This week for my Mums in Business series I’m really excited to be featuring Patricia who is the co-founder of VeeLoop which is an online payment system allowing kids and teens to shop online safely whilst giving their parents control, as you (the parent) has to approve everything in the basket before it is purchased – sounds perfect. What I love about this, is that it starts to introduce children to the value of money.
Patricia’s values about her business and family life are spot on, and her top tips are enough to inspire anyone who has a business idea to go for it. This is a brilliant interview and I hope that you agree….
Tell me a little bit about you, your background and VeeLoop?
I am originally from Brazil and moved to the UK 18 years ago.
My career has been very varied, I started in advertising and Marketing, worked in local government, going from funding project manager to business development helping the council comercilise. I then moved to management consulting whilst I completed a master’s in business.
After I had my son (he is now 5) I decided to do freelance projects to give me the flexibility around my son working for both big corporates as well as startups. Around that time Randa put an ad on our local facebook page looking for someone to help with VeeLoop. We got on really well and I really enjoyed driving and pushing the company forward with Randa, that’s when we decided to become partners.
Our business is VeeLoop; it’s an online payment service to enable kids and teens to shop online safely whilst giving parents visibility and control. The teenager fills up a basket, sends it to the parent – in their own time the parent checks the basket, approves or rejects items and completes the purchase. It is convenient (parents can review orders on their phones) and safe as we take away the need for the child/teen to share data online.
Today’s kids and teens are tech savvy, they are very competent at searching and finding what they want online, they frequently visit online shopping sites. However, their online shopping is restricted; the main reason is most kids lack access to a payment method. The second reason is even when they have a payment card parents worry about them sharing data online.
We plan to add a range of digital money management tools, such as an allowance, to help parents introduce their kids to virtual money and guide them through today’s online world. Our vision is for VeeLoop to become the main online payment method for young people and the one stop for parents to approve teens’ orders from multiple retailers with the convenience of one checkout journey.
We were very excited to launch VeeLoop with feelunique.com – Europe’s largest online beauty retailer last week and our partnership was featured in Essential Retail.
Prior to that we launched our pilot with the merchandise shop of Youtube star, author and actress Carrie Hope Fletcher – The Hopeful Shop and a lovely handmade hair accessories shop (Beauxoxo).
What were your motivations for setting up VeeLoop?
Randa, my business partner got the idea for VeeLoop as she was frustrated with constantly being followed around the house with a laptop to complete online purchases for her teen daughter. Randa thought: “Why can’t Layla send me that basket and I look through it in my own time?”. When she did market research she found that the teenage payment market was massively under served which gave her the motivation to start VeeLoop
Quickly after joining VeeLoop I got really passionate about how we can help families navigate and guide their kids in the digital world and help them develop better financial skills. I always wanted to start my own business so when the opportunity came to become part of VeeLoop I took it! A bounce was that Randa and I worked really well together and our skills totally complimented each other.
My motivation is to able to build my life and business around my values, learn new skills, be creative and also be challenged (the tech world was new to me so I am always having to adapt- I can even do a few lines of code now!). It’s also great to be free to shape my job (whenever possible, accounting and admin still need to to be done!) and do the things that I enjoy.
How do you balance the business around family and childcare?
We work flexibly so it’s easier to fit around family and children, especially as we work close to home so I can drop off my son to school most days and get him from after school club. Then I finish any work after he goes to bed. At times it feels like you are always working – we are never shy of working evenings or weekends, which I don’t mind because I feel it’s a choice I made since its my company i’m growing.
We want to build a company that is family friendly so other parents can find more flexible and fulfilling work.
Since setting up the business what’s been your biggest success to date?
It was securing our first retailer and launching the pilot – it was such a great feeling and very proud moment. It took a little longer than we expected to launch and we had to overcome some challenges we didn’t expect but it was all worth once the service went live and people could actually use it. Now we are working to build our retailer partnerships so we can get all the shops that kids and teens love!
What’s your top tip for Mums who are thinking about setting up their own business?
It is scary to start up on your own but take the first step and start working on your business. The amount of work feels daunting but, take that first step and you will see that things start happening.
Be kind to yourself as things won’t go as planned all the time, they mostly don’t go as you planned; learn from mistakes and move on. Sometimes it feels like we are not making any progress but, again, take a step back to reflect on all you have achieved, that motivates you to keep going!
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Mums in Business series just drop me an email: email@example.com. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: Wild Tribe Hereos, Little Beau Sheep, and The Individualist.