Name: Trish Fitzroy
Business: FairKind Child
Family: Trish (Old), Alex (Older) and Corlee (3)
Guilty pleasure: Currently it's Rocky Chocolate Bars dipped in tea! Possibly to be upgraded to Penguins when this stash runs out.
Trish Fitzroy, pictured left in her shop, FairKind Child, located in Piries Place, Horsham.
Tell us about how your business dream came to light and how it evolved into reality.
The motivation behind FairKind Child is a simple one: to put people and our planet before profit. The focus on childhood products came about because having my son really drew my attention to the mass consumption, waste and exploitation that drives the mainstream toy industry. I wanted my son to have access to fun, safe & educational toys which were made without the hardship and pollution that comes with so many plastic toys. I wanted to be able to make those products more readily available and affordable for other parents and I wanted to create a lifestyle business that allowed me to work around my sons needs.
It's very much been an evolving idea and has taken a while to really suss what my business is and what format to build it in. I had the vague idea of opening a handmade children's shop, but no real idea of how it would all work. So I just began on a shoestring with a Facebook page, a box full of Fairtrade toys and a table at a local baby sale. It took several attempts to get going, but I quickly found which events I was best placed at and my little market stall quickly grew into a much bigger set up.
I then built an online shop and filled it with even more vibrant, ethically sourced and eco friendly toys, gifts, bedroom decor and natural baby care products. That was a steep learning curve and I quickly realised I wasn't satisfied with only growing FairKind as an online entity. With selling online, you only tap into the market of parents looking for your toys and brands. If I was to reach people who didn't know anything about all the amazing ethical toy options they had available to them, then I had to have a physical and public presence - I needed a shop!
So when I spotted the cute little shop up for rent in Piries Place, Horsham, opposite an equally charming pottery painting studio and surrounded by so many other thriving independent family and gift businesses, I knew it had to be exactly this shop. I suppose the intuition I felt pulling me take the leap when I viewed this shop, it all just felt right, and I feel at ease in the belief that FairKind Child is exactly where it's supposed to be and will grow from strength to strength from here.
Starting and running your own business can be tough at times, how did you overcome these wobbles and not throw in the towel/bib?
I still might! The reality is that retail is TOUGH and running any business by yourself is TOUGH! What keeps me committed are all the inspiring women I've partnered with to sell their amazing products and services in my shop. I believe in their success completely, and in turn I feel encouraged by their belief in FairKind Child.
Even while sales have been lower in this post Christmas lull, the praise and excitement from all my customers in the shop really fills me with hope that it's completely worth all the hard work and it's only a matter of time before my little budding idea blossoms into what it's meant to be.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business? Other than VAT returns, share those tasks that you try to avoid at all costs & how you motivate yourself to get them done?
I love the social aspect of being in the shop; meeting so many other mums; exchanging toddler tales; offering some reassurance and understanding if they feel at their limit – as us mummy's so often do! My priority is to be a safe place that mums (and dads) want to hang out and feel they can relax and let off some steam while their child plays and explores all the treasures in the shop.
My biggest enemy is paperwork - Any and all paperwork! I'm trying to be as paper-free as I can be, mostly as a ploy to avoid paperwork. Sadly it is a necessary evil though, so with absolutely no motivation for it what-so-ever, I do occasionally just find myself getting it done.
How have you maximised the potential of working with babytodd & beyond and it’s members?
babytodd & beyond has been fundamental to the opening of the FairKind Child's shop! The success of the show in October 2017 was the catalyst that really spurred me on to look for a shop premises. And meeting so many other likeminded business owners at all the babytodd & beyond networking events was an inspiration. In fact most of the locally handmade children's products I sell in the shop are the work of babytodd & beyond members!
What plans do you have for your personal, family and business growth? How do you manage to get the balance right?
Personally, my aim is to get more sleep! I've so far sacrificed my sleep and sanity to get FairKind Child to where it is now. However I'm quickly running out of steam, so my new tactic is to go to bed at a more reasonable time... and maybe do less paperwork!
As a family we're trying to prioritise having one quality day all together every week, which is why I've made the decision to close the shop on Sundays as I was otherwise never completely out of work mode.
Business wise, my current focus is linking up with more children and parenting professionals (hopefully through babytodd & beyond) so I can launch more parenting services and activities for young families. It's important to me that FairKind Child is seen as more than a shop. I want to offer a complete support service to new and expectant parents if it's to really fulfil it's full potential.
What is your key goal for 2018?
Establish FairKind Child as the go to place for top quality handmade baby & children's goods, fun craft & play activities and the place to find out about all the fab services and groups available to parents and children in the area.
Find Fairkind Child on Facebook and Instagram