Nathan Cornish aged 39,I live in Cardiff with my wife Suzy (37) and our two daughters Megan (9) & Darcey (6).
What do you do?
It was when I was leaving my daughter’s 6th birthday party and I was trying to put three bin liners full of presents into the boot of the car. I could not believe how generous all the guests had been, but a few weeks later I reflected on many of the gifts were still being used. We first asked friends for their thoughts,and then conducted a lot of market research (over 1500 parents).
The consensus was that at least 20% (some said 50%) of the presents received at children parties are never used and/or quickly broke. That equates to expenditure of more than £200m p.a. of ‘wasted’ in the UK alone. The challenge was for us to find a way to enhance the birthday child’s celebration and to do it in manner that honours the traditions of a child’s gift.
The service – ‘there is more to … birthdays’
There is more to timto than just a children’s gift service. The first of its kind in the world, the service allows children to create a gift list of their ideal birthday presents, while simultaneously encouraging them to support a charity that they identify with.
timto is derived from the phrase ‘there is more to’
When did you establish your business?
What do you love about working for yourself?
I also enjoy the fear of the unknown. At any time on any day either a potential hazard occurs or something amazing will happen or even both. An example of this was when I received an email out of the blue to be invited to the Cabinet office at Admiralty Arch to discuss our concept in relation to the Giving Green paper. The following day I was conducting survey research in a noisy children’s play centre for 8 hours (a very, very long day)
Then you have all the great people that we meet at the charities we work with, I remember a fun run last summer for the Acorns Hospice & watching the joy in the faces of these amazing children running what to them seemed like a marathon.
Another exciting time was when the NSPCC gave us their response to timto, “We [NSPCC] are excited about our involvement with timto, which is a brilliant concept that brings a new approach to fundraising. It is beneficial to both charities and children alike and it is fantastic that from a young age children are encouraged to think about the importance of giving as well as receiving. We look forward to working with timto over the coming months to get this revolutionary project off the ground.”
On a family level
• My children love getting involved and they quite often ‘proof’ read our literature, “advising” on our colour schemes, and appearing in PR photos etc. My wife Suzy is planning to join the business
• For me it means I have better control better control over when I work. I try to make sure I read a bedtime story to my daughters most nights & I also make sure that I take them to school once a week
Is there anything you do not like about working for yourself?
Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you could?
I have learnt so much. I believe that you learn the most when you try do something yourself. However, I also think that entrepreneurs need to be honest with them-selves, and recognise what they are good at and identify what areas of weakness. You learn that it is actually a sign of strength to ask for support, not a sign of weakness – this took me a little time to grasp!