We LOVE to be the cheerleaders of other start-ups and the founders who are working 24/7 to launch brands in really competitive markets.  Our Meet The Founder blog series gives us the chance to introduce to you small business owners and tell the story behind their brands.  This week we’re delighted to introduce you to Lisa Joyce, co-founder of Kidunk Clothing, a sustainable, award-winning outdoor clothing company that was launched in 2017.

Tell us a little about Kidunk Clothing – how did it come about?

I spent the first 20 years of my career in brilliant roles, travelling the world with amazing businesses designing kids and baby products.

In 2013, I was on the board at The Gro Company, the business founders were selling, and I was pregnant. It felt like a good time to step off the corporate ladder, focus on my new baby and maybe do something different work-wise. So after a maternity break, I started my own design consultancy and in 2014, I was asked to design a garment for a nursery school owner Tina Knight who was frustrated by children’s clothing. Tina briefed me to design clothing kids could feel comfortable wearing all day long, inside and outside for play.

And so Kidunk was born.  There are 3 of us in the business, each with completely different backgrounds but it works. Phil, Tina’s husband’s background is insurance. Tina has 30 years’ experience in childcare and we are 3 parts of one perfect pie!

Little boy in Kidunk Clothing playing with watering can outside a red door

Did you have a ‘lightbulb moment’ in those early days?

We did tonnes of research, focus groups and user trials. I was convinced that Tina’s frustrations were shared by other parents too (they were certainly shared by me).

It was at one nursery session the light bulb moment happened. The idea we eventually patented was a zipped waist on a trouser and top to allow easy access for quick changing.

The fabric development was key as it had to be breathable and suitable for indoors and outdoors and finding an eco-waterproof material meant we had something practical and sustainable too.

What has been your proudest moment in business?

It sounds silly, but the first ever sale was my proudest moment!  We launched Kidunk at a kid’s festival and the first time I saw a stranger, (not a friend’s child), see our kit and love it, really did make all our hearts do a flutter!

Toddler in Kudunk jacket smiling outside

What advice would you give to other people thinking of starting a business?

Kidunk is my side hustle. Holly Tucker talks about this in her business podcast series all the time.

Unless you’ve masses of investment with oodles of luck you need to have infinite patience in business, because it can take years to become a ‘success’. A side hustle means it’s a project you give your heart and soul to but you probably have other balls to juggle.

I still have a consultancy business which I love (and it pays the bills) and I’ve two small children who will always be the centre of my universe. At first, I found myself apologising that I had 3 jobs, but it’s real life and sometimes what you have to do, don’t be ashamed of multi-tasking its not a sign of failure – just part of the adventure.

Juggling a consultancy, a side-hustle alongside being a mum of two, what does an average day look like to you?

Priority number one is despatching the kids to school but as soon as I’m at my desk I’m either on calls, sketching out crazy new ideas, researching the market, cooing over Instagram or thinking – what next?!

What does good food mean to you and your family?

We adore food and plan our days around meal times. We are conscious of what we eat and where it comes from. Fresh and local is key and every year our veggie patch gets bigger as the children get older and take more interest in growing our own. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the kids picking and eating peas from the pod!

Little boy in outdoor coat playing with a leaf

Do you have a go-to family meal that’s always a winner?

The classic Sunday roast, ideally with our own veggies. I sometimes tell little white lies that the veggies in the fridge are ones we grew ourselves, but I won’t get away with that for too much longer!

Favourite snacks for the family?

Hummus, carrots and cucumbers. Literally, I could own a cucumber farm and we’d still run out, it’s even the guinea pigs favourite food!

How do you relax?

Swimming. We are lucky to live in the Lake District and this winter I’ve managed to continue to swim despite arctic conditions some mornings. We’re also big walkers and love camping. We just love being outdoors doing anything and everything!

Toddlers digging around on the ground in outdoor clothes

What’s your top parenting tip?

Take a breath. Pause. When the kids are asking and pestering you, give them a minute to try for themselves.

When you’re in the moment, in the middle of the most perfect day, finding a new weird, shaped pebble or just listening to them tell you a crazy story, make sure you take a minute to take it in.

What or who inspires you?

My parents, my friends, my colleagues, and mentors who’ve supported me along the way with unwavering loyalty.

And finally, what’s next for you and the business?

There are not enough hours left in my life to fulfil all of my ambitions for Kidunk. But I’d love to see our new replay recycling scheme roll out nationwide. I’m so proud of it and the difference it’s going to make!

Head over to Kidunk to find out more about this award-winning, outdoor clothing brand for kids.

Thanks so much Lisa.  And don’t forget you can enter our competition to win a Kidunk Coat, with £39.99, over on Instagram.  Lots of lolly luck!

Artwork of a competition between Kidunk and Claudi and Fin