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Getting A Start-Up Right The Second Time Around

Did you know supermarkets have a different shelving policy for food products and toiletries? Paul Lindley didn't before he founded his second business. Here's what else he learned.

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Did you know supermarkets have a different shelving policy for food products and toiletries? Paul Lindley didn't before he founded his second business. Here's what else he learned.

Opinions

Getting A Start-Up Right The Second Time Around

Did you know supermarkets have a different shelving policy for food products and toiletries? Paul Lindley didn't before he founded his second business. Here's what else he learned.

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Your second business is, in many ways, like your second child. Although some things are easier, as you are able to draw on past experience and acquired wisdom, many of the more complex things are just as difficult the second time around.

Nearly ten years on from starting Ella’s Kitchen, now the UK’s number one baby food brand and sold in 35 territories worldwide, I decided to take the plunge and use the experience gained to launch my second venture.

The brand, Paddy’s Bathroom, is named after my son, Patrick. It offers natural and organic children’s toiletries with the promise that getting clean will be just as much fun as getting dirty!

"Stepping back allowed me to focus on my role as an entrepreneurial activist on issues close to my heart"

Now that we are six months down the line and successfully off the ground in both the UK and US, it’s a good time to step back and take stock. Paddy’s Bathroom is already looking a lot less similar to Ella’s Kitchen than you might expect.

Paul Lindley Ella's Kitchen

Ella's kitchen is a global success story, founded in Paul Lindley's spare bedroom

When I founded Ella’s Kitchen, I was a young dad and every mealtime with my daughter was a struggle. The baby food industry had been the same for decades, and it didn’t seem to cater for either babies or their parents. I spotted a gap in the market, and Ella’s Kitchen was conceived – simply to improve children’s through developing healthy relationships with food.

Improving children's lives is very much at the heart of what both businesses do, and this second business was an opportunity to improve children’s well-being at another touch point.

Tackling the pain-points

As a parent, working with and for many parents, you come to learn the challenges parents have on a daily basis. After feeding, bath time was the next obvious challenge to tackle!

Both businesses have been built around achieving a purpose-led mission. I am a firm believer that business must act as a force for good in this world and answer some of society’s problems at the same time as turning a profit.

Paddy's Bathroom partnership with water charity Del Agua – means that for every drop of water used with our products, we donate money to clean water projects in Rwanda. This second venture was a chance to shout loudly from the rooftops what I had always believed in: that business can be a force for good in every sense.

del agua

Del Agua's mission is to improve lives using smart technology

Building your second business has practical advantages. There were quite a few things I learned from Ella’s Kitchen that helped me build business number two. I knew the importance of having a team around you. You just can’t shoulder all the responsibility of a growing business alone – it is unrewarding if you are a ‘jack of all trades’ and master of none!

I had the advantage of existing partnerships to support me as well. I had developed a trusting relationship with retailers through Ella’s Kitchen, and it was much easier to convince them to stock the products this time around.

Paddy’s Bathroom has taught me far more than I thought it would. Small things such as supermarkets have different shelving systems for their toiletries aisles to their food aisles, which have changed the impact of our products as they are presented to the consumer.

A lot of the work with Ella’s Kitchen was building a brand which parents would come to know and love. Trust is very much at the heart of a brand, it is important to remember that you need to start from scratch again with a new start-up.

As an entrepreneurial activist on a social mission, I am lucky that people associate the Paddy’s Bathroom brand with Ella’s Kitchen and that I sit at the heart of both as the founder. However, there is a lot of work to do to ensure people trust the brand and what it stands for.

Our core mission remains unchanged: we want to make parents' lives easier by making children's lives more fun, especially at what can otherwise be challenging times of the day.

Relinquishing the day-to-day control of Ella’s Kitchen and stepping back was a huge move, but it has allowed me to launch my second start-up and focus on my role as an entrepreneurial activist on issues close to my heart.

It’s a risk - but having the experience of growing Ella’s Kitchen has certainly given me an advantage. You can never guarantee that your second business will turn out like your first: like children, each comes with its own blessings and challenges.

One thing’s for sure: the butterflies in my stomach weren't any less present the second time round. If you’re thinking of starting a second business, I have one piece of advice: do it! Just don’t expect it to be an easy ride.

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Getting A Start-Up Right The Second Time Around

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