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Pioneer of the Week: Lindsey Ahmet of Designer Bear Boutique

New and Networking

Pioneer of the Week: Lindsey Ahmet of Designer Bear Boutique

Our Pioneer of the Week is Lindsey Ahmet of Designer Bear Boutique, a brilliant company that makes handmade keepsake toys and blankets out of outgrown baby clothes. Let's find out more!

Tell us 3 important things we should know about you.


I’m a 27 year old mumprenuer with two beautiful children who inspire me and my work.  I set up www.designerbearboutique.com 12 months ago and have now started up my second company, www.lmadvertising.co.uk, a local business directory with the largest distribution in the area paired with social media reach.

Tell us about your business. How did it start? Did you set it up alone or with a team?


I started Designer Bear Boutique on my own, purely by accident. I was sewing for a hobby and to relieve my symptoms of anxiety and depression, when I decided to make a blanket using my baby boy's outgrown clothing. I was upset that they held so many memories and really didn’t want to get rid of them. I thought it was a waste if I just kept them in storage, so the blanket was made!  My friends loved it and asked for one, and their friends got in touch too - and Designer Bear Boutique was born.

What do you love most about running your own business?


Being able to do something that has a true value and meaning to me and my customers.  The best part of my job is the happiness it brings to my clients when they see the transformation of their cherished clothing into our one-of-a-kind keepsake blankets, animals and bears.

Tell us about a challenging experience you’ve faced in the process of starting up your business and how you overcame it.


The biggest challenge is getting our name out there, as im sure most start-ups can relate.  We didn’t understand how much time and work has to be put in this particular part of running a business until more recently so we are now working hard on SEO, paid social media advertising and shareable social media content, including blogs.

What advice could you give to other startups about starting up in your industry?


In the baby and toddler industry you are trying to engage mums and dads about the most important part of their entire lives.  That’s a very personal, sentimental and cherished market; therefore, you too need to be personal, relatable content that is about you and your children /grandchildren/nieces/nephews. Your product or service has genuine meaning and value to them, so cherish your work and customers - sincerely show how much they mean to you.

Can you share an experience that really helped you take your business forward?


A pinnacle moment for me would be the very first meeting with my mentor (arranged through Virgin Startup).  Having received a brief on me and my business, he firstly asked me about my business and why I do what I do.  He got me to really think about the why.Not about being your own boss or making money but the ‘why’ that makes a business a success. Which is also the reason why I love my business!

Many people start their businesses at home, where do you work? What do you love about it?


I started at home on my kitchen table until I needed more space for stock and equipment. I now have a small office which is my own room of creations and ideas!

What are three things you know now, that you wish someone had told you when you first started?


Don’t spend your start-up funding on fancy tech or big trade shows. Use funding to market and advertise your business and get your name out there. As they say, a product is only great if people know it exists. As we have learned, things such as SEO needs an expert and this needs some funding to get it right. We have spent a lot of time on this to get it right an are still working on it now, as it is a very important factor in getting your business seen.

Is there anything specific you’d like to ask or share with the Virgin Media Pioneers community?


I can pin my success down to a number of factors but one thing that is at the top of my list is something someone told me years ago when I was looking at career development in my full time roll and that is to be a problem-solver, not a problem avoider.  I had a very big problem for a long time and that was my job was making me very ill with depression and anxiety. I decided that to solve that problem was to do something I loved instead.  As mentioned, we have one of the biggest start-up problems out there and that is to be seen and heard - and so my new company L&M advertising was born.

Finish the sentence: "To be an entrepreneur...


"...is to love what you do and do what you love."

Connect with Lindsey on Twitter and Facebook.