March 19, 2012 in Pertinent Articles
My family have loved Raggy-Tag ever since my son was bought one as a gift from Live Like This in Cowes, nearly 6 years ago. I was thrilled when I found out they were made on the Isle of Wight, and so when they joined the Isle of Wight Makers Network I was even more thrilled!
I asked Tori Trimming the Company Director a few pertinent questions…
How did you start your business?
My daughter and nephew started playing with the labels on their soft toys, I couldn’t find a product covered in labels, so asked a friend to make one up. I presented it to our local toyshop who loved the concept; they had received requests from customers for a product with tags, so I felt confident about pursuing my ideas. Two years later, after trials with different fabrics, lots of ribbon combinations, three manufacturers, road tests and interviews with mothers and babies, Raggy-Tag was launched nationally in the well renowned Daisy & Tom children’s stores. I was also working for a city firm up until this point, but the time had come to make a choice.
What’s your typical day like?
No day is ever the same for anyone in the company. My day can range from travelling to Liberty to view seasonal or archived fabrics, attending fabric trade shows, visiting clients, visiting our factory in the Midlands, looking at the latest sewing machines, attending trade shows and PR events. Some days are office based and require a few hours of admin, calls to clients and discussions with the rest of the office and sewing teams.
Tell us about your new clothing and accessories line?
Our new products are predominantly baby gifts or sleep related accessories, but we have been rather tempted to make something special for the mummies of our Raggy-Tag babies.
The clothes range will be sleepwear, following the same comforting and cosy theme as our Raggy-Tags.
What’s it like exhibiting at the trade shows?
Each and every show has everyone pulling out their clipboards with a checklist of things that we cannot forget. A lot of effort is put into making our trade stands reflect our brand; this is our opportunity to show off our products at their best. Our trade show sales staff are based in London and are regularly updated with all of our products. They have a wonderfully relaxed and professional approach to prospective clients and have built relationships with our regular clients who are greeted at the stand by familiar Raggy-Tag faces. The majority of our business is generated at these events so it is a real team challenge to better each and every show.
What’s been the highlight for Raggy-Tag so far?
Raggy-Tags highlights are receiving a call, email or pictures from elated mothers or relatives. Some of our favourite pictures include babies who have fallen asleep with their tiny hands clutching the satin tags. Our sweetest request was from the mother who wanted their child’s quilted blanket in an adult bed size and more recently, the toddler that really hugs his Raggy-Tag teddy bear.
What keeps you on track through the inevitable highs and lows of having a business?
The highs are very high and the lures of having your own business are obvious, freedom and fulfilment. But the lows leave you feeling emotionally and physically exhausted, unless you are the sort of person that thrives on the responsibility of uncertainty and can deal with the stress. Somewhere in the middle is where I try to aim, balancing the light with the heavy because every day is different and you never know what’s around the corner, good or bad, easy or hard? No one can start a new beginning to a difficult day, but anyone can attempt a different ending.
Are there differences between having a business on the Island and mainland? What makes the Isle of Wight special?
One obvious difference is the fact that we are quite a distance from our main factory and this needs addressing. In many ways we have benefited from the quality of employees that we now have working in the Ryde office. Each and every person, full time, part time and outworkers have significantly contributed to the growth of Raggy-Tag in the last year. Throughout the day, everyone here is encouraged to contribute to the list of activities and issues. Every person I work with knows something better than me. My job is to listen long enough to find it and use it. As a result, work processes are more efficient, distribution is easier due to the personal relationship we have developed with the island couriers. The quality of work produced by our seamstresses is perfect and their contribution to product development is invaluable.
Whilst it has been a challenge to locate specific apparatus and skilled individuals for certain aspects of our manufacturing process on the island, I remain determined to source the workforce that we need to enable our mainland manufacturing to reside on the Isle of Wight.
What or who have you found most helpful?
Word of mouth has proved the most helpful at these initial stages. Raggy-Tag is about to join the Chamber of Commerce where we hope to learn more about the islands diverse industry members.
What’s the best piece of advice you can pass on?
Never forget, the only time you fail is when you stop trying.
What’s your favourite saying?
Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.
Interview by Sara the IWMN Administrator.
Find the Raggy-Tag website here.