After 9 years as an Officer in the Armed Forces (RAF), Hannah Saunders decided to leave and set up her own adventure skin care business. Operating from the Business Wales’ Wrexham Enterprise Hub, Toddle now makes products for families who love the outdoors and want to protect and nourish their little adventurers.
Toddle launched in 2018 and now employs 2 members of staff.
What they did
“I was very adventurous before having my son, and just because I had a baby, this didn’t mean I suddenly wanted to stay in. I wanted to keep ticking items off my bucket list and I wanted to take my son on these adventures with me. However, he could get terribly chapped lips, especially in the British winter.
So, I started looking around and couldn’t find anything on the market for him. The lip balms I tried couldn’t get through the dribble. I also struggled to find any for his age (i.e. under 3s). I then decided to make my own, in my kitchen, using natural ingredients such as coconut oil, jojoba oil and beeswax. After much tinkering, I finally found a recipe that worked!” – Hannah Saunders, founder of Toddle.
As an armed forces veteran, Hannah was able to secure support with her business plan and a start-up loan through X-Forces. She was successful in securing an investment (£200,000) and launched the business from the Business Wales’ Wrexham Enterprise Hub.
Hannah has already carried out successful pitches with Boots and is currently in talks with Waitrose, John Lewis and Tesco.
What would they do differently
"I wouldn’t have spent so much time planning and designing, I would have also found manufacturers earlier – I feel like time was wasted in the wrong areas."
Their proudest moment in business
“My proudest moment is winning ‘Pitch It Wales’, organised by Be the Spark, and securing a £50,000 investment along with the mentoring of a wonderful consortium of investors called Inspire Wales (including Hayley Parsons, the Founder of GoCompare).
Describe the type of support (financial / non-financial) they’ve received from Business Wales / Welsh Government
Toddle’s successful launch was supported by the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service, whose advisers assisted with business planning, sourcing finance and workshops, including Superfast Business Wales courses on digital marketing.
Additionally, an export adviser, Keith Stringer, helped Hannah to explore opportunities to start trading internationally and tap into markets in the EU, USA and Australia.
Toddle are now part of the Accelerated Growth Programme, who are assisting with a PR work package. Hannah has also used Angels Invest Wales through the Development Bank of Wales, which has helped her secure £150,000 of further investment.
Here are Toddle’s top tips for anyone else looking to start or grow their own business:
- if you need to eat the toad, eat it for breakfast (if you have something rubbish to do, get it done first thing, so the rest of your day gets better)
- hire someone to do the stuff you’re not that good at...don’t waste time trying to sort a website, for example, direct your efforts where they’ll be best spent
- if a task is hard, just start the first bit of it. if you need to write a difficult email or file a tax return, literally start with the first sentence or the first week of the tax year