to get you very far. No, you REALLY have to get to know your customer - you have to BECOME your customer in many ways.
Back in the 80’s when all you needed was a Rowland keyboard and a silly haircut to be a massive pop star, Howard Jones wrote this catchy little number ‘Like To Get To Know You Well’. The song comes to mind now as I think about the next part of my journey.
It turns out it’s all about the letters W and P! You don’t believe me? Well see what these two highly genned up women have to say about finding and communicating with your target market…
Cathy Cuzel, founder of The Connected Woman writes for the Women’s Enterprise Centre. She gives succinct and clear information about the 5 W’s of Marketing (Who, What, Why, Where and When)
And then of course we have The 5 P’s, (Product, Place, Price, Promotion, Profit) so eloquently explained here by Melinda Emerson @SmallBizLady
So here’s a list (we like lists) of the things we need to know in order to get down and dirty with our customers:
What gender they are?
Where they live (country, county, town, street)?
How old are they?
What do they love?
What do they believe in?
What do they read, watch, look at, listen to, engage and communicate with?
How much money they spend on the sort of thing I sell?
Who else do they buy from - in general and for the sort of thing I sell?
When do they shop for the sort of thing I sell - time of year/season/month/ time of day?
Where do they choose to shop - online, highstreet, upmarket, bargain, boutiques, market stores?
What social networks do they inhabit - Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Pinterest?
Is there a demand for what I sell?
When they are looking for products in my category what are the difficulties and challenges they have? (accessibility, choice, value etc.)
This important research will allow us to target the right people through the right channels and to build a relationship with them which will hopefully result in sales. Once we’ve pinpointed our customer, we have to work on communicating with them - lots and lots. SEVEN times is the magic number when it comes to effectively repeating a message to a customer apparently! FOUR contacts to get them to notice you and SEVEN for them to maybe buy from you.
Because of what I produce - ie ethically produced organic and eco children’s and baby clothing, I’m selling to people who inherently care about more than just the style and price of a garment. For this reason, it’s not all about the sell, sell, sell. Yes I need to solve their shopping problems, but MY customers want to hear the story behind the clothing, they want to tap into a certain amount of expertise and knowledge about my area of business so I need to engage with them on a practical, informative and emotional level.
Thank you so much for reading this. I'd like to give you a gift of a £10 voucher to spend on any SuperNatural Products. All you have to do is to fill in this short questionnaire and you will automatically be sent a voucher code to redeem at the checkout on a shopping cart of £20 and over. As I said, I may be doing things a bit back to front - but I AM getting there and I really want you to come along for the ride.
Love and Peace
For much much more on developing all aspects of your business, in this case finding your target market, take a day to study all the pearls of wisdom on Marketing Donut - it’s awesome!!!
To recap from the last A Natural Mumpreneur blog … I realised that as the world’s biggest NOP (Number One Procrastinator), I had made a massive omission when creating my (not quite finished yet) business plan - I hadn’t yet sorted out my USP (Unique Selling Proposition)!!!
Without a clear USP (the thing that sets SuperNatural Organic Baby and Kids Clothes apart from the rest)it’s very difficult, maybe even impossible, to find my customer - (i.e. someone who buys stylish clothes for babies and kids and who cares about what the clothes are made of and who made them … i.e YOU!). Up until now I have been fortunate enough to find YOU without having a clear USP (or maybe you’d say that you’d found me!) … either way I feel lucky and very pleased to know you.
"A unique selling proposition is what separates your business from your competitors. It defines your unique position within the marketplace and gives you an edge over other businesses."
Then what is my USP … the thing that makes me stand out from the crowd?
Well what it ISN’T is that I have a cool name, logo website etc, or that I produce stylish clothing in colours that aren’t the traditional pinks and blues - (although all those things are true of course!).
It ISN’T even that I manufacture sustainably (which is a no-brainer but is also a COOL thing to do).
It ISN’T that I want to help to, even in a tiny way, make some change in the world (my true dream!).
So … I got to thinking about how the name ‘SuperNatural’ came to be, and what had put it into my head in the first place!
People assume it’s to do with the paranormal meaning of the word. But no, it’s all about the the word NATURAL … with added SUPER power!
Back in the day, when I was a student in Newcastle upon Tyne there was a pioneering veggie restaurant called Supernatural, so I guess that’s why I see the word from this angle. (Supernatural was at the bottom of this tower block - I lived on the 18th floor!!)
Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you (with a roll of the eyes to the heavens no doubt!) that I’d love to help change the world for the better - even if it’s only a very little bit.It was therefore impossible for me to set up in business without focusing on this dream. I knew it would take up a lot of my time, and, as that would mean spending less time with my 3 kids (I had NO idea HOW MUCH time ), it had better all be worth it!
But how could producing a new collection of baby and kid’s clothing do all of this? Let’s face it, the world isn’t exactly running a huge shortage of onesies and leggings right now!
The thing is, these days, being able to buy clothing made from natural fibres like cotton just isn’t good enough.In addition to our clothing being produced with the least possible negative impact on the the environment by people who live and work in safe conditions and for a fair wage we now expect more.We want and need our clothing to keep looking and feeling good with the least effort on our part and with the most efficient use of energy - ie cutting down on power-greedy aftercare like tumble drying and ironing.
SuperNatural fabrics, whilst so far largely being made from organic cotton, also include blends of fibres which are produced with cutting edge technology to be silky soft and luxuriously comfortable to wear, as well as being easy to maintain.
So our fabrics have super-powers … and are not JUST natural, but SUPER + NATURAL !!!
(Introducing Natty, my SuperNatural Hero - cute isn’t he)
Not everybody knows this, but the world can’t sustain our demand for cotton (organic or otherwise) so we need to find fabrics which are as good, nay BETTER, than cotton in every way. Most people also don’t know that there are new fibres being developed made from things like pineapples, coffee and even from milk protein! Imagine the fun to be had when a kid is told that their T shirt is made from a pineapple!
To date at SuperNatural I’ve used organic cotton blended with bamboo or modal (which is made from beech trees) - we’ll introduce other super-fabrics which are high performing, soft and lovely-to-wear and that are as good, or even better than the cotton that we all crave!
So, the USP is about finding wonderful and easy care naturally based fabrics that are alternatives to land and water guzzling cotton.
As a Natural Mumpreneur I can inform readers about new and exciting cotton substitutes and about responsible garment aftercare ... and just might have some part in changing the world.
But now how do I get this message out there to the right people (like you) who are into the same stuff as we are? I need to find out how to find more of us somehow. I wonder what it was exactly that attracted you to my business in the first place? I’d love to take this opportunity to try to pin point that. If you get a spare minute, PLEASE could you spend a few minutes answering some pertinent questions for me. Click here for the questionnaire - there may well be a lovely treat for you if you do!
I recently came across Melanie Boylan from Stomp Marketing & PR. She's an awesome blogging Mumpreneur who writes a lot about finding your USP ... so do please check her out!
Thank you so much for reading this article. I really appreciate your time. You can click on the image below to see my SuperNatural Kids organic cotton and modal collection.
Ok.So it’s official!I AM definitely a NOP - a world class Number One Procrastinator. I know this because it just took too many of my minutes to even decide on the type face for this blog! Please read on by clicking on the title to see how things are interior Jenny's mind (it's a mind blowing experience I can tell you ;)
Stella graduated from Central St Martins in 1995. She launched her eponymous fashion house and showed her first collection in Paris in October 2001. A lifelong vegetarian, Stella McCartney does not use any leather or fur in her designs. Her collections include women’s ready-to-wear, accessories, lingerie, eyewear, fragrance and kids clothing.
I know what you’re thinking! ‘OMG not another report to instil the fear of God into us?!’ As busy parents we have enough to worry about without having to worry whether our littles ones clothing is full of toxic nasties or not, but recently I come across a report from Greenpeace.
Need inspiration? It's nearly Halloween and I'd love to discuss the colour black. Have you ever automatically dressed your daughter in pink or your boy in blue? Do you wonder why such stereotypes and limiting colours are prescribed to children? My kids are now 20, 16 and 9 and I have little say in what any of them wear these days, but when they were tiny I decided that the traditional pastel baby colours, were really not for me, because the alternatives were either hugely expensive or very thin on the ground.
Today I'd like to share with you my list of 8 great ways, to dress your kids in black:
1. Angelina Jolie, not afraid of black for her gorgeous kids
Yes! SuperNatural Organic Kids & Baby Clothing are giving away a super-soft organic cotton black grow for either a boy or girl! Ourunique baby grows are perfect for urban babies who love to wear black, and are the hippest babies in town.
We love looking back, so this week we thought it would be fun to imagine if you got the opportunity to send a message back-in-time to your younger self, what would you say? I wanted to explore this in more depth and share my thoughts and tips with you.
Everyone is looking for that magical tip, tell me what would you would tell your 18 year old self? Reply to this email or leave your comments below - I read them all.
Me at 16 (going on 18!) and ready to take on the world.
Running a kids clothing company and looking after my family is challenging at times, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Often, just when you think you’re starting to get on top of things, something unexpected happens, to blow your focus and happiness out of the window.
A couple of weeks ago, sadly and out of the blue my mum passed away. The fact that she was my mum, meant that I took a lot of things about her for granted over the years. However, although we had had our differences, I was close to her. On reflection, I now very clearly see her as a brave, adventurous woman, who subconsciously maybe, I take inspiration from on in so many areas of my life.
My mum and me [Photo: by Lynda Kelly from her Finding Grace series]
We're also running a competition together - follow us on twitter (@supernaturalcol) and facebook (supernatural collections), and follow Jill's blog and twitter (@jollyjilly52) to enter, and if you're lucky to be picked out of the hat you'll win a superhero cape!
I've just been looking at the analytics for the site - it's fascinating to see what a huge reach the site has, no doubt as a result of the twitter and facebook postings we've been doing about our organic baby and children's clothing and loads of things related. I'm going to post now about our Free Delivery service, we'll see how many people are attracted to that offer - this is fun!!!!