MOST BUSINESSES HAVE AN ONLINE PRESENCE NOWADAYS, EVEN IF THEY HAVE A BRICKS AND MORTAR SET UP TOO, BUT THE THING WITH SOCIAL MEDIA IS THAT EVERYTHING CAN LOOK SO PERFECT, SO CURATED, SO GLOSSY FROM THE OUTSIDE. I WANTED TO GET BEHIND THE CURTAIN, INSIDE THE MINDS AND INTO THE HEARTS OF SOME OF MY FAVOURITE BUSINESSES AND FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE PEOPLE THAT RUN THEM. I FIGURED IF I WAS CURIOUS TO KNOW MORE, MAYBE YOU COULD BE TOO?
WELCOME TO MY FORTNIGHTLY SERIES THE FACE BEHIND THE BUSINESS. COME BEHIND THE SCENES WITH ME, BEHIND THE PERFECT IMAGE WE SEE AT THE STORE FRONT LEVEL AND MEET SOME WONDERFUL KIWIS DOING WONDERFUL THINGS (AND LEARN THEIR SECRETS TO SUCCESS).
When you’re on social media as much as I am and follow as many trendy Mama’s like I do, you discover a lot of beautiful little businesses run by entrepreneurial and pretty damn incredible Mama’s in our fair land. I feel inspired by the business these women do and as someone who used to have my very own childrenswear business (Bubbalino was my fourth baby), I have the utmost respect for women who find a gap in the market and start up a business when they have their first child in order to enable them to stay at home and parent as well as satisfy that urge to do something for themselves and keep creative and in the game. Sheree from Dapper Mr Bear has curated an absolutely gorgeous store of many many a delicious product. I want everything she stocks. Not even lying! Currently I’m lusting over the OYOY Adventure Rug and the Design Letters plates which make every Instagram photo featuring food look even more amazing.
Get cosy with a cuppa and read more about this clever lady and her beautiful online store.
About the business:
Where did the original idea for your business come from?
When preparing for the arrival of Arthur I was forever trawling the internet for original clothes and toys for him. After he was born I was constantly being asked “Where do you shop, as I just don’t see these clothes (and toys) in NZ?”. Which got me thinking, maybe others will like my style and so Dapper Mr Bear was born. I have always wanted to have my own business so after giving up my corporate job to have a family it was the perfect opportunity to chase that dream!
A lot of people always wonder where the name Dapper Mr Bear came from, it’s named our our wee man Arthur. Since birth, he has been referred to by us as Arthur Bear, Artie Bear or Mr Bear. He was always looking so stylish too so we quickly settled on Dapper to go with it.
What are you most proud of with the launch of your company?
How quickly things have grown in less than a year. I always hoped my business would be successful, but it’s grown more than I had imagined and hoped it would, which is super exciting. With customers all over the world it adds a whole new dimension too!
What has been the most difficult part of your journey?
Having enough time. I never feel like I have enough time in my days to get everything done. Arthur is at home with me full time other than 1.5 days of preschool a week so there are a lot of midnight finishes going on. I also have really high standards for myself so that certainly puts the pressure on to get things done and well. It’s really important to me that my customers expectations are met and exceeded, so that adds to my often busy days with packaging up parcels while Arthur naps (am so hoping he doesn’t drop that anytime soon!!) and quickly stealing a moment to reply to some emails while he’s outside playing!
What has been the most rewarding part of this experience?
The beautiful feedback I receive on a weekly basis from my happy and excited customers when they get their new things. Oh and seeing kids out in Dapper Mr Bear goodies – that still gives me a buzz!
Do you have plans to expand your range?
Yes and no. My taste is forever changing and the more I get into this adventure I see some of my current brands dropping off and new ones being added. In this game it’s essential to remain on trend and things can change so quickly, so if a brand doesn’t change with my ongoing direction then naturally it will fall away.
What’s your mantra or the one piece of advice that has stuck with you through the process of starting your own business?
Stick with your instincts! I’m always asking myself “would you put Arthur in that, or a girl if you had one?” and if the answer is no, then I don’t order it. I’ve been caught out a few times trying to go outside the square of my own taste to see if others will like it and find those are the clothes that don’t sell, so I stick to this mantra constantly now.
Tell me a little about you or your family.
My husband Dan and I have one gorgeous wee man, Arthur. He’ll be turning two in early March and melts our hearts daily with the adorable things he comes out with. We are also expecting our second bubba in late July, so this year is destined to be a big one!
How do you juggle being a Mama and running a business?
Sometimes extremely badly – haha! For the most part Arthur is my priority all day every day, and I try and fit my work around him so I do a lot of it in the evenings as well. As an extremely busy toddler that wants to be involved in everything, Arthur is never far from getting up to mischief if he’s left to his own devices for too long. With that in mind I do a lot of my work in the weekend when hubby is at home to supervise as well.
Do you have any tips on how to make a successful business work with a young family?
For me it’s about ensuring I stay on task when I have my designated business time (when Arthur is at preschool), setting to do lists and sticking to them. For me it’s important to take product pictures for social media, prewrite newsletters, and sort my new season ordering when I have quiet time to focus so that alway helps. I also try and ensure at least once a week there is always some family time in there for us. My husband and I are both self employed so it can become all to easy to just get into the routine of work that we forget to take time out to do something fun as a family!
What’s your favourite (family) activity or outing?
Arthur Bear loves the park so we often wander down there (swinging by the local coffee shop for a caffeine hit first) so he can run and adventure with our golden retriever Murray.
How do you get ‘me time’ and what do you enjoy doing to achieve that?
I certainly don’t get quite as much ‘me time’ as I would like these days! Prior to getting pregnant my go to way to unwind and relax was hitting up the local gym for a Body Attack, or RPM class! Now I much prefer a casual wander around the neighbourhood or hanging on the couch watching a my latest favourite show. Oh and a spot of retail therapy, that’s always fun!
What words of advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
Research – always do you research. I think a lot of people think starting a business is an easy job, when in reality it takes a LOT of hard work and energy. It’s also really important to ensure you know your target market, and who is already offering what you intend to do in that space. Having a point of difference is also essential, and knowing what will make you stand out from your competitors!
Your go to meal?
If I’m completely honest my husband does the majority of our cooking. He’s an exceptional cook and comes up with such fun and creative meals. My go to meal (simply for ease, taste and time to prepare) is normally steak, salad and garlic bread.
Dapper Mr Bear has a phenomenal end of season sale running at the moment on heaps of cool clothing, so if you’re looking for some bargains on cool threads, head over here to shop the sale.
You can find Dapper Mr Bear online via these channels, so please pay Sheree a visit:
SEE YOU SOON WITH ANOTHER INSPIRATIONAL BUSINESS OWNER!