Posted on January 9, 2012

Mumpreneur Feature – Denise

Mum in Business
The lovely Denise from The Baby Loft is on my blog today to tell you about herself and running her own business. Thanks for your time Denise! Don’t forget to say hi everyone and check out Denise’s business xxx

Who are you?

I am Denise Proctor aged 35 and Mum to 2 year old Olivia. 
What do you do?
I run The Baby Loft Ltd a Baby Equipment hire business. What The Baby Loft aims to do is to provide you with the option to hire baby equipment.

A large % of our customers are visitors from Overseas, we all know that travelling with children is stressful enough, without the added hassle of packing & bringing along all of the equipment needed. So rather than paying excess baggage charges we encourage people to hire their equipment and we will deliver it to their relations, Hotel or airport.
You can hire individual pieces or you can hire bundle packages, for example a Grandma bundle for when the little ones are coming to stay for weekend or longer. In doing this you are preventing  “Grandma” from going out and purchasing, then having to store equipment for those all important visits

Exciting times are ahead for The Baby Loft as we are about to also launch our service at Stansted airport, the idea being that you can simply prebook & pick up your equipment upon arrival at the Baby Loft Kiosk and drop off again on departure.
Another important service that we offer here at  “The Baby Loft” is a “Try before you buy service”.

All too often I hear mothers say that they wished they had been able to try out that travel system or car seat etc before they paid a fortune for it. Or that they are on their 2nd pram as the one they fell in love with and bought whilst pregnant just wasn’t practical. So  this service which enables you to hire the desired piece of equipment for 2 weeks. This gives you the opportunity to check that it meets your needs before you commit to a purchase.

When did you establish your business?
We went live with the website in August 2010, but had worked on getting everything ready from March 2010. 

What made you start your own business?
The idea came to me whilst I was on maternity leave after having Olivia, I was astounded daily as to the amount of “stuff” that such a little person needs. In addition, you often also find that other family members are also stocking up their lofts with baby equipment ready to call upon when your bundle comes to visit.  It began as a few scribbles on a sheet of paper, something that I would maybe do at some point in the future, I then returned to my Software sales job and 3 weeks later was made redundant, this was the motivation I needed

And so …… The Baby Loft…..was born.

What do you love about working for yourself?
The fact that I have made a few scribbles on a scrap of paper come to life, I also love the variety that each day brings and the people I meet on a daily basis, who without prompting tell me what a great idea the business is. I also love that my week is no longer rigid and that I am now in charge of what role I take on when.  

Is there anything you do not like about working for yourself?
That the working day does not stop at 5pm, particularly with the fact that many of my customers are abroad planning their visits to the UK the emails & calls come at all times of the day and night, to begin with I would be checking and answering emails in the middle of the night.
Also the fact that you suddenly have to become “Jack of all trades” and master many new worlds, i.e marketing, advertising, accountancy, 

Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you could?
Every day I am learning something new and revising my ways of working so no other than giving in and sorting out childcare earlier.

What advice would you give to a Mum considering starting her own business?
Be prepared for a lot of hard work, guilt and being pulled in all directions, but remember you are not Superwoman and that you are a Mum first & foremost.

I was given a piece of advice during my first year and  that was that the best business investment you can make is good childcare. In the beginning Olivia would come with me on deliveries, I quickly  realised it was unfair on her and she wasn’t getting much from it or from me during these long stressful hours in London traffic, she now goes to Nursery three days a week which allows me to focus on the business and she has a great time and has come on in leaps & bounds. We always then do something fun on a Monday & Wednesday.

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