Couple launch hamper business with £350 to turnover £100,000 in one year | Personal Finance | Finance

Jill and Mark

‘We launched our hamper business with £350 and turned over £100,000 in one year’ (Image: Jill Henderson)

A couple from Lancashire turned over six figures in one year after launching a hamper business on .

Inspired by to become , Jill, 37, and Mark Henderson, 39, say they found a “gap in the market” during their journey into parenthood after experiencing the challenge of finding the “perfect gift” for mums and little ones.

Mrs Henderson told “Ever since watching the first episode of Dragon’s Den as a teenager sat on my parent’s sofa, I knew it was my dream to become an entrepreneur. But life took over, and it was only after deep reflection when starting a family that I actually took steps to make it a reality.

“We launched BUSHBABY while I was on maternity leave in September 2020, driven by a deep yearning to strike a better work-life balance for our family. We were both working long workdays, and putting our two young daughters in childcare for nine to 10 hours a day wasn’t how we pictured family life. We felt a strong need to spend more quality time with Willow and Jessica.

“Additionally, being new parents ourselves, we understood the challenge of finding the perfect gift for new mums and their little ones and knew there was a gap in the market.”

Jill and Mark standing with Bushbaby products

Jill and Mark, who have just reached their 35,000th customer, say the accomplishment is “fantastic” (Image: Jill Henderson)

Ms Henderson said the high street offerings were often “generic” and “mass-produced” and didn’t resonate with the couple.

She said: “We felt they didn’t truly represent the joyous occasion or convey the heartfelt message you want to send to new mums. We wanted to provide something unique and thoughtful that could cater to both the mother and baby within one curated package.”

The couple invested £350 from their personal savings to start out. Ms Henderson said: “We designed our first gift, and worked with other UK businesses to source the items. All our start-up money was put towards materials.”

The first gift was a simple bear comfort blanket, presented in a pop-up gift box tied with a ribbon.

Additionally, Ms Henderson said: “We included a card reading ‘A new star is born’, which people were able to write their own personal message on the back of. Initially, we produced 60 of these items, and we found ourselves with some leftover materials due to the minimum order quantities set by our suppliers.

BUSHBABY hamper for a newborn

The duo has persisted in reinvesting “everything” into the business to expand the gift range (Image: Jill Henderson)

“After the initial success, we decided to double our ordering for the next four months.”

The pair used their iPhones to take pictures of the products and a free editing tool to produce the marketing material.

Ms Henderson said: “We captured some amazing lifestyle photos and had great fun with baby Jessica along the way! It clearly worked as we quickly made our first sale. The feedback from our customers was just amazing and it felt wonderful to have produced a gift that was loved by both mum and baby.”

Ms Henderson said customers loved the BUSHBABY hampers “so much” that they initially struggled to keep up with demand.

She said: “We honestly didn’t expect the business to take off as quickly as it did. We didn’t expect to make a sale without advertising, but a few days after the listing went live on Amazon we made our first sale, and then another and another. It was so exciting!”

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The duo has persisted in reinvesting “everything” into the business to expand the gift range. Ms Henderson said: “We started with a single gift and now have a whole range of beautiful and unique presents to choose from. In 2022, we started to develop our vegan and organic hampers including luxury, natural cosmetics, handmade in the UK and specifically formulated for babies, as well as ethically sourced toys.

“Everything is sustainably sourced and packaged. We are just putting the final touches to our new earth-friendly mum-to-be box, with our new teddies being 100 percent recycled from plastic bottles -and they are still super soft and cuddly!”

The couple managed to turn over £100,000 in their first year in business and are steadily growing.

Ms Henderson said: “We started [the business] on Amazon, and Amazon continues to be our largest platform. It’s just so convenient for our customers. Where else can you get something truly unique and special with same-day delivery?”

The couple has since welcomed a new team member to help out and now has their own website.

Ms Henderson added: “We are [also] regular exhibitors at national The Baby and Toddler shows. But Amazon remains by far our biggest platform.

“Setting up on Amazon was relatively straightforward as there are loads of resources available to direct you to what you need. Amazon has given us access to a huge audience that we as a small business would never normally be able to reach.

“The main perk for us is the flexibility of Fulfilment by Amazon. They take care of the storing, packaging and shipping of products which is what we needed to be able to juggle creating the business while continuing our nine-fives, all while caring for our family.

“We can work at times that are flexible and convenient around all the other commitments in our lives. As our business grows, we are closer to our goal of financial independence and flexible life.”

Ms Henderson added: “Believe in yourself and product. When you have confidence in your abilities and believe in the value of your product, it’s powerful. It not only drives you but also makes it more engaging and appealing for potential customers.”


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