Each week we catch up with a different entrepreneur to discover what makes them tick, their top tips and more.
This week we spend five minutes with Cathy Bolton, head of sales at Bizzi Growin.
Hi Cathy Bolton! What exactly is Bizzi Growin?
‘Bizzi Growin’ designs, manufactures and supplies high-quality, soft nursery furnishings. We provide product to many stores on the high street, such as Mothercare, Babies R Us, Tesco and John Lewis for the company’s own branded products, and are now at the stage of raising awareness and selling products through Bizzi Growin as a brand itself to the consumer.
Our aim is to bring something new, fresh and innovative to the baby and nursery industry.
What inspired you to start your business?
The textile industry I was in was moving to China. I met my Becky Rowlands, who is Head of Product Development at Bizzi Growin, while she was working as a freelancer for another nursery company. We discovered we lived in the same area and decided that we could offer more than what was on the market so bit the bullet and set up on our own!
What has been the biggest challenge for your business?
For us it’s warehousing. We got our warehouse at the beginning of 2014 and we’ve already outgrown it! But as anyone knows with business you have to keep things tight. We need to be sure it’s the right time for us as a business to take another warehouse and so at the moment we work hard to make sure one container is shipped out before another comes in.
What do you feel are the biggest obstacles to growth for SME’s in the UK?
That’s a difficult one as because Bizzi Growin is new, we’ve only been going for just over three years, the largest obstacle we’ve experienced is growth! We know that in a few years we’ll reach a plateau in the UK which is why we’re already branching out into Europe and attending trade shows in other countries. We know we need to get into the international market in order to grow to where we want to be.
Also competition can be a major reason SMEs don’t grow. If you’re in an industry which is saturated with lots of similar brands or companies then it’s difficult to expand. We’re lucky that we don’t really have much in the form of direct competition at the moment but where we may struggle is if the likes of Mothercare and Tesco decide to buy direct from China. We need to make sure that we continue to give our buyers the personal, high quality, value for money experience that they are used to but without letting the quality of our products be affected.
Have you made any mistakes along the way and what did you learn from them?
I think everybody makes mistakes and you really do learn from them. We have visited the most impressive factories and learned the hard way you cannot tell a book from its cover. Then we have visited smaller factories and the service and quality they have offered has been far superior.
Would you do anything differently if you could start again from scratch?
In a word, no! Short and sweet but it’s true. There’s no point in thinking ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’, we are where we are now and by never looking back enables us as a company to move forward.
What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to anyone looking to start their own business?
I’d say know and research your market. Take things slowly, do not rush headlong into anything. And look after the customers you make.
Enjoy the interview with Cathy Bolton, check out previous “Five minutes with…” interviews here.