Claire Harper, formerly marketing director at Mamas & Papas, and Lee Williams, who has held finance roles at Comet, Woolworths and Tesco, have launched an online store selling childrenswear.
In a blog post, Harper, who also worked at Sainsbury’s and Ocado, says the new site, IndiaCoco, was about following her dream, “After 15 years in the retail industry, working for some fantastic brands and with some amazing and inspirational colleagues, I decided to leave corporate life in 2011.”
The website is named after the couple’s two daughters and stocks brands including Ilovegorgeous and Frugi. Harper recalls, “Our first daughter, Coco, was born in 2008, and like many mums I went skipping back to full-time work after just three months, trying to balance my demanding role whilst enjoying being a first-time mummy. The arrival of our second daughter, India, last July was a catalyst for change—having a second child and taking some time out made me reassess my priorities, and I knew I had to make some big life changes.
Like many entrepreneurs the business was created in response to a need, or a gap in the market. Harper found that as a new mum she struggled to find an online store that sold the quality clothing she sought, coupled with great customer service. She also wanted to build a site that became “home” to British design talent and could nurture up-and-coming British childrenswear brands.
The founders say they have ambitious plans for growth, with both an online and offline presence planned for the business. Initially launching online, the first IndiaCoco store will open during 2013 and roll out across the UK in “community-based” locations.
IndiaCoco is using social media, PR and email marketing as key channels to drive brand awareness and Harper isn’t ruling out print marketing in future. She told Direct Commerce “[we] will consider it as our business grows but at this stage in our launch plans we have not made it a marketing priority”.
Harper’s strategy is to keep the business focused and do the important things well, “I have worked for so many brands where priorities change by the day; there is no vision and the culture is one of close-mindedness.” Instead, IndiaCoco has a clear idea of what it wants to achieve: “selling the best in original, hand-picked British children’s clothes, offering the very best in quality and value, whilst going the extra mile to deliver exceptional customer service and an inspiring, fun shopping experience.”
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