PROJECT #BEYOUROWN BOSS: TOKS ARUOTURE
Many new parents struggle to find high-quality nursery furniture that’s both unique and safe for their babies. Toks Aruoture company The babycot Shop delivers beautifully crafted pieces that are made to the highest safety standards thereby helping parents like you to create enchanting rooms where your baby can sleep and play giving you complete peace of mind.
Toks’s #BEYOUROWN BOSS Story
I wear a few hats, nursery interior designer, retailer, mum, wife, storyteller. My business journey isn’t a typical one as I sort of fell into it. I had been working as a Medical Representative for a pharmaceutical company when I took some time out to have my children. I was reluctant to return to work and worse, I couldn’t get suitable hours with t. At the time, I happened to be reading a book where the author addressed gifts and talents. Her response to the question, “How do I know what my gift is?” Was “your gift is that thing you do effortlessly but everyone else thinks it’s a big deal”. For me, that was interior design. So I enrolled in a couple of design courses and established an interior design company.
Less than a year into it, we made the gutsy decision to move to the United States. We visited the states every year and in that moment, it made sense to sell our home, pack our kids and move abroad. In the process, we purchased a baby and children’s furniture shop. That was my introduction to high-end furniture for babies and children. With that, I combined my interior design background with the sale of furniture and began to specialise in the interior design of nurseries, playrooms and children’s bedrooms.
In 2008 the recession arrived and wiped out our business- and everything we owned. We returned to England to weather the storm, fully believing it would blow over and we would return. I forgot to mention, I was also pregnant with son number four. I decided I couldn’t sit waiting for things to pick up, so I started researching the UK market and established Punkin Patch Interiors in 2008.
In 2012, we changed the business model and the name to The Baby Cot Shop. The Baby Cot Shop supplies high-end baby furniture and provides interior design service to private clients. We also work closely with residential interior designers and architects on the baby and child part of their family home projects.
In 2017, due to an understandable demand from clients to see the products in person, we opened our first location on the King’s Road in Chelsea, London. The furniture range has since grown with more emphasis on in-house designs.
Overseeing production means that we have control over quality and safety standards, while customers have control over the aesthetics and size. Our plan is to streamline our range so that it remains recognisable as a brand while growing our customer base. For the retail arm, we will be holding more parenting workshops and classes in store to educate new parents. Collaborations with other businesses are also going on.
The challenges have been plenty, but I now understand that within every problem lies its own solution. An example of this is logistics. In the past, we had products being damaged during transit and we always had to hold our breath while waiting for a delivery. This tends to happen when the furniture is handled too many time. From the workroom to a central location, from the central location to a local depot, from the local depot to a receiving warehouse before it gets to the customer. Every time the goods are unloaded, there is a risk of damage. So we started using dedicated vehicles to transport from the workshop directly to us for inspection, before going to the customer. The highlights have also been in abundance. From award nominations to supplying nurseries to some of the world’s elite like royalty and presidents.
I would like to see more women being open about their business journeys. Often, we only want to share the highlights and even the challenges tend to be related in a way that’s glamourised. The truth is that we live in a world where challenges are a very normal part of life. We do not need to be ashamed of failure. The day it all changed for me was the day I stopped hiding my failure. I crafted a bio that spoke frankly about how I lost my business. That story got picked up by a newspaper, led to a nomination for a business award and I now enjoy the privilege of mentoring other women starting their businesses. Disappointments happen when an expectation isn’t met, and if the expectation is false, we will quit.
Today’s businesswoman takes control of her own life by owning her weaknesses and strengths. She takes responsibility for her personal growth and development by seeking and learning.