Spotlight on PigletinBed
I have always been a big fan of good quality bedlinen, there is nothing better than sleeping in crisp linen sheets; cool in summer and warm in winter.
When I stumbled across Pigletinbed, who are set up to provide quality linen at a reasonable price it made my jump with joy. Those of you that follow me on Instagram will see that I have a blue set in my guest bedroom, and since this is the room I normally retreat to when my husband's snoring registers on the Richter scale and reaches a point I can no longer stand, I can confirm it is the best I have ever tried.
'Oh my, talk about heaven on earth! I have just spent my first night with my Piglet bedding and it was everything I was hoping for and more! I cannot recommend them enough. Worth every penny for the heavenly luxury!' says one customer on the website.
I completely agree and this was why I wanted to spotlight this company for my blog.
At Piglet we think that a beautiful and comfortable home needn't demand too much effort or break the bank. We believe that simple, high quality basics are key and so we developed our range of durable low maintenance linen bedding that gets softer and softer with wear.
'Soft-as-butter linen duvet covers and pillow cases...' (Huffington Post)
'Natural linen is the material of the moment.' (The Sunday Times)
So here are the questions I asked Jessica;
1. What was the reason behind you starting your business?
Before starting the business I had spent six years working in PR and marketing in London and Dubai with brands I loved and learned loads from such as Aesop, Ray-Ban and Nike. I always knew that I wanted to build a brand of my own eventually and was really inspired by the recent wave of e-commerce businesses which have managed to connect with their customers and create really loyal followings. When I noticed what I perceived to be a gap in the market for low maintenance linen bedding which doesn't break the bank I pounced on the opportunity.
2. How did you start up? kitchen table? Mum’s garage, renting premises?
The first thing I did was to move in with my mother and to cut my living costs down as much as possible. Home is in West Sussex where we have enough room to store the bedding (for now) and so I have been able to start out with very low business costs. The added benefit has been lots of moral support and help with the business from my mother!
3. How did you fund your business?
So far, I have been able to fund the business from my savings. Five years working tax free in Dubai had its advantages... This however will only get the business so far so I will need to start the rather daunting process of raising funds soon enough.
4. What was the most difficult part of starting up your business? Access to money, advice, finding people to buy, marketing etc?
I would say that the hardest part is keeping your morale and optimism up in the very early stages before things really take start to take off. Having a few people around you who also believe in the opportunity is a huge help.
5. What help was missing for you?
This is a great question and a very hard one to answer when you are in the early stages of a new business. This whole process has been a steep learning curve and I seek as much help as I think I need along the way. That being said, if you ask me again in a year's time I am sure that I will have a whole list of things I didn't know, mistakes I have made and help I should have sought out!
6. What went wrong in your first year? Few months if you haven’t been trading that long?
I originally set out to develop a range of design oriented travel accessories which I would sell online. Luckily, I quickly realised that I had significantly overestimated the size of that potential market and the financial viability of selling such low revenue items. I think entrepreneurs (especially in tech) tend to put a little too much of a positive spin on making mistakes and pivoting in a different direction. The truth is that you are way better off spending a bit more time and effort on that analysis at the start and saving the time and money associated with these kinds of mistakes... But then again maybe that lesson made the mistake worthwhile!
7. What have you learnt?
I have learnt that you can create a super personal sales and customer service experience when selling online. I was always fascinated in the use of analytics to understand a brand's customer base but I never realised how much more intimate e-commerce could be. There is nothing I love more than chatting to customers on Facebook Messenger or seeing people's photos of the bedding on Instagram. By gaining a deeper understanding of our customers we have been able to learn what products they want, what kind of packaging they like, what way they prefer to shop etc. There is nothing more valuable to the business.
8. What is the most important piece of advice that you could give others thinking about starting a business?
Make sure you are confident with the more boring parts of the business. I was pretty scared of handing my own accounts but unless you are fully on top of the business' finances you will never be able to scale.
Jessica makes some very good points which are reflected in my "how to start your business blog" about researching you market place carefully. Having set out to sell travel accessories and quickly realising that the market was just too small she changed course and launched with bedlinen instead. This was a very good mistake to make early on, before Jessica spent her own money on her products. Knowing your niche in the market place is incredibly important and more so if you are then setting out to raise money, as Jessica plans to do. Learning the boring business bits, also comes through in the answers, as it does from others on here. You really have to have a handle on you finances if you want to survive and a good idea of what you could make, if you want to scale.
So, thanks Jessica for sharing with us.
The Girl with The Green Sofa