In this week’s edition of Meet the Mumtrepreneur I chat with the founder of Rain + Conker, Amanda Kierans and find out how she created her modern and design-led family brand. I’ve been a huge fan of Rain + Conker since day one and I love nothing more than watching her business blossom. Rain + Conker is by far one of my favourite Irish brands.
Hi Amanda, tell me a little about Rain + Conker and how you came up with the idea?
Rain + Conker is a modern, design-led family brand. We focus on designing, manufacturing and supplying (retailing: direct to consumer and via retail partners) practical and trendy baby products and accessories for babies/children and their families.
Currently, we design and retail bandana bibs with a focus on modern designs, leather moccasins that are trendy and healthy for babies and toddler feet. As well as accessories such as ‘snoods’, pom beanies, leggings and our Rain + Conker multiuse cover. It is the first on the market to be made from a suitable fabric called Tencel and is lightweight, breathable and requires no buckles etc.
What has been your biggest challenge starting-up Rain + Conker?
It requires resilience and a lot of hard work, much more than I anticipated. It’s a competitive space and it takes a lot of time to build up a brand. During the first year, I experienced lots of ups and downs. There were times I really questioned why I left my desk job. But I’m so glad I’ve stuck with it. I had to adapt my business plan during the first six months but after 12 months it’s starting to pay off.
How did you fund your business?
I was lucky enough to be in a position where I could self-fund the business. However, I started small with one line of products. I reinvested revenue consistently to expand my range of products. I come from a marketing background so I had a lot of the necessary skills a lot of others may need to outsource.
And how do you juggle childcare?
I started part time and worked a lot in the evenings and night time. As the business grew and more time was necessary I relied on help from my mum a lot. I still do! 12 months in I’ve just started to pay for childcare as I’m ready to have my weekends back!
What are you most proud of since setting up your business?
Simply the fact that I stuck with it! Online selling is tough. Customers don’t just randomly stumble across your website. It takes more work than I imagined. I also made a decision early on to change my brand it was a brave decision but I’m so glad I did it. I’m also part of a collective of ten other independent brands called KID, we recently opened up a store in Powerscourt Town House Centre and I’m over the moon to be associated with such a talented bunch of mums.
What words of advice would you give to other mums currently on maternity leave or with young kids thinking about setting up their own business?
Don’t underestimate the work involved in a start-up business. Be prepared to have low points but if you stay focused and are prepared to adapt your business model if required the payoff is worth it. The flexibility of being your own boss is fantastic but it’s very hard to switch off. I definitely advise putting your phone away for at least one day a week, it’s too tempting to keep checking emails and other platforms if your phone is at arms reach.
What’s next for you and your business?
On a personal level, I’m determined to find a bit more balance. I’m now over the first year hurdle and would love a few days away with family and to start enjoying full weekends with no work involved. And with childcare now in place, I think it’s achievable!
On a professional level, I’ve recently released some new products but I also have some exciting collaborations upcoming. I’ll keep them under wraps for now but watch this space!
And finally, where will I find Rain + Conker?
You can find Rain + Conker at www.rainandconker.com, on Facebook and Instagram or why not pop into KID in Powerscourt Town House Centre, Dublin 2.
If you’re an Irish mammy in the baby business and would like to take part in Meet The Mumtrepreneur pop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.