Lynn Harris, Founder and Director of Otti & Liv, an inventive product range for young twins, tells us how coming on the Parent-Cubator accelerated her business from idea to reality
I joined the Parent-Cubator in April 2016, with a plan to start a business inspired by the challenges and rewards of being the mum to twins, Otti and Liv. I wanted to use that experience, combined for my passion for design and my professional background in branding and design account management, to create a range of products for twins. I hoped the course would give me focused time to work on my business plan.
I was immediately impressed by the preciseness of the first session, getting straight in to using Lean Canvas. The inclusion of wellness awareness was genius too. By including an element that I was actually craving (someone else to give me ‘life’ support while managing the family and trying to start a business while working) gave the impression that the course was mirroring my very real experience. That made me feel like I was on the right course for my needs right then.
After that first session I immediately did some market research with a handful of twin mums (including 2 on the course) who gave me some brilliant insights. I bought fabric, drew several clothes designs and started making the first garments.
By the second week I had begun to build relationships with other participants on the course, which would later become important business collaborations: Emily Snape created the designs for my current product range, Keryn Potts helped me with my social media management and Cilla Minchin guided me through setting up my financial systems.
By the end of the course I changed plans from first using affiliate marketing to then slowly developing my own product range, to developing an MVP range first in order gain feedback, visibility and find a tangible ‘centre’ of the business offering. This catapulted my business idea into reality much quicker than I expected. I was gaining very tangible and positive feedback that motivated me to take each next step. Within 6 months I had done two pop ups, secured agreements from 2 retailers to stock, had 2 pre-orders and several referrals. I was building brand presence, visibility and a product range. The course essentially jump started my business and inspired me to bring it to life quickly.
My twins also loved playing in the crèche while I did the course, and they came back several times over the following months for me to use the co-working space for meetings or to get on with some work to develop the business.
18 months on, I have just launched my on line shop and my business is going from strength to strength. I really can’t recommend it more – we are live because of it. Practical advice, great people, amazing crèche – go for it!
If you’re inspired by Otti & Liv’s story, the Parent-Cubator might be for you. Our next course starts on 17 April 2018.