This week for my Parents in Business series I’m delighted to feature Emma who created Little Hotdog Watson and what an absolutely brilliant business this is. Emma has a background in Retail Buying and realised during a holiday that there were very few hats that were gender neutral. The hats that Little Hotdog Watson create are amazingly colourful, you can see for yourself by reading this blog post. One of Emma’s big moments of success was when Giovanni and Tom Fletcher shared pictures of their family wearing her hats!
To get here, it’s been a steep learning curve for Emma, and one of her top tips is never underestimate the amount of hours that you need to put into your own business. Thank you Emma for sharing your business story, read on and to see more of these fabulous hats.
Tell me a little bit about you, your background, and your business?
Hi, I’m Emma, mum to two girls H (5) and F (1) and owner of kidswear brand Little Hotdog Watson. Little Hotdog Watson focuses on bringing style and innovation together to make the best kids hats in the world. Our sun hats feature Mosquito Repellancy, UV Protection and Temperature Regulation tech and our Winter Hats are Water Resistant, Reflective and extra warm as well as looking great. We live in Norwich having moved from London the day after we came out of hospital with my eldest. Prior to setting up the business I was a Buyer for the highstreet working in menswear and my first love is product. When I’m not working on the business you can find us a family at one of our local beaches or getting creative with paints.
What were your motivations for setting up your business?
The idea for the business came to me on our first family holiday. My eldest was 3.5months old and my dreams of a beautiful first holiday (like the movies) came crashing down as I realised the sun was really hot, the bugs were really bitey, my daughter wouldn’t keep a hat on and the choice of hats available looked so gender stereo typical they just didn’t feel represented us and our values.
The driver for the business has always been my girls and making a positive change. I worked in a fashion industry that while women actually do most of the purchasing the people at the top are men. I had felt constricted by glass ceilings and this was more pronuounced when it got to how to continue in a career I love and have a family. The goal is to create a business that is flexible, that does take on challenges including gender roles. For example our hats are just that: Hats. Not for boys or girls. Just hats. No labels.
How do you balance the business around your family and childcare?
I can’t lie it’s not been easy and it’s a constant learning curve. I’m lucky that I have a very supportive husband (who also runs his own business) and we work at splitting the load equally. We also have a wonderful family close by who supports childcare. The biggest challenge is being disciplined and when I’m with the children making sure I’m not lost to my emails/social media. It means a lot of late night working when they’re in bed but it’s worth it.
Since setting up your business what’s been your biggest success to date?
There’s definitely a few moments of success that stand out. The first being seeing my first hat out in the ‘wild’ on a customer I didn’t know (not a friend or family member). When Giovanna and Tom Fletcher posted pics of their family wearing our hats was a real pinch me moment. I’m a huge fan of both of them so I felt teary. I also feel very proud of managing to grow this business. The economy is challenging, you have big business posting losses and this little biz continues to grow 🙂
What are your top tip for anyone who is thinking about setting up their own business?
The advice I always give everyone who is in the early stages is two-fold.
Research, research, research. Do your homework. Know your market, get feedback, test your idea, listen and adapt. For me looking at ideas in this detail helps to mitigate risk and makes any decision I take less stressful
I also always suggest thinking about how many hours you have to put into your business. Particularly in the early stages you will work way more hours than any full time job. It’s proper commitment so speaking to someone who has gone through it to get a realistic view is really helpful too.