At How I Wonder.co.uk they believe your home should be filled with all things beautiful, whether that be furniture, art or even your children’s toys and that’s something we whole heartedly agree with here at House of Coco. Welcoming a baby into your life doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. This is why they strive to select products which they identify as being unique, unusual and stylish.
We spent some time going behind the brand to speak to the #Girlboss founders Katie and Charlie to find out more,..
Tell us a bit about your journey to getting How I Wonder to where it is today?
How I Wonder is a relatively new venture in as it was only launched last April. However it was created by several years of brainstorming and development between the two of us. Having both given up our previous careers for parenthood, we would while away our days at children’s play centres and mother and toddler groups wracking our brains for business ideas. Our core objective was to create a business which could fit in around being parents and providing the opportunity to grow alongside our children. We have known each other for years, and having different business backgrounds and the same objective we knew we would complement each other.
What has been your highlight since launching the brand?
Our first year has been full of wonderful and new experiences. In addition to hearing people’s positive reactions to our products and website, we both agree the launch was a truly amazing and fulfilling experience. We put so much time into choosing our brands, stock and designing the website that to see it go live was amazing! Most people assume we have a team of professionals running the technical side, however when we first began it was just the two of us. Googling and watching YouTube clips on how to build a website and successfully market it. You can learn a lot on the internet!
How did becoming a mother change your life?
It is a cliché, but having children changed our lives incredibly (for the better). We both have 3 and 5 year olds, and are extremely lucky to be stay at home parents. However, having had successful careers pre children, it was sometimes difficult to adjust to full time parenthood as it can occasionally feel as though you have lost some of your personal identity. This has driven our productivity and made us even more determined and focussed to reach our goals.
Describe the brand in 3 words?
Quality; stylish; elegant;
Tell us what a typical day in your life looks like?
We usually wake up at 6.30am and check any emails and social media activity. If there’s anything exciting/important we have been known to call each other around this time to update each other. Our children all attend the same school so we drop them all off and head back to spend the morning working on the days business and fulfilling orders. We fell into fairly defined roles early on, so we typically spend the afternoon working independently.
Before you launched the brand, what did you do on the work front?
(Katie) Before becoming a mum I worked for a Lloyds Insurance Brokers as broker backup/account handler. Once my son was born my husband and I decided it was impractical for us both to work so far from home, so I became a stay at home mum!!
(Charlie) I’ve always worked in the fashion industry and worked in womenswear for 15 years. I was Sales Manager for a leading fashion brand before becoming a self employed sales agent for numerous labels.
It can be hard to juggle life as a mum and business, what do you do to switch off from work?
We once read that the best way to do both successfully (work and parenting) was to keep them separate. Although easier said than done, it is something we try hard to stick to. With How I Wonder.co.uk being relatively new there isn’t much free time. Once the children are in bed it is time to start working again, but this suits us as we prefer to be busy!
(Katie) That being said, now its summer I spend as much time with the children in the garden or at our local beach. My children love being outdoors….. in mud!!
(Charlie) To unwind, I love spending time with friends and family. I also go to the gym and of course enjoy the odd glass of wine or two. I’m also totally obsessed with Pinterest.
Who/What inspires you?
When notonthehighstreet.co.uk first launched we thought it was amazing…. a real go to for any gifts. I loved their unique and quirky collection and we always saw our website as offering a similar service; albeit on a smaller scale and concentrating on child and baby gifts only.
Are there any sources you go to for support with running your business?
We have a very good support group who are able to offer expert advice in areas of marketing and accounting. We use Shopify as our website platform and they are always at hand for any technical support needed.
What are you plans for the brand in 2016?
We had a really positive 1st year and feel confident that the setup of our store and brand has been well received. We plan to spend 2016 expanding our customer base and building awareness of our brand nationally, in order to secure our position as a reputable UK children’s retailer.
Did you always know you would be a #girlboss?
(Charlie)Yes, I always dreamt of having my own fashion boutique. But after becoming a parent my mindset changed and designing an online boutique with beautiful children’s items seemed perfect. As a mum I used to search the web for hours to find unique items and to now be sourcing these and providing them to others is a dream come true.
(Katie) I knew I had it in me to be a #girlboss but wasn’t sure where or how I could make it happen. I knew for certain it wouldn’t be in the Insurance Industry!! But I’ve always had a determined and positive approach to life. My glass is most definitely always half full!!
If there’s one entrepreneur activity you could get better at, what would it be?
I am very methodical and in some ways my thought process can be quite black and white! This is great for doing the accounts and keeping the paperwork in order however it does sometimes hamper my creativity!! Fortunately Charlie works best with the styling and merchandising aspect of the business. We’re like a married couple!!
For people aspiring to run their own company, what advice would you give?
Our advice would be to never give up and always believe. Its hard work and very time consuming, but it will all pay off in the end. Be true to yourself and your original vision. Design as much of your dream business as you can, as that will definitely give your business a unique and more personal touch.