Who are ya! As I hear you chant from the stands … well the doors always open so allow me to let you in...
I am Mark, Married to my beautiful wife Natalie (she is proof reading this so making sure I get the brownie points!) and we have 2 amazing little girls Summer and Lacey. For me family are everything and my girls (all 3 of them Natalie included) always come first. Sounds a little cliché but afraid its true! I am lucky enough work gives me the flexibility to be able to see them in the morning, do the school drop off and then pick them up from school and spend the evenings together. Trying my very best to enjoy every minute before they hit an age where they don’t want to talk to me and I am 100% embarrassing dad! Hand on heart the only thing that truly scares me, is time and the older I get the faster the hands on the clock seem to turn!
So who am I, well I have always been in sales and sold everything from TV commercial air space to loft extensions and wedding suits! I am 44 and counting and have been married for 12 years. Natalie (my wife) is 39 and has been a logistics girl and in her pre children days, she worked for numerous large companies supplying millions of units to huge brands like Tesco & Sainsburys. Now you’re getting to see the way we work together, I sell it and Natalie figures out how we get it to you!
Kids happy house started by accident (that’s right – I mean who or how do you start a business by accident!) when we were on holiday in Florida and came across Piggy Paint, At this stage I had another job working in fashion sales and Natalie was (still is) a part time holistic therapist but (Piggy Paint) this amazing non-toxic, totally safe nail polish for kids caught our eyes. Having 2 little girly girls who loved dressing up and had been asking for nail polish since day one – I immediately saw the benefits of this amazing brand. I had always been too worried what rubbish chemicals were in these cheap pound store kids polish and knowing they are constantly chewing their fingers always wondered what toxic rubbish they would swallow!
After making our first purchase in this little kids store in Florida for the girls to use, I called the brand and told them how much we loved it and if they had any presence in the UK, one crazy phone call whilst on holiday led to an entire new business being born. At first it was a hobby and part time extra income, we bought a few colours and then sold them on to friends via social media and what’s app groups, our lounge rapidly became a warehouse and office as orders grew and then we built our first (basic) web site, (which has now grown to this beauty your scrolling pages through!) over the next 12 months sales increased and interest in the brand grew, we started supplying nail salons to add a mummy and daughter pamper session to their menu and then interest came from kids party entertainers and event planners for weddings etc and before we knew it larger shops like Tesco and hotel chains with cool kids clubs like The Four Seasons (who are all now stockists of this amazing brand) were showing more and more interest and calling us! So our warehouse grew from lounge and shed to a small garage we rented to a bigger storage unit to the current space we now occupy on an old farm near where we live.
Re- reading this I have made it sound a lot easier than it actually was, I carefully forget to mention the living nightmare of UK and EU testing certificates, shipping, boat delays, customs delays, financing problems and more issues and things going wrong than I can even count! I didn’t even understand let alone try to work through most if them – but when your passionate and living it, you keep on paddling whether it’s up or down river – you just keep going and almost expect the tide to change at any given moment!
Then fast forward 5 years and after a few trips to the USA for trade shows and meetings with new brands (luckily we manged to double them us as holidays as well!) we now represent over 10 brands here in the UK, all from the USA, a lot of them Shark Tank successes (Shark Tank is the USA version of Dragons Den). Roshambo unbreakable sunglasses, Le glue for fixing the Lego breaking crisis, Cup Catcher to stop the drop of babies cups, Mimbleballs for therapy and anxiety in kids, Splash swim goggles with an amazing hair band strap that doesn’t tangle in long hair and many other incredible fascinating products that are pure genius and quickly becoming everyday essentials! All the brands have a similar ethos and work ethic to our own, family run companies that have a passion for trying and inventing – a whole host of entrepreneurs and momtrepreneurs, lots of brands have ‘taken a punt’ on us as the underdog and not trusted their brand with a huge distributor and hopefully in return we have done them all proud and represent them here in the UK. We have never ‘lost’ a brand and everyone we work with has gone from strength to strength despite having crazy things like global pandemics thrown at us! So the hard work must be paying off somewhere.
We are also starting to grow in other ways and now launching our own brands under the Kids Happy House umbrella – I had an idea for a new teether (read blog on Tie Teether for more info!) and we are also producing our own soft recycled cotton sofa throws ideal for picnics or to use as a blanket to keep off the cold chill. Throughout the coming year we are planning more launches and more new innovative product - Why stand still when the world keeps turning – that’s what I say! So thank you for joining our house and getting this far, we hope to be able to grow even further and extend our house in lots of different ways in the future – expansion always in all ways – watch out world, we are coming for you!
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