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22 April 2024
Szklany sufit? We własnej firmie nie ma takiego pojęcia. Jak znaleźć odwagę i zmienić życie zawodowe z pracy w korporacji na pracę na swoim.

There is no such shop 
- I will create a better one

Have you ever wondered who decides to open a children's shop, be it online or in a traditional shop?

Well, it turns out that the situation is quite typical all over the world. When I went to trade fairs abroad, or meetings with other distributors, it turned out that the theme is similar everywhere. The first child is born and the parent, most often the mother, although not necessarily, does not want to return to their current job, particularly if it is a corporation. Since the themes around which he or she now revolves are children's themes, he or she notices that there are no shops that can meet his or her requirements and the needs of his or her newborn child. So, he decides that he will create that perfect shop that is not yet in the world. Of course, this is all so that he can combine his parental responsibilities, with his professional development and the realisation of his dream of owning his own business. 

Maybe that introduction sounded a bit derisive, but it really is, and I am such an example too. After having my second child, I really didn't want to go back to corporate life and my motivation was very high to come up with something of my own. It's really rare that people who don't have children come up with the idea of a children's business! I don't even know if I have met such a client in the last 17 years.

However, since there is a common motive, there are also similar day-to-day responsibilities. It is known, for example, that a customer who owns a shop and has young children leaves work around 3 - 4 pm because he has to pick up his children from kindergarten. Even before the pandemic, it was also known that such a client often works from home, where the children's coughs and runny noses can be heard, or that he works in the evenings after he has put the children to bed. I remember that the conversations of entrepreneurs became lively in the evening :-), because for a man working on his own, it is not a disgrace, nor any insult to his honour, to write emails in the evening.

So a lot of people start such baby businesses, but unfortunately very few such businesses survive 2 years on the market. I have the impression that this is quite common in this industry. Running a children's shop is not fun, even though there are a lot of toys around, and the toy trade is not about giving all the toys to your children to play with. Sound ridiculous? Definitely! Instead, the problem is that this is how many people end up in this business. 

As most of my experience in the toy business has been in wholesale, I have learnt countless instances. the ups and downs of children's shops.

I won't go back to corporate, I will be the master of my own fate.

This is the most common motive for setting up children's shops.... I'm going to sit quietly at home with my children while running a shop. After all, what is it to run an online shop? You can do it from home, in parallel looking after the children, answering the phone, replying to emails, packing parcels and handing them out to couriers. And then you can stay up all night ordering goods. The idea is great. Worse is the execution. Today, it is no longer possible to run e-commerce on a casual basis. Those days must have been over 10 years ago. And even then, when it was possible to run such shops using the so-called garage method, it required a huge amount of time. Trying to reconcile childcare with business development is simply difficult and only some succeed. Either it's at the expense of the children - you watch a cartoon while mum works, or at the expense of sleep, working whenever the child sleeps during the day and then after the child is put to bed, i.e. at night, or at the expense of customers and the backlog. In the first year you have to give yourself a chance, in the second year too, but when the company does not make a profit, or is even at a loss all the time, but finally, somewhere in the third year of operation, there comes a moment of verification, and most often such companies close down. At this point, the so-called small Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) usually comes to an end, you may have to hire employees, because not everything can be done on your own, you have to pay Social Insurance from them, and the business stops spinning.

I'll buy my wife/partner a business, then she'll sit at home and look after the kids.

Preferably, it should be a self-employment business, one that you don't have to take care of too much, maybe a ‘toy’ business, so your wife can play with the child on occasion. People would be employed, the wife would come once in a while and inspect and take money out of the till. The husband/partner usually plays the role of sponsor - business advisor - in such a model. I've also had quite a few of these conversations over the years of working, and especially a lot of them at the end, trying to sell my business. I heard on the phone: because I want to buy a business for my wife. 

I'm going to create a dream shop, beautiful and luxurious!

Quite a few of the clients who approached me with an offer (I was a distributor of premium brands) had a dream of creating the perfect place, with a counter built to measure, and a luxurious interior that would only hold expensive toys. The made-to-measure counter was always a wake-up call for me. Someone told me that it cost £15,000 to build a counter 10 years ago. But how do you then earn the cost of maintaining such a business?

Obviously, it is best to target young, wealthy rentiers with your offer.... it's like it's best to be a young rich annuitant, but how many are there? 

It all comes down to one thing. The toy business or the children's business, it's a business like any other. You have to be able to count, you have to be extremely hard-working and resourceful. And the fact that the objects of the trade are nice, childish things that often move us or awaken childhood memories is just an add-on. Whether you sell toys or screws or cars, the mechanisms of selling work the same. Without a knowledge of the trade and self-denial, it will not work out as well selling toys as any other thing.

There are, of course, a fair number of successful companies in the industry. After all, there are multi-generational companies, especially those producing toys, where tradition is passed from father to son. It is absolutely not the case that they all fail. However, starting a business just to have more time for the children is usually a misguided idea. Without a business flair, you will not succeed. 

If you are dreaming of getting into this kind of business, give me a call or write to me and I will be happy to help you make your dreams a reality. I won't discourage you, because I myself have no regrets about my decision 17 years ago to open an online shop and distribute toys. However, it is worth asking yourself a few questions before investing your own money! 

29 April 2024
A few years ago I read a book called Diary of a Bookseller, by Shaun Bythell. I haven't refreshed my reading of it now, but what stuck in my mind
22 April 2024
Have you ever wondered who decides to open a children's shop, be it online or in a traditional shop? Well, it turns out that the situation is quite typical all
02 April 2024
I have always dreamt of running my own business. Back in high school, in the 1990s, I helped my Dad do the bookkeeping for his company. Back then, the bookkeeping


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