We know that the concept of #mumpreneurstories is all about mums starting their own business and sharing their story. However we stumbled upon the brand Featherstone and Bloom which was founded by Chris, the dad of a beautiful daughter. We were curious about his experience as a “dadpreneur” and asked him if he wants to tell us his journey. He said yes and we said fabulous. So here we go, our very first #dadpreneurstory. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
1. Tell us a bit about your family
We are a family of three. Kimberley and I have been together for nearly 10 years (engaged for 7 of them). We also have our little miracle daughter Alix-Grace who is 17 months and is just ‘crazy’ beautiful. We also have an 8 year old cat called Tallulah Bell who has moved down the pecking order and aint happy about it.
2. Featherstone and Bloom was founded by you. How did you come up with this small business idea and also let us know about the brand name´s origin?
I studied Art & Design and have always been quite a creative person. When we found out we were having Alix-Grace, I got really interested in Kids clothing, décor and accessories. The clothes I saw online were a lot different from what you could find on the High Street which were all normally pinks and blues or had brash silly characters emblazoned on them. I wanted to create neutral clothing for little ones that were sustainable and affordable so decided to try and make my own clothing range.
I was listening to an Australian band called ‘The Paper Kites’ quite a bit at the time and they sing two songs that I love called ‘Featherstone’ and ‘Bloom’ so I decided to call my business that. Pretty random I know.
3. What was your go-to-market strategy? Did you test your products first on Instagram or did you launch the website from the beginning? Looking back would you do it the same way again?
I didn’t really have any strategy at the beginning to be honest. I first started cutting out shapes and printing them on to baby vests and t-shirts for the impending birth of our daughter Alix-Grace and posting pictures of them to Instagram. I never really planned to sell any, however I did start getting a lot of interest from Instamamas about them. The more interest I receive the more I wanted to create my own style and get better at what I was doing so I decided after months of research to learn how to screen print. I started selling my Tees on Etsy for a few months before creating my own website.
I don’t think there is anything that I would of done different, I think you need to make your own mistakes to work out the problems first to make you better at what you do.
4. When founding the brand what were the obstacles you faced that most surprised you and how did you overcome them?
Learning to screen print on my own was a huge obstacle, as I had to research this for months. I had to work out the best eco-friendly inks and materials and equipment to use. I watched hours of Youtube clips as well. I also found it difficult to find ethically made clothing in the UK.
5. How and where did you find your first customers?
I already used Instagram to post picture of my artwork, however when we found out we were having Alix-Grace I started to like and follow everything ‘Baby’. I quickly discovered some amazing Instashops run by some lovely mama’s and got the real sense of community amongst them. I was gaining a lot of interest from the pictures of screen printed Tees that I was posting with Alix-Grace wearing them so my first customers came from Instagram and a lot of them still do.
6. Are you a full time Dadpreneur or do you still work at your old job as well?
I would love to be a full time Dadpreneur, however at the moment I work full time during the day, have a few hours quality time with Kimberley and Alix-Grace when I get home then I work on Featherstone and Bloom when the kid goes to bed. I do try to keep my weekends free for family time as this is always my first priority. I’m currently working out of our kitchen at the moment, but would love my own little studio space next year.
7. If the brand gets really successful, is your wife going to join you to run the business or is that not an option to work together?
I would love for Kimberley to help if we became more successful. We already work for the same company in our day jobs so I wouldn’t have a problem. At the moment she normally tells me if my designs are any good or not.
8. Where do you find your inspiration for your prints?
I find a lot of inspiration for my designs from lots of different things like my daughter, music, culture and sometimes just from my own imagination.
9. Tell us an anecdote about being a dadpreneur.
Trying to go between managing a business, family life and working full time can be very difficult at times and tiring a lot of the time. I’m not sure if I have the balance just quite right yet but I’m working on it. Seeing all the gorgeous little kids wearing my Tees is so rewarding and makes me happy inside. It makes all the hard work I put in to Featherstone and Bloom worthwhile.
10. What advice would you give a mumpreneur who wants to start a business from scratch?
If any mama is sitting at home with a great idea or plan, just do it! Be confident in yourself and don’t let anybody hold you back. Don’t be scared of failure, as you will make mistakes along the way (I’ve made some costly one’s believe me) but learn from them and make it work. You are the keeper of your own destiny and its you that makes your own luck.