Me and Sylvain Rabbit on holiday in France
Cottontails Baby began life in 2003 when I opened a small high street shop selling baby things. And to this day I don't quite know why I did it.
On almost every baby products website around, there is an 'about us' story which goes something like "I had my little girl and couldn't find the things I was looking for so I decided to open my own shop..." but my story is nothing like that. At 29 years old my 'career' had stalled, and I didn't know what to do. I had no children of my own but a fair amount of retail experience and a general restlessness and drive to create a business of my own. I have always loved 'little things', children's books, old fashioned toys... and after a bit of business planning, with a thousand pounds of savings and a bank loan, Cottontails the baby shop was born.
Our high street shop, 2003-2009
In 2005 I developed a website to complement the shop, and within a year or two the website had taken over and become the main part of the business.
For several years, and with a lot of help from my mother, I ran the shop and website side by side, then in 2009 took the leap out of bricks and mortar and firmly into the online world - I closed the shop, moved over to Bishops Frome in Herefordshire and set about working from home, running Cottontails Baby as you see it today.
The home office 2009-2012
I work alone - well, with the 'help' of the office rabbit Rudolph - and have recently moved out of a home office and into a proper workshop on a converted farm. Rudolph hangs out under the desk (I like to call him my floor manager!) and he helps out a lot with 'marketing' - frequently starring on our Facebook and Twitter pages. But the rest is down to me - everything from buying and finance, to parcel packing, PR and tea making.
Our current office space, on a converted farm
In August 2013 Cottontails was 10 years old, and I am quietly proud of having nurtured the business through some pretty testing times, economically and personally. I'm 39 now and still don't have children of my own - so Cottontails is a huge part of my life. I work hard to create a 'Cottontails experience', to bring my toys to life with little stories, photos and films, and to make shopping at Cottontails a charming and quirky experience.
I hope you will smile as you wander through the website, browsing products and delving into my little corner of the online world.