During this time (and always!) it is so important to support local and the small business in our communities. Plus it’s great for the economy too! We are constantly inspired by the ambition and resilience of small business founders. We feel that the risks that they take lead to innovation and help in moving the world forward.
Inspired by these entrepreneurs and their stories, we recently chatted with Jennifer Cartwright – owner of Oochykoo, about being an entrepreneur, running a small business while also running a family, and how she has adapted to the changes that Covid-19 has brought to her business.
What is your business about and why did you start it?
Oochykoo is a UAE based e-commerce business. Offering customized accessories for the IKEA Antilop high chair to fit your interior and enhance your little ones most important times of the day when they are getting fed and recharged for their daily adventures.
When I became mum of a beautiful daughter and when looking out for a highchair, my husband and I really liked the IKEA Antilop highchair as it actually had all we needed. It seemed to be very easy to clean and practical, it is basic but modern and very affordable. The only thing bugging us was the missing footrest and that there was only one cushion cover available which did not fit our interior. Getting inspiration online on how to pimp up your highchair I felt like I want to give it a go myself.
After a bit of trial and error, I had designed a neat little add-on footrest and had a few different options of cushion covers. I was starting to get very excited about my creations and a few mummy friends also liked the covers and footrest. They asked if I could make the same for them. I was getting really into it and the more I thought about it, the more passionate I became about creating baby products and seeing the happy Mummy faces with their little ones and my creations playing a little part in this.
What do you love about your business?
There are so many parts, but highlights are:
I love that Oochykoo started as my passion project. I’d never thought at the beginning I would make a business out of it one day.
I love that Oochykoo is playing a part in a very important stage of life when little people start exploring the amazing world of foods. Not just because I am a foodie, but also as I loved – and still do – seeing the behavior of our daughter every time she tastes something new. How amazing that our products can play a little part in these precious moments.
I love that we have products which do not only beautify the highchair but also have important benefits. Like our footrests, which help the baby to have better seating stability and posture to decrease the risk of choking and concentrating on the food, instead of the dangling feet.
And the very best I would say is getting all the lovely pictures from our customers. To actually see our little customers on their IKEA highchairs, “pimped up” with our products. We loved it so much that we even created a highlight on our Instagram with all of our little customers called the “Oochykoo Bub Club”.
How do you manage your time between running a business and a family?
Having a 15 months old daughter, I can’t really plan properly. Every day is different and I can only manage day by day or better to say hour by hour…
Usually, I wake up an hour earlier than everybody else in our house. I love this time as it is still quiet and I can plan the day with a good cup of coffee and already get some things on my “to do” list done.
As the day goes on, I try to make the best use of my time when my daughter is sleeping. My very best times to work however are the evenings, once my daughter is in bed 😉
Some days can be quite challenging when I had a short night the day before or when my daughter does not want to take her day time naps, haha 😉
It’s sometimes difficult “keeping all balls in the air” with so many things going on. However, I feel very blessed as I am my own boss and at the end, it’s up to myself how I plan my day.
How has Covid-19 affected your business and how have you adapted?
I actually launched in the middle of the pandemic. Oochykoo had a phenomenal start. I think my advantage was that people tended to beautify their homes in the lockdown months. Also, something like this was not existing in UAE yet. Let’s see what 2021 brings, we can’t wait to bring Oochykoo to the next step expanding our range with more products around the subject weaning.
Any piece of advice to other small businesses owners or anyone wanting to start their own business?
Don’t overthink it! It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to start! Just do it!
Find your “passion project” and then run with it. It can be quite overwhelming to start as there are so many things to think about. But really, just do it. Step by step, every day a little bit and you will realize very soon how you are already in the middle of it, selling your first products. Really, just do it!!
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