Interview with Lisa walker from brightplaybox

Read how Lisa Walker spotted a gap in the early years play market – and developed brightplaybox, a subscription-based toy business, for 0-2 year olds to fill it.

What’s your career background?

I spent over 10 years inthea corporate world, working in product and brand management for large and medium sized healthcare companies.

How did your career change after having children?

Once I had my son I realised that I couldn’t return to my old job – I had a 3 hour commute each day, I travelled a lot and I wasn’t able to get part-time work that fitted with childcare hours.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

The idea came from my experiences, and those of other new mums I was socialising with. We all knew how critical the first two years of development were for children, and that babies develop through play, but we weren’t really sure what to actually do during playtimes.

We found playtimes could be overwhelming and we didn’t really know where to start. The constant exhaustion of being a new parent didn’t make this any easier!

brightplaybox is all about making playtimes hassle-free for parents and developmentally beneficial for their children. We send subscription and gift boxes of the right toys, books and activities at the right time to parents of 0-2 year olds, along with our tailored guide on development milestones and tips on how to encourage meeting these.

What’s your USP?

We deliver the right toys at the right time to encourage child development in a hassle-free and informative way for parents.

What makes us different is that we build everything from ‘development first’ principles. Each box is created based on the key development milestones for a child’s age and we carefully select only quality toys, books and activities that help encourage meeting these.

This is all captured in our brightplaybox development guide, which gives parents the information and tips they need to know about their child’s development at the right time.

Who’s your target audience?

Busy parents who are looking for support with how to best help their child develop.

How did you move from idea to actual business?

I spent a lot of time talking to other parents and establishing that this was an area that parents wanted help with. I started researching with input from experts and putting boxes together for my friend’s children. I got positive feedback and it grew from there.

The real turning point was when I took part in Google Campus for Mums & Dads. It’s a fantastic series of practical workshops run by other entrepreneurs and investors that supports you to work on your business and take it to the next level.

It really gave me a confidence boost to just get on with brightplaybox. Since I’d spent my working life to date in the corporate world it helped introduce me to a whole new way of working which was at a much faster pace – it was exhilarating. It was also great to meet lots of other parents who were also building their business to share my journey with.

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

Managing my time! I’m lucky that I have some support from my family in looking after my son during the week but otherwise I look after him so balancing that with work is tough. I spend most of my evenings and weekends working.

And your proudest moment so far?

Getting the first customers and realising that brightplaybox was real and actually happening. Each new customer is so exciting and I love hearing about the positive impact we have on their playtime with their little ones.

Why is work so important to you?

I absolutely love being a mum but I also like having my ‘own identity’ outside of that. I love being my own boss and entirely responsible for my own success.

I’m a driven individual and I’m really enjoying the excitement and challenges of creating and building something from scratch.

How do you balance your business with your family?

It’s hard! I’m still learning how to do this – but I try to be strict with myself so that I don’t work when I’m looking after my son, which means not checking emails!

I also have a weekly timetable planner covering everything from meals to business priorities. I’m not the most organised person around but spending a bit of time every Sunday night planning the week ahead really helps the week run smoothly and ensures I don’t waste time.

What are your top three tips for other aspiring entrepreneurs?

  1. Just do it – don’t let self-doubts get in the way. Although it’s hard, actually starting a business is easier than you imagine. The exact time when you’re questioning if you’re ready yet is when you need to start and you’re probably over-ready!
  2. Get out there and talk to people about your idea really early on – people are unlikely to ‘steal’ it and actually the feedback you get in those early days is so important to helping you form your business – the bad as well as the good.
  3. Prioritise and be strict with yourself – there are so many things you can do and it’s so tempting to try and do a bit of everything, but focus on the most important things that will really make a difference to your business and give yourself the time to do them well.

You can find out more about brightplaybox on their website.