Celebrating 10 years with our Founder Jacqueline!
To celebrate this monumental occasion, we have caught up with founder Jacqueline to discuss the highs, lows and hopes for the next 10 years.
Do also be sure to keep an eye out on our social media and email newsletter over the next few weeks as we have some very exciting events happening to celebrate this fabulous occasion!
What has been the top highlights of the last 10 years?
There have been many over the years but definitely one of the biggest moments was when the business was big enough to move to Devon (from Manchester) and employ a team. There is also nothing like gaining coverage in huge publications like Sunday Times, The Telegraph and National Geographic, as well as seeing celebrities like Chris Hemsworth and Zara Phillips carrying a PacaPod on their arm. This really gave me the feeling that PacaPod had become a ‘high street’ brand that lots of people knew about.
In terms of the sales side, being represented in 15 international countries really stands out for me, and also knowing that we are one of the best sellers in John Lewis has got to be a highlight.
I would say most of the really hard challenges occurred very early on. PacaPod forged a new gap in the market that didn’t really exist at the time, in terms of the product being so much more than just a bag with the 3 in 1 organisation system. It was when we came to work with one very big retailer and we realised that the Feeder Pod had to be tested to a much higher standard than it was. This resulted in production being delayed for six months, but now means that every Feeder Pod is tested to the exact same standard as a dummy.
Another big challenge for me would be when the business was growing at a phenomenal rate, and I was at home breastfeeding my second daughter. I was taking Customer Service calls and juggling all elements of the business, whilst also being a mum to my two girls.
One of the most important things for me was having an understanding partner, who was also self employed, which meant that we could share and juggle the childcare. Throughout, I have never lost site of the fact that my children’s needs come first so when I am with them I always try to make sure that I put my phone down and focus solely on them. Once they are in bed, I then pick it up again and work right into the evening if necessary.
They have also always understood that any trips I take allow me to be able to spend more time with them at other times – the pay off of travel is being able to pick them up from school and then spend the evening with them. Ultimately, whatever you do, try not to feel guilty about the time spent at work versus the time spent with your children.
If you had to sum up the last 10 years in 3 words what would it be?
Rollercoaster, Adventure and Journey!
How has the business changed in the last 10 years?
The only part of the business that has really changed is the growth. More profit means more staff, which in turn has enabled us to be more professional. This has then also given us the ability to go international.
The PacaPod Team on a walk in Croyde, North Devon
Whatever you think you will achieve in 12 months, half it as this is what the reality will be. Always aim high and be ambitious because you’re likely to only achieve half of it.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own business?
Research, research, research – particularly before you commit financially! Your idea will change over time as you talk to others, so do seek out help and advice.
The first country was Spain and this happened in 2010!
How have you coped with growing your team?
By trusting my instincts on people and not taking a wildcard! I have learnt personally about how best to manage my staff and have really found things like personality profiling helpful. It allows you to understand someone better and get to know everyone’s strengths – knowing this then helps you to give them the right opportunities.
PacaPod was my plan B! Plan A was actually to write about the 18 month cycle tour that I completed. I sent out letters to 100 publishers, and from this I had 2 that were really interested. However, after a while I soon realised that this wasn’t going to provide me with an income to support my children.
With my background being design, I’m constantly getting new ideas. I’m really excited about some new product innovations, and will always keep pushing the boundaries of what makes customers lives easier as they and their children mature.