From home business to £1m turnover in three years

Daniel Price and Jonny Sitton started the company as a home business in 2009 and, after six months of preparation, launched their website in January 2010.

Since then, they have risen from shipping one or two orders a day out of their north-west London home to owning a distribution centre in Northampton and taking on huge contracts with Interflora and John Lewis.

Now they are looking at a possible £1m turnover this year and have their sights set on conquering Europe.

The mammoth rise in their profile originated from two specific points.

For a start they had the foresight to modify already established personalising equipment to make it work with baby clothes. "No one else was doing it. We had to have a frame re-engineered for it to fit small shoes. That was our original unique selling point," says Price.

They also adapted a very specific kind of marketing. "When we first launched, we sent gifts straight to celebrities and it just spiralled from there. We used clever slogans to get celebrities interested and tweeting about us. It worked well," he explains.

The pair utilised celebrities' positions to show how personalised the products could be. Dannii Minogue received blankets with the message, 'Mummy's got the X-Factor' while Elton John's gift featured a line from his classic, Your Song, 'How wonderful life is now you're in the world'.

However, it was a blagged entry to number 10 Downing Street with a gift for the Prime Minister, which really showed Price's dedication to getting the business to the top.

The idea for My 1st Year's first project, the personalised high top trainers, came from Nike's iD shoes. Having seen Nike's success, the pair of entrepreneurs noticed there was no similar product for babies.

From there, finding funding was easy. Bank loans weren't on the agenda and the first private investor who saw the vision and motivation of Price and Sitton gave them £50,000 for a 28% stake in the business.

Along with their unique personalisation for baby products, what makes My 1st Years so successful is the next day delivery option, which appeals to every family member's desire to be the best grandma, cousin or any relation.

Despite my1styears.com already being top for personalised baby products, they are determined to become the largest company for all baby products and are exploring European markets with a translated website. However, at the moment, there are no plans to blag their way into Nicolas Sarkozy's office.

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