I Started A Business In Lockdown & I Love It
By Daisy Reed Gold
This blog shares with you the inspirational story of #AMotherBrand Daisy Reed Gold. Daisy started a business in lockdown around her 22 month old son, Dylan.
Before becoming a mother Daisy was a successful freelance Director working with creative agencies to help brands launch live experiences and marketing campaigns that fostered deep connections with their audiences. As the pandemic began and her maternity leave ended, she realised that going back to her old career - working in events - was not an option. So she created a brand of her own.
1. Daisy, what were you doing just before lockdown?
Gosh, that feels like a long time ago now doesn’t it! My son Dylan was born at the end of April 2019, so I took ‘a year off’ work (not that there’s anything ‘off’ about becoming a parent) so we could get to know each other, one amazing day at a time.
Before that, I was working as a freelance Brand Experience Director running live events and marketing campaigns for brands like Instagram, Cadbury, and Starbucks.
2. What did you start up during lockdown?
A year and a half ago, in the haze that is motherhood with a newborn, I had the seed of an idea.
In February 2021, my dream became a reality when I launched Dineosaur; an online boutique selling stylish accessories to transform the IKEA Antilop highchair from ‘hide in the corner’ to ‘seat at the table’.
Dineosaur was born from a desire to make weaning for parents easier whilst adding customisable style to their dining room without the hefty price tag. We all know a non-foldable highchair can be an eye-sore in your home, especially nowadays where staying in is the (not-so) new going out.
Our range of wipeable highchair cushion covers, placemats, footrests and leg vinyls have been designed to make the IKEA highchair look beautiful, help to make the mess more manageable and reduce fussiness whilst eating. Our products allow your little one the freedom to fling their food without raising your heart rate three times a day.
3. What was the motivation for starting up your new business? How did it come about?
I’m not going to lie, I found becoming a parent HARD. Dylan suffered with silent reflux, which was undiagnosed for four months, and we had a rocky first six months whilst we tried to get it under control. Paediatricians recommended we started weaning early at around five months, which in hindsight put a lot of pressure on myself and my husband and our little boy. Dylan struggled to sit up properly in his Antilop highchair and would only eat when he could rest his feet on my knees. Extensive research highlighted the importance and necessity to support your little one’s core stability with a cushion and footrest whilst eating and the idea built from there.
It felt like a pipe dream, but I’ve always wanted to start my own business. With the pandemic erasing events and live experiences from the (hopefully) short-term calendar, and in-turn furloughing my entire client list it felt like it was now or never.
4. What have the biggest challenges been with your new business?
Firstly, I’d say juggling the number of roles you need to play as a one-woman business owner; the sudden need to be an expert in finance, photography, videography, product development, packaging, web-design, insights, social media, advertising, copywriting, customer service…the list goes on and don’t even get me started on IT. Luckily, my previous seven years working as a freelancer has taught me to be adaptable, and learn on the job but some of these roles have been a steep learning curve.
Secondly, I’d say what almost any parent would say right now and that’s juggling childcare and work. The days feel very long at the moment! We’re extremely lucky that our son has been able to go to nursery three days a week since October, but it’s hard to fit everything you need to do in to those three days, and there’s naturally a lot of overspill. Then there’s the mum guilt that you’re not giving them as much attention as they’d like…
5. What are the things that have helped you the most on your new business journey so far?
Running your own company can be lonely. You don’t have a big team to bounce ideas off or experts in specific fields you can lean on, but my husband Matt has been my hero – he’s really hands on and supportive and helps as much as he can with everything, even if it’s just listening to me moan! I’ve also joined a couple of parent business network groups which have been invaluable and incredibly supportive.
6. What are the things that you’re enjoying most about your new business?
There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when your phone goes ‘ding’ when someone makes a purchase on your store, or when someone gives your positive feedback about your idea or products. It validates your hard work. You can think you have a brilliant idea, but you don’t know if anyone else will think it’s brilliant, so when a stranger buys your products or tells you they love your brand, it’s incredibly rewarding.
It’s also been restorative for me. That might sound strange given the twenty-hour days, and financial stress etc, but I sort of lost myself when Dylan was born. I was ‘Dylan’s mum’ and all traces of ‘Daisy’ seemingly vanished. This was exacerbated by the monotony of endless lockdowns and not being able to go back to work.
Launching Dineosaur has helped me to establish a balance between being Daisy and Dylan’s Mum, and made the whole family a lot happier in the process.
7. What are your next steps for your business?
Our focus at the moment is on developing our cushion cover, which will work with the inflatable insert that IKEA sell. It’s unlike any other on the market in style and it will be 100% wipeable. When we were weaning, I had two of the IKEA cushion covers, and I would have to wash both of them EVERY night. Making ours 100% wipeable – like all our other products – was extremely important to me. We’re hoping to launch this late April, so watch this space!
Aside from that, we’re looking at how to grow and expand the range with other stylish weaning accessories, and how we can expand to Europe and navigate the joy that is Brexit!
8. Has this experience changed you and your vision of what you want to do in your life in the future?
Completely. Before lockdown when I was due to go back to work in March 2020, I was very anxious about how I would fit my new family life around a hectic job that demanded long hours and travel away from home. Then Covid descended and quashed the opportunity of work altogether. The last year has been so tough to see the events industry in turmoil. There was a lot of worry that it might never recover. I guess there still is. Dineosaur has given me hope for the future – a future that can work around our family life.
9. Have you got any top tips for other mothers juggling home-schooling and running a business at the same time? What have you found most useful?
Set yourself realistic and achievable goals. If there’s one thing this year has taught me it’s that no-one is super human. I set myself an unrealistic target date for Dineosaur’s launch and then felt like a failure when I didn’t meet it. A couple of days, a week, a month – in the scheme of your business’s lifetime, it doesn’t really matter. This crazy juggling act that you’ve been managing for the past year isn’t going to last forever, so cut yourself some slack, and focus on the things you can do.
Also, it’s worth noting that tying a balloon to a long piece of string, hanging it off a spotlight fitting, and giving your child a plastic spatula *may* buy you 30 minutes of peace.
10. From your experience, what would your top tips for someone thinking about pivoting or starting up a new business?
Surround yourself with people who believe in you and will encourage you. Take your time, do your research and trust your gut. Not everything has to be 100% perfect to launch – in fact it’s better to do it that way as you can tweak and adapt as your business grows. It took me a year and a half of planning to launch Dineosaur but it was worth the wait.
If you’d like to join a supportive community of like-minded #amotherbrands & get free targeted training – alongside amazing female founders like Daisy, you can!
Either join the free Facebook Best of Both Worlds Group here
or if you’d like a bit more support, accountability and monthly expert-led Masterclasses, the AMB Membership is opening soon. It only opens a few times a year for a few days, so best get your name down quick so you don’t miss out!
Join the Waitlist here.