This is the first of three video interviews I did for Wetalkbusiness. In this one, I’m talking about what inspired me to set up my company Mimimyne.
|Tabitha in Spitalfields Market with her award for Greenest Trader 2011|
I had some wonderful news this year when I found out I had won an Award for Greenest Trader 2011 given by the National Market Traders Federation, the oldest trade body in the UK for market stallholders. I regularly run a stall at the famous Old Spitalfields Market on Sundays – it’s where the old fruit and vegetable market used to be, and I remember visiting it in those days when I was growing up in Spitalfields in the early 80’s. It’s a wonderful market to trade in as well nowadays as it’s enclosed, bright and spacious, has very enticing food stalls and restaurants and lots of exciting events and activities going on. The other stallholders are great fun and sell all kinds of interesting products, especially handicrafts, jewellery and clothing. I won the Award because of the nature of the products I sell and the fact that I transport my goods by bicycle – no carbon emissions there! I wasn’t able to go to the Awards Ceremony so the award judges were kind enough to visit my stall and present it to me in person this December: thanks again to the NMTF for doing that!
I have a Facebook Business Page for Mimimyne and am often looking for ways to improve it. I am a little behind at the moment as the change from FBML to iFrames means I will have to learn a new set of techniques which I haven’t yet found time to do. However, one thing I did want to do recently was run competitions for Mimimyne’s fans in a way that was consistent with Facebook’s competition rules. I found a great article by Mari Smith explaining Facebook’s promotions rules a little more simply which is a great starting point. Essentially Facebook do not want you to run competitions through Facebook via interactions with fans on Facebook – for example, they do not want you to offer prizes to fans for Liking your page, or contact competition winners via Facebook. This makes life that little bit more complicated for business owners with Pages on Facebook… sigh. So I went looking for an app that would allow me run competitions on Facebook without breaking their rules and found EasyPromos. This is free for the first use so I tried it out to see how well it works.
EasyPromos is a little tricky to install on your Page and it could do with more detailed instructions but once I had installed it it was quite intuitive to use. You set up a Promotion as a Draft and add an image, terms and conditions and a start and end date. The Promos page is also added as a tab to your Page. It works quite nicely in that it is easy to promote the page on your Wall so that existing fans will find it easily. You can ask for email addresses and images from competition entrants so that it is easy to contact them and choose what information will be displayed on the competition screen. I ran the competion and found that I quickly gained 43 new fans in a couple of weeks which was a great result for me. You can also display coupons to reward fans and set the Promos tab as a default landing page for visitors. Promos does seem quite a robust and flexible solution for small businesses although once you have run the first competition following competitions will cost $15 each. However, it will give business owners peace of mind knowing they are not breaking Facebook’s promotion guidelines and it does look professional.
I just wanted to share with you the exciting news that Mimimyne has just been chosen along with five other companies to be retweeted by Theo Paphitis as part of his “Small Business Sunday” competition. Theo Paphitis the legendary retail Dragon needs, I’m sure, no introduction but “Small Business Sunday” may not be known to everyone. To support small business in the UK, Theo asks small businesses to tweet @TheoPaphitis every Sunday between 5pm and 7.30[, with the special #SBS hashtag somewhere in the tweet. Although this sounds as though it should be easy, it’s actually trickier than you’d think to remember to send a tweet at a certain time once a week, and on several occasions I’d actually tweeted too early and missed the slot, or left it too late, and ended up kicking myself on Monday. Anyway, last Sunday night I sent a Small Business Sunday tweet, but as I had an old friend coming round for dinner I turned my mobile off and didn’t look at my computer (I’ve learned my lesson now! Never turn off Twitter!). Anyway, to cut a long story short I woke up to lots of wonderful messages on my Twitter page from other people who’d seen his #SBS tweet and I am absolutely thrilled to have won and would like to thank Theo Paphitis for doing so much to support small businesses like mine and those of the five other winners. I’ve already seen some amazing results – doubling of visits to my home page and a five-fold increase in visits to my blog! So thanks again to Theo Paphitis and Small Business Sunday.
I was nominated for Best Online Business at the Mumpreneur Conference and Awards 2010 and although I didn’t win, it was afantastic event as always with a lot of my favourite speakers, including Alison Rothwell of SEO Training Club, there to motivate, inform and inspire the audience of businesswomen. I went to two seminars, one ‘break-out session’ on SEO and listened to two motivational speakers. More info and links coming soon, meanwhile there’s an interview with me below by Family Friendly Working which talks about what I most enjoyed at the conference.
I just wanted to share with you the great news that my online eco store, Mimimyne has reached the finals for three national awards! On Wednesday 11th August I will find out where I have reached in the Finals for the Make Your Mark in the Markets Awards run by Enterprise UK. The prize is a year’s free trading at my local market.
I have also just found out that I made it to the Finals in the Babyworld Parentpreneur Category in the 2010 Remote Worker Awards run by Paula Wynne. The awards ceremony for this is at the Grand Connaught Rooms, 61-65 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5DA on the 1st September and I will also have a stand giving away some Mimimyne Smartbags at the event.
I’ve also been chosen as a Finalist for The Best Online Business Award, sponsored by Create.net, at The Mumpreneur Awards 2010. There were 302 entrants for this so I am very pleased to have made it through to the final 6, as you can imagine! The Awards ceremony is at the Mumpreneur Conference 2010 on September the 18th.
It’s a massive recognition for the business and a huge confidence booster for me to have got this far. I started Mimimyne only two years ago and have run it single handedly most of that time. It’s certainly been tough at times, so it’s wonderful to have this recognition. I hope the facts that I always put my customers first, have a fantastic range of designers working with me and have worked hard to create an ethical business that also celebrates great design for children will help me to win one of these awards!
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (20th of February 2010)
TABITHA POTTS OF MIMIMYNE SHORTLISTED AS A LEADING WOMAN IN HER FIELD
Although women-owned businesses are on the increase there still aren’t enough female role models, is the claim of the leading women’s organisation, Women on Their Way.
Most people still think that the majority of businesses are run by men due to the stereotypical images that we see all around us. That’s why Tabitha Potts is delighted to be short-listed for the prestigious National Women on Their Way Awards 2010 in the Online Business Award category.
Women are equally qualified to run businesses as men but also need more opportunities to connect and do business together.
The competition this year has been particularly tough so it’s a huge honour for Tabitha Potts to be short-listed. Tabitha is a mother of two very interested in the environment and good design. When she started looking online for products for her children and realised that there were not many websites aimed at families which combined a strong design ethos and environmental awareness, she came up with the idea of creating an online shop to do just that. She started her company Mimimyne, showcasing the best in UK and European eco design for kids, in September 2008, and it has been expanding its range and developing a loyal customer base ever since. Tabitha has run the business single-handed while caring full-time for her two sons (aged 7 and 5) and doing a part time job alongside it.
Since her company started trading, Tabitha has been a Runner-up for the Mum-Entrepreneur of the Year 2009 and a Finalist in the Archant Environmental Awards and the Thames Business Gateway Awards. She has been featured in the Daily Express and the Sunday Times Business section as well as in various well-regarded design blogs. She has presented a session on selling online at the Everywoman conference (www.everywoman.com) and also runs a regular ‘Mumpreneurs Meetup’ for fellow entrepreneurs in East London which is sponsored by BT Tradespace. One of the products she helps to promote, the Splat Chair by Spinifex, has been exhibited in the V&A Museum of Childhood!
There are four short-listed candidates for each award and the winner will be announced on Friday 19th March at the Women on Their Way Annual Awards Lunch taking place at Aston Villa Football Club, Birmingham from 11.00 to 15.00.
The awards event is in its second year and aims to connect women through the UK, to inspire and to increase their self belief.
The Women on Their Way Awards is the brainchild of former Apprentice Candidate Jo Cameron and her Co-Director Lisa Ibbotson.
Jo Cameron added “we are delighted that Tabitha Potts has been shortlisted. There are so many amazing women in the UK who don’t always recognise the impact they have made and it is my absolute privilege to be inspired by so many incredible women. We are very much looking forward to announcing the winners in a few weeks time”
This year the judges include Gill Fielding and Caroline Marsh of TV’s Secret Millionaire and other esteemed women from both the public and private sectors. They will be judging the shortlisted candidates over the coming weeks.
There are twelve awards this year including Start Up and High Growth Businesses, Online Business, Woman in Finance, Law, Transportation, Construction/Engineering, Woman in The Community, Public office, The outstanding contribution to Women’s Learning and Development, Young Woman in Business, Outstanding New Product and Woman’s Advocate. This year the coveted prize for the overall Woman on her Way is a weekend away for two included flights and accommodation to Milan.
Tickets are priced £65+VAT each or £600 +VAT for a table of ten places. With up to 500 guests it provides opportunities for networking and to meet other leading and aspiring women.
Last year’s winner of the Legal Award, Laura Kearesley added ““I was thrilled to win the Women in Law award last year; it was a real honour. It was a fabulous day, where I made some really good contacts. Since winning the award and the subsequent publicity I have also been approached by other potential business partners, so it has been really positive for me personally and for business!”
– ENDS –
Press Contact for Tabitha Potts/Mimimyne
Tabitha Potts, Director (Me Me Mine Ltd trading as Mimimyne)
Phone 0208 133 0961
Email [email protected]
For more information on the Women on Their Way Awards please contact Women on Their Way press office + 44 (0) 870 2626 555 or email [email protected] or call Lisa Ibbotson on Tel: 07968 368630 email [email protected]
Photo of Tabitha Potts courtesy of Ian Billinghurst
Splat Chair by Spinifex (available at Mimimyne) will feature in the Sit Down exhibition at the V&A Museum of Childhood
Seating for Kids
V&A Museum of Childhood
6 February – 5 September 2010
When is a seat not just for sitting on? When it’s a plaything, for eating, for transport or for a quick snooze. Sit Down: Seating for Kids, the V&A Museum of Childhood’s next big exhibition on design for kids, will explore the vast array of seating used by children in their everyday lives. Taking the children’s classic tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears as a starting point, the exhibition will invite the visitor, as Goldilocks did, to consider what makes a successful seat. Is it comfort? Is it style? Is it ease of use?
Sit Down will delve into the world of children’s seating with classic and more unusual examples. After centuries of traditional seating forms following accepted design conventions, the 20th century witnessed an explosion of creative solutions to the idea of seating, including those for children. This exploration of new forms, materials, and production methods, as well as technological developments, resulted in more colourful and innovative seating designs for children. Designs by Charles Eames, Vitra and El Ultimo Grito will be on display, as well as the Modernist high chair by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld and Spotty, a 1960s paper chair designed by Peter Murdoch.
The exhibition will use the term ‘seating’ in its broadest sense, encompassing a wide range of functional and playful objects designed to be used primarily for sitting upon. This will include chairs, benches, sofas, bean bags, ride-on toys, potties, highchairs and play equipment.
Sit Down will be set out in three main sections, each asking a question for visitors to consider: What is a seat? Who is the seat for? and How is a seat made? The first room, entered through a large, medium or small doorway, recreates the feel of the Three Bears’ cottage, with an interactive dinner table where visitors can vote for their favourite chair by placing a coloured spoon in different porridge bowls. Different examples of kids’ seating will be on display.
In the next room, the exhibition looks at how seating has been adapted for wellbeing, learning, play, resting and transport, again with the objects on open display. Visitors will see how these objects have developed and modernised over time, in particular developmental furniture such as highchairs and potties, where safety and hygiene have influenced new designs. Here visitors will be able to try out different seat types to work out their function and match the seats to the different room settings that will be illustrated on the exhibition wall. The exhibition closes with a timeline from 1600 to the eco-friendly designs of the present day and the opportunity for visitors to build their own seat.
Changes in the notion of ‘childhood’ have effected design for children throughout history. The exhibition will draw from the Museum of Childhood collection of furniture as well as selected loans to explore the range of seating made for or used by children. Issues including social context, how and why styles have changed and the growing popularity of designer seating specifically created to meet children’s needs are also considered.
The exhibition experience will be engaging and multi-sensory with images and hands-on activities and interpretation for a family audience. In addition, a group of students from Bucks New University’s Furniture Design course will look at how best to reinvent the school chair, which has barely changed from its Robin Day-inspired design. And Ercol’s school chair arch, unveiled for the London Design Fair, will be on display in the Museum’s central hall.
Musical Chairs Marathon – Saturday 6 February
How quick can you sit? Celebrate the opening of Sit Down with a hilarious musical chair challenge. In the afternoon, design a miniature chair to take home.
Sit on it! February half-term activities – Monday 15-Friday 19 February
Enjoy stories, trails and crafts about Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Plus Three Bears Storytrail
Who’s been sitting in my chair? Search for clues in a Three Bears Storytrail for a chance to win a goody bag. Make a bear mask and bear chair in a free, fun, drop-in arts session.
Notes to editors
The exhibition has been designed by architects Wells Mackereth. www.wellsmackereth.com
Sit Down: Seating for Kids opens on Saturday 6 February and closes on Sunday 13 June 2010. Admission to the exhibition is FREE. V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA. Admission to the Museum is free. Nearest tube: Bethnal Green. Open daily: 10.00 – 17.45, last admission 17.30. Switchboard: 020 8983 5200 Website: www.museumofchildhood.org.uk
The V&A Museum of Childhood aims to encourage everyone to explore the themes of childhood past and present and develop an appreciation of creative design through its inspirational collections and programmes. The Museum is part of the V&A, housing the national childhood collection. The galleries are designed to show the collections in a way which is accessible to adults and children of all ages.
For further PRESS information or images please contact Rebecca Ward on 020 7613 3306 or email [email protected].
Image below provided by Mimimyne
Mimimyne is one of the Finalists for the Green Business award (part of the Thames Gateway Business Awards)!
The awards are given to SME’s who are based or operating in the South East London, East London, Essex and Kent area. I’m excited to be in the running for this award, can’t wait till the 6th November!