Bairnz Boutique started in May 2013 when myself (Lorraine McRobert) and my business partner and lifelong friend Tracy Dunlop, reached a cross road in our life. We both have 2 children, our boys (now aged 5 and 6) and our girls (2 and 4 years). Having worked in administration jobs straight from school, and after having our children we realised that we wanted and needed something more.
While shopping for our own girls clothes we had noticed a gap in the market. We discovered that there was not a lot of clothing that was that little bit different, but in a price bracket we could afford. Like a lot of families our household incomes were stretched to their limits but we didn’t want to sacrifice on quality and style. So after months of talking over cups of tea while our kids had playdates, we made the life changing decision to start our own business and took on the challenge of solving this problem.
With a very small cash pot we bought our very first batch of stock, decided on the name for the business, opened a Facebook business page and started trading. We spread the word through family and friends and used social media as our marketing tool to reach our customers. While doing all this Tracy was still in part time work and I was on a career break from my own part time position whilst caring for my son, who has Down syndrome and had to have major chest surgery at this time.
Having our own business meant that we could work our hours around our families and provides us with the perfect work life balance. As our customer base grew so did our confidence in our business and knew we wanted to make this a success.
We started to source reliable suppliers who would deliver the quality that we as mums ourselves expect but at an affordable price. Bairnz Boutique is quality girls’ clothing not available on the high street. Our main age group is 2-7 years but we have ranges available to order from 3 months to 12 years. By keeping our overheads to a minimum we are able to keep our costs down with our most expensive item retailing at only £30. Our style is traditional with a modern twist, whatever the item we always have the same message that we want to keep children as children. From shorts to party dresses they all have a lovely girly feel whether it be soft floral patterns or sparkling diamantes.
Our route to market is now social selling; we take our boutiques to our customers. Like personal shopping this provides a relaxing and stress free shopping experience. No hassle of tantrums half way round the shops, we have all been there when a certain little person refuses to move!
However we don’t just pop up in homes we pop up anywhere, from toddler groups to events and complementary businesses.
As well as our Pop up Boutiques we continue to sell through our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/bairnzboutique and our website www.bairnzboutique.co.uk where you will find our own little girls modelling our ranges.
We have been overwhelmed by the response from our customers and the feedback has been amazing. To help take our business to the next level we applied to Entrepreneurial Spark, a 5 month accelerator for start-ups and in February 2014 we were accepted into the programme. At this point we made the massive decision to leave our part time positions and focus solely on Bairnz Boutique.
The whole experience has helped us develop as a business and we are now at a stage where we can begin to grow. In the weeks ahead we are aiming to recruit agents on a commission basis to take our boutiques across the UK. Not bad for 2 mums still juggling the kids and the household chores!
We are so proud of how far we have come in such a short time and we couldn’t have done it without the continued support from our customers. A pinnacle point for us was having our occasion dresses at the Loch Lomond Wedding Exhibition, to see the little models strutting down the catwalk with our dresses shimmering in the light was fantastic feeling.
We are excited about the next year and hopefully you will see our Boutiques popping up near you soon.
We live and breathe Bairnz Boutique we don’t sell anything we wouldn’t put on our own children and our customers know this.