This week I’m really excited to introduce Susie, the founder of Totter + Tumble to my Parents in Business series. If you haven’t heard of Totter + Tumble they design and make stunning playmats for your home, complimenting your interior design style and replacing the need for brightly coloured foam jigsaw slabs that always end up slipping under your feet. I speak from experience here. Susie came up with the idea after chatting with another parent, and after renovating her own kitchen she wanted a gorgeous playmat for her child.
Since then the business has gone from strength to strength, selling 30,000 playmats in two years, which is amazing, allowing Susie to have a full team of people employed in the business. I’ve loved reading, learning and hearing all about how Susie manages Totter + Tumble alongside family life, and how setting boundaries from the outset is super important.
Do have a read of Susie’s story below….
Tell me a little bit about you, your background, and your business?
I, Susie, launched Totter + Tumble in 2018 after a decade of teaching in primary schools and becoming a mum myself. From the desire to find practical yet stylish flooring, Totter + Tumble was formed on the following four founding principles: simple, stylish, supportive, safe.
Totter + Tumble is all about the idea that design and aesthetics can be combined in family interiors. We are very good at adult interiors (just look at the incredible interior publications the UK produces) and we are great at kids bedroom interiors too. But when it comes to the family space, that flexible meet in the middle living and kitchen area, there is little that meets the needs of everyone. I once had a chat with a dad at the local playground, and he told me how he avoided the living room when he came home from work as he felt their garish jigsaw playmat gave him a headache. It’s the same at the other end of the spectrum where parents and children can’t relax because of an impractical play space. Totter + Tumble makes the practical pretty.
What motivated you to set up your own business?
Out of sheer frustration! Shortly after welcoming our second child, we did some work to our kitchen to make it as family-friendly as possible. We put so much into creating a flexible space we could all use! With all the time we spent at tile shops, selecting grout, painting colour samples on the walls and agonising over kitchen cabinets, when we moved in and had to put down the jigsaw playmat we had, I nearly cried. I just wanted a playmat of better quality, that would last longer and would be comfortable for little bottoms and underfoot. My vision was one piece that is super simple to roll out, easy to wipe away crumbs and spillages, and most importantly something neutral that would blend in rather than stand out. Amazingly this didn’t exist!
How do you balance or juggle your business around family commitments?
I have a small team of employees, freelancers, and contractors who now help me, but I very much run every part of the business! Because I believe wholeheartedly in our play mats and what we stand for, I find myself thinking about it non-stop. It’s my goal to take brain breaks from it – which is a work in progress but having some excellent people on the Totter + Tumble team really helps me. With a team that I trust, I am now able to create more defined boundaries with how I spend my time and this gives me freedom to be there for my family when they need or want my attention.
What do you view as your biggest success since setting up your business?
Totter + Tumblers! In the last 2 years, Totter + Tumble playmats have joined around 30,000 families, which is far more than I ever anticipated. A tag on social media, a review, or a quick message or email to let me know they love their play mat, gives me a jolt of happiness as much today as it did on the first day.
We have started our Play Matters Donations campaign which I am extremely proud of. Our customers nominate NHS hospitals, children’s hospices, refuges and charities that have helped them and we donate mats. So far we have donated 100 and it brings me immense satisfaction to be able to give to deserving charities.
What are your top tips for anyone who is thinking about setting up their own business?
Product (or service) is king. Get that right first and don’t compromise on your brand values. Decide your boundaries before you start, it’s much harder to create boundaries on the go. If you know what your yes and no goes are before you begin it’s much easier than trying to figure it out in the moment!
Thank you so much Susie for sharing your amazing business story. I have loved featuring you and Totter + Tumble on my blog, and I wish you all the best for the future.
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Parents in Business series just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: Etta Loves, Cuddledry and Pura.