It’s funny how sometimes in life, extraordinary things just happen. A chance meeting, an idea or a surprising opportunity. That’s exactly what happened to me in January 2017. I’d reached a crossroads in my career and was contemplating what to do next. On this particular evening in January whilst settling down for the evening a thought literally jumped in to my head that would see me on the most incredible journey that would in a very short space of time see me connect with the most incredible group of people. I was going to open a baby and nursery shop.
At the start I found myself immersed in research for quality baby and nursery products that were ethically and sustainably sourced and also full of loveliness. It was all consuming and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it. However it quickly became apparent that no matter how many websites and brochures I looked at there was a sector of our society that was missing. Here were companies promoting their brands, some of them are huge companies yet not once did I see a baby or a child with differing abilities or different features or for that matter a hearing aid or a pair of glasses! There was simply no diversity. Then it occurred to me that I too had been party to this indifference. I had looked through many catalogues over the years and had failed to notice. I had failed to notice the people that were unrepresented.
A year or so on and I decided that I really needed to promote my brand. I was invisible on Google! So that new phrase Brand Rep came to mind! Maybe now was the time to launch into the unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable world of Brand Reps. People or in my case, little people who represent my brand. Currently my brand is represented by me. I know my values and Daisy Tree has a very clear ethos about the brands it represents so if I am going to choose someone to represent me, then they equally must have clear values that they believe in. This was uncharted territory for me and was something that I have only noticed other brands doing.
What Normally Happens
What normally happens with a small business is that generally a post is put up on social media and in the case of children’s brands parents are asked the age and gender of their child and also a photograph in the comments.
Age, I understand as each brand has to have a mix of ages to represent its brand.
Gender I also understand as again we need to represent both genders.
Photograph? Now I do understand this from an ethnicity point of view. It’s important that a brand reflects the diverse cultural world in which we live.
But where are the other children? Where are the children with differing abilities? Where are the children with Down’s Syndrome? Where are the children in wheelchairs? Where are the children with any condition that sets them apart? I ask you to look at any brochure you have to hand featuring models within the baby and nursery industry and see what you can find in the way of diversity. Now don’t get me wrong I know there are some brands who positively promote diversity and they should be applauded but they are few and far between.
So where were all these babies and children? More importantly how was I going to find them? If large companies fail to ensure equal representation how on earth would a small company like mine manage? Turns out it was easy. I was inundated with a glorious and diverse mix of babies and children. I planned to have 2 which quickly turned into 5. How could I not! I needed to represent the unrepresented. I needed to promote diversity in the hope that others would follow.
I love Quality Streets! I like the purple ones, the strawberry ones, the orange cremes and the toffees. They all look different from each other. Their wrappers are different colours. Each one has a different texture and each one a different flavour: yet they are the same. They are all sweets that live together in the same box.
What the Dictionary Says
The Oxford Dictionary states that diversity means:- a range of different things. A variety. An assortment. A mixture. A range. Much like my favourite box of sweets.
Daisy Tree is like a 4th baby to me. I love it for all its imperfections! It’s rarely seen as it’s located in the middle of nowhere! But the people who do notice it love it and return again and again. Much like my perfectly imperfect shop there is a sector of our society that is also sometimes rarely seen when they should be.
What Happened Next?
As mentioned at the beginning, sometimes extraordinary things just happen. I have become connected with the most determined families that have enriched my life beyond measure. I hope I will remain connected with them forever as without them my life was all the poorer.
So I am so delighted that Daisy Tree is going to be represented by a mix, a variety, a mixture, a range of babies and children. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We are all human beings that live together in our wonderfully perfectly imperfect world.