Multi-award winning, Naturally Cool Kids (NCK) is the brainchild of mother of two, Fiona Wood. The company founded by Woods manufacturers and retails natural skin care and protection products for children.
After being voted the winner of Barclays Take One Small Step New Business Idea Competition the company has been able to operate on a much larger scale and it products currently retail in a number of well-known high street stores including John Lewis.
Q: What inspired you to set up Naturally Cool Kids?
Having my second child and finding nothing suitable that was natural when he was unwell or we when we were going on holiday, so I thought I’d do it myself.
Q: The children’s skincare industry is a competitive one, what differentiates Naturally Cool Kids?
Theres no denying it, children’s skincare is swamped and that is why we stayed away from the kind of products that everyone else was doing and created niche ones; old favourites made natural and in innovative, child friendly packaging.
Q: Where has your passion for creating natural products come from?
I was already an alternative therapist and beautician and my husband works in the health industry so I suppose it is something that is all around me and this felt like a natural progression to have my own business in an industry I love.
Q: What difference did winning the Barclays Take One Small Step Competition make to the business?
I wouldn’t have the presence now if it hadn’t been for them. The money allowed me to launch with a much bigger brand image which has been amazing and they have backed and supported me along the way. I believe you get opportunities in life and you have to grasp them and this is one of them for me.
Q: How have you set about marketing the business?
I launched with a PR company which helped to get the ball rolling and for me to understand marketing more. I now do all my own marketing and I am always asking people for advise on the best people to contact. I also drop editors a line and it has worked wonders for me.
Q: What have been the biggest challenges that you have faced so far?
Time – having a young family and running the business single handed was never going to be an easy task. As I have never run a business on this kind of scale before I have had to learn and absorb as much as possible which is the only way to get through and never give up, even when the chips are down.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about being an entrepreneur in your chosen industry?
The freedom to develop and grow without the restrictions of a boss. Being the decision maker in everything I do is great, unless it goes wrong then I can only blame myself. It really is great you can stop and start at any time of day and push forward on what is important to me and no one else.
Q: If you could give future entrepreneurs three pieces of advice, what would they be?
- Don’t let anyone even your nearest and dearest say you can’t do it, how ever much we love them all they don’t have the same desire that you have. Not everyone is built for this kind of business life
- Keep your eyes firmly on your bank account, monitor it daily and cut back when things become tight. If you get into the habit of doing this then it keeps your growth very real
- Regularly detach yourself and stand back from what you are doing. You can see if you are veering off course or if there is a better way of doing things before spending in areas that may not work. Remember it is a business and it is there to make money, it is not a hobby and you need to keep it real.
Q: Where do you see the business in three years’ time?
I am aiming to spread the range around in as many sectors as possible. I believe that by doing this both in the UK and abroad with the six products I have makes more sense than having lots of products and not the large and varied retail base. So in three years I would expect NCK to be in many countries around the world and supplying to three or four different sectors, like health, baby, pharmacy and muliples.
Q: Do you think SMEs are to play an important role in the recovery of the UK economy? If so, why?
I think SMEs are vital to the recovery as they are key to employment and income. The innovative companies out there across many different sectors are definitely the way forward. We need people to help these businesses grow and the more people employed the more positive an outlook we all have.