Kids’ artwork brand Belle & Boo a high street success

Kate Caines co-founded kids artwork brand Belle & Boo two years ago. Now the product is stocked in high street shops, with the likes of Jools Oliver and Claudia Schiffer both fans, proving that her business model is more than just child's play.

Where did you get the idea?

I was the marketing director of a design agency, but I’d always wanted my own business. I admired [my business partner] Mandy’s artwork and so approached her with the idea of starting out together. Our brand has been very successful as we now have a distributor in Australia and cards stocked in John Lewis and Paperchase.

How do you work together?

Really well. Mandy is the creative director and is constantly thinking of new ways to communicate the brand, whereas I work on the strategic side of the business and think about how we can make new products and the best ways to take them to market.

How do you market the business?

We did all our own PR to begin with. We put together a gift set, which we sent to various publishers. We also went to a lot of exhibits for SMEs and Mandy writes a blog, which has been a great way of getting people involved with the product. Now we also employ an agency to promote us.

How have you financed yourselves?

So far the business has been self-funded. Mandy and I have relied on our own savings and support from partners. Even when the business started to make a profit, we took a minimal amount for ourselves.

Where next?

In January we will be launching clothing and homeware ranges. But we will need additional funding to take it to the next level and are in the process of talking to investors. Instead of making 500 cushions at a time, I’d like to be in the position where we are making 5,000 next year.

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