Elton John's son boosts baby business
Published: 3rd Jun 2012 18:05:32
Getting an A-list celebrity to endorse your products, without paying an extortionate fee, was an inspired marketing ploy dreamt up by Daniel Price to promote his range of personalised baby clothing.
"My mother told me a radio station was looking for the perfect baby gift to give to Elton John and his partner David Furnish, who were being interviewed a week later," he says.
Together with his business partner, he created a gift hamper, including a blanket embroidered with the slogan: Zachary - how wonderful life is now you're in the world.
"Not only did we get on-air promotion, certain magazines mentioned it and our business immediately stepped up another level," says Mr Price.
It was an innovative technique they had previously employed with the singer and X Factor judge Dannii Minogue.
"When she had her baby we sent a blanket with 'Mummy's got the X factor' embroidered on it and she then started tweeting about it," he says.
"I also rang the prime minister's press office and told them I was a family friend dropping off a baby gift. They took my name and the registration number of the car and we were able to drive right up to Number 10 to deliver it in person," he grins.
Jonny would do the embroidering and I would do the packing. We celebrated every time we got an order”
They received a pleasant thank-you note from David Cameron, but things really heated up when they offered David and Victoria Beckham's nine-month-old daughter a modelling contract. They also released the offer to various media outlets.
When a representative of the Beckhams went on television in the US to state that they "would never consider doing this," they gained the kind of exposure for which established companies pay serious money.
It hadn't always been so easy. For the first 18 months they relied on family and friends for everyday living expenses.
He started the venture My1stYears with Jonny Sitton, whom he'd known since primary school.
It began when Mr Price read an article three years ago, stating that 880,000 babies were going to be born the following year.
"I thought that was a big market, and that shoes personalised for babies could be a nice gift," he explains.
That was when he turned to his friend and said: "Don't be an accountant, we are going to work for ourselves."
Lounging back on a sofa above a converted garage in the grounds of a substantial property in London's leafy suburb of Mill Hill, the pair reflect on how far they have come since their days at Leeds University.
"I began selling clothes and jewellery to students," says Mr Price, before he progressed to arranging student events seven nights a week.
He still managed to get his degree, as did Mr Sitton, who'd started importing ink cartridges from China to sell on eBay.
Nobody was able to embroider on anything as small as a baby's shoe so they bought their own machine and set up their own workshop in a tiny office.
"Jonny would do the embroidering and I would do the packing. We celebrated every time we got an order," Mr Price chuckles.
People are prepared to pay a premium for quality products and there is also a better re-order rate”
They eventually found someone to do the embroidery for them and now employ three machinists.
Although shoes remain the company's unique selling point, they have added more clothes and accessories for the baby market.
Research shows that on average, 12 people buy a new baby a present.
"Despite the financial downturn people will not stop buying but we have to offer cheaper products as well," Mr Sitton points out.
Sales figures have been increasing 14% month-on-month since the beginning of the year.
Despite being very conscious of their profit margins, they are prepared to pay a bit more for the materials to ensure the quality.
"When we started, we looked for the cheapest prices and they were in China and India," says Mr Sitton.
"Now, with orders in the thousands, we don't want to take big risks, especially after we found the quality was not consistent," he says.
Most of the products are manufactured in the UK or Turkey. He frequently visits the factories to ensure they follow the standard and ethics they insist upon.
"People are prepared to pay a premium for quality products and there is also a better re-order rate," he adds.
The latest steps in the remarkable progress of these two 25-year-olds, is signing a contract with Interflora - the flower delivery company.
"People can order a gift for the baby while buying flowers for the mother, and have it delivered the next day," Mr Price says.
More recently they have come to an arrangement with John Lewis and have attracted a wealthy investor who made his fortune in the retail business.
One gets the impression that these ambitious young entrepreneurs could sell ice-cream in the Antarctic and they are planning to launch in the US later in the year.
"People say we must be proud of what we are doing but, until we get to 28 and have made our first million, we just get on with it," Mr Price quips.
At 20:00:34 in WorldSierra Leone's parliament has passed a new law making it a criminal offence to shelter Ebola patients.
At 19:50:43 in EntertainmentA novel inspired by the daily toil of a shepherdess and a biography of a Booker prize-winning author have scooped the UK's oldest literary awards.
At 19:39:33 in SportLeeds captain Kevin Sinfield paid tribute to Rhinos coach Brian McDermott as the "mastermind" of the club's first Challenge Cup win in 15 years.
At 19:10:23 in SportWelshman Bradley Dredge carded a third-round 66 to take a two-shot lead at 12-under-par in the Czech Masters.
At 19:04:10 in SportAled Sion Davies won his second gold of the IPC European Championships on the final day in Swansea.
At 19:03:16 in SportAntrim suffered a 4-28 to 1-10 hammering by Clare in Saturday's All-Ireland U21 hurling semi-final.
At 18:24:18 in SportSwansea City are reportedly set to sign Gambian-born striker Modou Barrow from Swedish second-tier club Ostersund.
At 18:14:07 in SportThe head of British Basketball has dismissed John Amaechi's criticism of the way the game is run in England, Scotland and Wales as "a cheap shot".
At 18:03:01 in HealthA British national living in Sierra Leone has tested positive for Ebola, the UK's Department of Health has said.
At 17:50:51 in SportPaddy McLaughlin headed in an 86th-minute equaliser to clinch a draw for Institute against Linfield at Drumahoe.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Elton John's son boosts baby business [Online] (Updated 3rd Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1432591/Elton-Johns-son-boosts-baby-business [Accessed 23rd Aug 2014]
News In Other Categories
A sailor with suspected spinal injuries has been airlifted to hospital after getting into difficulty off the coast of Anglesey.
A woman has been left in a critical condition in hospital after suffering a serious neck injury in a suspected assault.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
Two men arrested following a shooting of a man in County Tyrone have been released unconditionally.
Can you keep a secret? The technology industry sure can't.
The "Yes" and "No" campaigns in the independence referendum have set out rival visions of the NHS in Scotland.