KIDLY is an online store selling design-led and genuinely useful things for 0-4s. Founder, James Hart fills in the detail.

KIDLY is a fabulous online store selling design-led and genuinely useful things for 0-4s, which stocks over 200 brands and its own range, KIDLY Label. The company recognises that parenting is already hard enough, so they have tried to make shopping for kids easier. The team tests every product with real families before they sell it, they have designed the site to be used one-handed (how clever is that?) and it's online to help customers fourteen hours a day, 365 days a year. We caught up with James Hart, founder of the online family lifestyle store and former director of ASOS, to find out more.

What was the inspiration for the company?
KIDLY exists to make shopping for your kids as enjoyable as shopping for yourself. Sounds simple I know, but, for me, that wasn't the case when I became a dad.

I love my clothes and my home and enjoy shopping for both. Though, when I became a dad, shopping for my kids was hard. The choice seemed to be big box boring retailers, or hard to find, understocked baby boutiques, neither of which really inspired me.

Having spent fifteen years working at ASOS and seeing it evolve into a one-stop-shop for fashion-lovers, I thought that something similar, a trusted edit of great quality things for kids, all in one place, wrapped up in an effortless experience would be just what I needed (and surely others too?)

When did you launch the site?
May 2016

What are your greatest challenges?
There are almost too many to list. But that’s OK because I love what I do and wholeheartedly believe in KIDLY. If I had to pick one thing, it would be customer experience. I want every single person who visits KIDLY to be delighted with every aspect. Everyday we’re working on ways to make things as effortless and enjoyable as possible; from looking at the products we sell, the usability of the website, the customer service we give and the emails we send. Not to mention everything else in between. It’s an almost impossible job, but I’ll die trying to please everyone, all the time!

I was the first employee at ASOS way back in 1999 and worked there for fifteen years. I’m a one company man (well, two now), but I like to think that from scrapping to get ASOS off the ground, to helping run (what was) a £1bn revenue retailer when I left, has given me the experience I’ll need to make KIDLY a success.

Who do you admire in business?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it would be ‘The Nicks’. Nick Robertson, the founder of ASOS and Nick Beighton, the current CEO. Between them they have grown revenue to over £2bn and remained profitable every single year since ASOS first turned a profit in 2004. They’ve also created a brand that’s stayed relevant in an incredibly competitive sector. It’s all through being restless, disciplined and customer focused. That, coupled with a clear vision which helps to maintain focus and foster the passion of their colleagues.

Please recommend a website and / or app that helps you promote or run your business or that you simply couldn't live without.
There are loads. I practically run the business from my phone these days. However, if I had to pick, it would be Slack for team communication and Intercom for customer comms. It’s always good to talk!

Do you have a favourite business podcast?
I like How I Built This for inspiring entrepreneur stories and the Jason & Scot Show for pure retail geeky-ness. The latter is a US-based podcast, so it’s insightful on bigger e-commerce and retail trends.

What is the best piece of digital advice you've been given in regards to your showcasing/running your business online?
It’s not specific to digital, but I stick to this myself and tell anyone around me who will listen. Always ‘Look through the customer’s eyes’ when making any decision. Or to put it another way, think ‘how would you feel if this were you?’. It’s so important to give the service you would expect to receive yourself.

What is your motto?
I have a poster on the wall above my desk that says Be Nice and I like to think I live and breathe it. There’s enough negativity and complexity in the world and it’s amazing how a little smile, simple ‘please’ or ‘thank you’, ‘good morning’ or just a hug can make you (both) feel great. Try it!

Where do you see the business going from here?
I’d like KIDLY to be the store of choice for anyone buying anything for a 0-4 year old. I’d like them to know that we’ll only ever stock great looking and well-made things, which have been pre-approved by parents. And the experience will be effortless from the website to their door. We’re on that journey, but have a long way to go - so it’s heads down to make it happen. Nothing too sexy in that reply, sorry!

Have you put your company forward for an award before?
No, this is our first award entry.

To enter our Awards, CLICK HERE.

September 2018