Sophia Procter was communications manager at British Airways for just about a decade, functioning the airline’s shopper PR together with work on the London 2012 Olympic Game titles. Shortly following the now-43-year-outdated returned from maternity depart in 2017, a company reshuffle noticed Procter face redundancy. Having just invented a kids’ plate with a participate in track all around the edge to entice her fussy son to try to eat a lot more, she made a decision to use her redundancy package deal from BA to start off a small business of her possess.
“I arrived up with the concept for Munchy Enjoy soon after a lengthy day at get the job done. I had just picked my son up from nursery, and experienced ‘mum guilt’ for not expending time with him, so tried out to make it up by cooking a nourishing meal. Besides, like many 18-thirty day period-olds, he experienced lost all desire in mealtimes. This certain working day I’d designed him a curry from scratch, but he refused to occur to the desk. I realised he was possessing way too significantly pleasurable with his toys and the dinner table was dull. So, I grabbed the trains and monitor he was playing with, and set it all-around his plate. In that moment everything modified. He not only arrived to the desk, but sat there and ate. That was my lightbulb instant.
“When I took redundancy in 2017, I went straight into creating Munchy Enjoy, although freelancing to support fund it. When I looked at what was included in launching a new item — from intellectual assets rights, to getting metal machinery — I realised it was a sizeable sum. I invested all of my redundancy and some of my particular personal savings to get it off the floor — about £50,000.
“Having a fantastic thought is 1 thing, and bringing it to lifetime is rather an additional. The very first factor I did was thanks diligence — plenty and loads of research checking the thought didn’t exist, ahead of shielding it with design and style rights and intellectual residence. Upcoming, I approached trade bodies to locate a British company: even if it charge more, I considered that mom and dad believe in British products and solutions, I would not have the fear of source chain problems, and I was eager to spend in our economy.
“Once I identified the ideal manufacturer, they advised me I’d will need CAD layouts from which the metal machinery would be produced, so I designed a prototype and took it to the streets of London, thrusting it into parents’ fingers for suggestions! Naively, I imagined I’d have it done in less than a year. But as I was producing a blueprint from scratch, there was a ton of back again and forth, screening and failure. It took three years to make it take place. Together the way nevertheless, l was spurred on by some wonderful persons. I obtained mentorship from Innovate United kingdom and the ‘Inventor in Residence’ at the British Library.
“I was lastly ready to launch — with a handful of thousand plates all set to ship — in March 2020. Very well, we all know what occurred following. I experienced no choice but to press pause on the launch. I continued freelancing, supporting smaller firms with crisis PR. Then, all over May, I realised that there was an chance listed here. Mothers and fathers like me have been trapped at household, fatigued from house schooling and childcare, searching for any kind of light-weight reduction – particularly if it could be delivered to their door. So I made a decision to overhaul the business plan to focus on advertising online, and released Munchy Play in June 2020.
“Launching in the middle of a worldwide pandemic was undoubtedly not simple – but I took comprehensive edge of all the assist out there. Amazon and Enterprise Country experienced launched programmes to enable commence-ups, which I joined. This received me on BBC Breakfast news! Joe Wicks’ office utilized to be near mine, so I dropped off some plates for his children, and a few weeks later he employed them on his Instagram account.
“When we won ‘Small Enterprise Sunday’ an initiative hosted by [entrepreneur] Theo Paphitis to assistance little companies, our social media went into overdrive and it gave us credibility also. Six months right after launching, I approached Mattel as a licence spouse, and we have been operating with each other ever considering the fact that. Launching the Thomas & Friends™ assortment very last 12 months was a major second.
“We’ve now offered 10,000 plates. The subsequent milestone is acquiring into Substantial Street retail. Clients preserve inquiring us when we will be in John Lewis, Smyths Toys, Argos, Hamleys, Ocado and even on QVC. I would truly like to see that occur. We’re launching a new automobile plate variety and expanding into global marketplaces — specially United states — is a thing I’d like to glance at as our company grows, potentially with the assistance of traders in the foreseeable future.
“Taking redundancy was a hard alternative, having said that it was the suitable 1. It enabled me to start an award-successful item and gave me the liberty to function flexibly, one thing I’m grateful for as a mom.”