I invited Jamie Paterson, the founder of Zac and Mo on YHP to tell us more about how the idea came about and his journey since starting the business. The Surrey based company specialises in outdoor and activity gear for kids offering year-round clothing and equipment for swimming, cycling, skiing, snowboarding and outdoor play.
Hi Jamie, Thanks for doing this. How are you doing today?
Very good thanks. How are you?
I'm fine Jamie, thanks for asking.
Can you give us some background information about yourself?
After college I worked at John Lewis as a management trainee and found I really enjoyed retail. I went on to study economics and worked in economic forecasting for a while but I missed the pace of retail and the buzz you get with consumer facing businesses so decided to go back into retail.
In my spare time I enjoy reading about businesses (big and small) and find the stories behind successful entrepreneurs really inspiring. I’m also a big tennis and rugby fan and love food and travel.
Tell me how you initially got into business?
I’ve wanted to work for myself for as long as I can remember and looked at several different business ideas before deciding Zac and Mo was the right one to invest in.
How did the idea for Zac and Mo come about?
Spending a year in New Zealand gave my partner and I a real taste for outdoor life. Since then we’ve seen a growing interest in the outdoors here in the UK. Activities like skiing, surfing and cycling are becoming increasingly popular and more families are choosing camping and activity holidays.
We’ve followed the growth of kids online fashion retail and saw an opportunity to do the same thing but for kids outdoor and activity gear.
Tell me about the early days, what was the hardest part of starting the business?
We were lucky that most of our suppliers were happy to talk to us from the beginning so finding stock wasn’t difficult. The hardest part was getting customers to find us. The internet is a noisy place and it takes a lot of time and effort to make yourself heard.
In more detail, please explain Zac and Mo? And what are you trying to solve with it?
www.zacandmo.com specialises in outdoor and activity gear for kids. We offer year-round clothing and equipment for swimming, cycling, skiing, snowboarding and outdoor play. Our ambition is to become the leading website for all kids’ outdoor and sporting activities. We want to offer parents a great choice, excellent customer service and an easy and convenient shopping experience.
How have you been able to fund it so far?
Through personal savings and a small inheritance. And we’re also looking for additional funding at the moment.
About the first few months, how excited were you, tell us about how those months felt, what happened?
It’s a great feeling when you get your first order. And when they keep coming in, you know all the months of planning and research were worth it. Great feedback from customers is the best motivation you can get.
What are the most crucial things that you have done to grow your business?
Improve our SEO. And analyse our sales so we know what sells and, more importantly, what doesn’t.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Knowing that there’s much further to go.
What should we be expecting from yourself and the Zac and Mo team for 2013?
We’ll continue to grow our product range and the number and variety of brands we stock. We also want to increase our online presence.
Lastly, what advises would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
Find something you enjoy, work hard and don’t give up.
On Saturday 9th March we will be hosting, alongside Brightside, ‘Get Up Start Up‘ where you will be able to apply and be approved for a Startup loan of between £2,500 & £10,000 to help you get your business started!