Business with a mission. Sounds like a nice aim, but of course it is not 'as said, so done'. That's why we asked our founder Julie to give us a look at how she experiences entrepreneurship. What advice has helped her a lot, what have been the great learning moments and what ambitions does she have for the future? You can read it all below.
Introducing yourself: who are you and why did you start Tiny Library?
I am Julie, mother of 3 small children and I live in Bussum. I really like being in nature and doing sports. After all the pregnancies and post-partums I can finally do everything sports again, I enjoy that immensely. I started Tiny Library under the name Baby Exchangerie, out of my own surprise and confusion that when you have children you need so many things and that there are few sustainable alternatives. Marktplaats took me a lot of time and was often very disappointing, plus that as a new mother you have no idea what to look out for. That's how the idea was born.
What advice about entrepreneurship has helped you a lot?
Just do it! Take the first step and work from there. You cannot see everything in advance. Starting and learning, that has helped me a lot. In addition, someone also once used as a metaphor that you have a dot on the horizon, so you know where you are going, but you can only see 100 meters ahead because it is so foggy. That's how entrepreneurship often feels. It's really hard to look beyond 3 months, because it all depends on what you need and where you are. So I often keep that in mind.
What has been a great learning moment for you?
Every day I learn new things, that's what I like about entrepreneurship. In the first few years I was too much in the service of my own company and forgot myself, while strangely enough I myself am one of the largest assets of the organization. So it is important that I stay good in my energy, so that I can give all the energy. It didn't help that it was corona, that the turnover was disappointing and that I had to do work that I actually didn't like at all and was not good at. I did learn from that. I am now trying to set up the organization in such a way that it serves me and gives me energy.
What do you think the baby market should look like in 10 years?
In 10 years I expect that second-hand/refurbished and rental will have a very large share in the baby market. I think that only a small percentage buys real products new, that this is actually 'not done'. I also expect that the products will then be of much higher quality, that they will last longer and that individual parts will be easy to obtain. As far as I'm concerned, innovation should be based on quality and sustainable materials. An infrastructure of repair/refurbishment centers, shops with spare parts and service concepts will be created around this.
What ambition do you have for Tiny Library?
I see Tiny Library as the Prénatal-as-a-service. An online department store like bol.com with everything you need for your baby and children for a fixed price per month. I see even more service components in this, such as informative sessions, workshops, but also a butler service that brings your things home and collects them again. Everything to provide the conscious parent with the right information and sustainable options.
Who or which company is an example for you and why?
The Next Closet. Cool what they have accomplished by sharing your wardrobe. They have really made it easier to buy second-hand clothes and thus stimulate sustainable buying behaviour. Very inspiring!
What is a success for TL that you are proud of?
That we have connected great partners such as Bugaboo, Easywalker, BabyPlanet and BeSafe. These collaborations really make a difference versus other parties who share the same mission. This allows us to scale up quickly and use the knowledge and expertise of these brands.
What tip would you give to someone who also wants to start a business?
Dream big! Because everything is possible, if you just believe in it.