Entrepreneurial best friends Jonny and Daniel came up with the concept for My 1st Years when a friend of theirs had a baby girl and they were stumped for the perfect gift. A bit of creativity later and baby Lara was the proud owner of some personalised shoes – and a business was born. We caught up with MD Daniel Price to find out more.
SM: What was your background before setting up My 1st Years?
Daniel Price:I was always interested in running my own business, even at school I was selling Diet Cokes in the playground for a profit! At secondary school I did a business studies course where we bought clothes and sold them at a profit so I guess that was the beginning of my interest in selling clothes. By the time I was 18 I realised that I wanted to be my own boss and run a business and I was always thinking of new ideas for businesses that had a unique selling point, particularly in the clothing sector. I then studied at Leeds Business School, where I continued to buy and sell clothing to students, for 3 years which was a way of gaining knowledge and honing my skills to ensure that I could achieve my ambitions. During my time at University, I also managed 4 weekly events for students. This was a success and I then started to look over the events in Manchester and Newcastle too. In January 2009 I had the idea of My 1st Years after I struggling in vain to find an interesting, personalised gift for my baby cousin. After this I contacted my friend Jonny Sitton (who I had bought and sold the clothes with at university) and we started to research the market in personalised children’s gifts and realised that there was a gap in the market for this.
SM: Which are your bestselling products?
Daniel Price:As the brand started with the ‘My 1st Shoes’ concept our personalised range of High top trainers and sheepskin booties sell extremely well and we are proud that our core hero product is enjoying so much success, which we believe is a tribute the unique concept. Our personalised hooded towels are also extremely popular and our now extensive range of personalised blankets, which range from cashmere to cable knit.
SM: And which products do your own family like best?
Daniel Price:My family love the high top trainers as these were the original product we started the company with, and the range as grown so fast.
SM: What are your biggest challenges running the business?
Daniel Price:Growing pains. Growing the business is always a challenge as it requires a lot of cash investment to grow a brand and ensure that everything is up to a high standard and in keeping with the company’s mission statement. Managing teams is always a challenge as you tend to come across an array of people with different skills and talents and motivating and nurturing these key members of staff is vital for us, after all a company is only as good as its work force.
SM: And what has been your proudest moment?
Daniel Price:My proudest moment was getting into Selfridges and seeing the My 1st Years range in the store I have loved and admired for so many years! This was an amazing feeling, we really felt like we had ‘arrived’.
Got a Dad who is one in a million and need some soppy inspiration? We love My 1st Years online boutique for its selection of ‘not too tacky, just the right amount of icky…’ sentimental gifts…
Our pick of the site…
Daddy and Baby Boo matching bathrobes – these come in a choice of colours, monograms or personalisation. We say: channel your man’s inner Jay Z, pretend you’re in a hotel bathroom and for chrissakes take a selfie and share it with the internet 😉