Harriet Jones, the founder of the boutique accessory brand for kids, talks to us about her business journey.

Rockahula Kids is a boutique accessory brand for children that strives to be different; it's the place where you'll find gorgeous accessories that appeal to both kids and parents alike. The range for girls and boys includes hair accessories, jewellery, bags, purses, and seasonal products such as sunglasses and winter hats and scarves.

Founder, Harriet Jones launched her children’s boutique accessory brand in 2013. This year, the brand celebrates its fifth birthday and recently launched in the US. Here, she looks back at her business journey.

I came up with the idea when… I was running the kids' department at a big international retailer – it was here that I discovered that working with children’s products was my perfect fit! After having my first child, I couldn’t find a balance that enabled me to look after my little boy and also go back to work. I had always had a dream to one day run my own business, where I could really have creative control, and I had also spotted that there was a perfect space in the market for an independent kids accessory brand that was design led – so after having one more baby boy I decided to take the leap and set up Rockahula Kids!

The biggest challenge is… Wearing so many hats – as the owner of a small business I have to be involved in everything from stock management to product design. It can be hard to switch your brain from one thing to the next as quickly as is necessary and still maintain focus.

The average day is spent… There really is no average day – I’ll always catch up on sales and whether we have any new stockists first thing, and then it depends at what stage in the season we are at. I can be doing anything from designing the next collection to organising photoshoots to analysing this week's sales figures. Never a dull moment!

The team consists of... Myself and two others who help with administration and day to day enquiries.

Our/my favourite quote… I don’t have a favourite quote, but I firmly believe that treating people fairly and with kindness will open doors and save many a sleepless night – doing the wrong thing is never a happy route to success.

I am where I am today because of… Both of my parents were self-employed, and although I didn’t realise it at the time, it left me with a very open view of what work could be, and a sense that it was quite a normal thing to start your own business.

I am who I am because of.... My Mum – for giving me my first job in her shop as a teenager that led to my love of retail, and also a very tenacious streak that has served me well.

The best advice I've been given... It’s a cliché, but to employ people who are better than you at what they do – there are many areas where I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination and for those tasks it is much better to employ someone who actually knows what they are doing rather than believe you can cover everything yourself.

In five years I’d like to be… We set ourselves the target this year of reducing single use plastic in the business to 95% plastic free – we are well on the way to that and in five years time I would like to have done even better. I would also like to be having one day off a week by then for sanity!

The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business online... To scale up you need to get your systems in place – it’s not just about having a transactional site and leaving it at that. There’s a lot more to it.

The websites I most frequently use are... I go to Smudgetikka and Little Spree for industry inspiration and websites such as StartupNation that are useful for business advice.

Our biggest mistake and what it taught us… Our first warehouse was a total disaster – we lost huge amounts of stock with no explanation of where it had gone, orders were going out to the wrong addresses, it was chaos and at the time seemed like an impossible tangle to try and sort out. It taught me that it pays to invest in partners who will share your vision.

What apps do you use to be more productive... I use Buffer for scheduling social media, and WeChat for keeping in touch with our suppliers on the go.

The most rewarding experience we’ve had to date… Reaching our fifth birthday milestone and that feels fantastic – it’s nice to stop and think how far we’ve come.

August 2018