Children’s retailer born out of lockdown
Even in times of adversity entrepreneurship thrives, as is the case with the opening of a new online retailer of baby and children's items.
It was during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown that Ashley Stokes decided to turn her hand at website creation, and that led to her launching Jolie Kids Bermuda.
The online boutique currently caters for babies and children up to the age of five, and it sells toys, clothing, shoes, books and other accessories.
Mrs Stokes said: “I have a three-year-old and I found myself spending an exorbitant amount of money importing everything I needed during Covid. And talking to other parents, I discovered they had the same experience.”
She has worked at The Chef Shop, on Par-la-Ville Road, since she was a teenager, and during the lockdown used the opportunity to create a website for the shop.
“I was kind of bored during the lockdown and I thought, well we've talked about a website for some time, why not just try it? I like to keep busy, and with a lot of YouTube help it wasn't too bad,” she said.
Encouraged by the success of The Chef Shop website, she decided to make her own website for Jolie Kids. She used her experience with customs and shipping from working at The Chef Shop to create the online retail business, and also accepted helpful advice from others.
Mrs Stokes said: “Setting up a business I was clueless, but some other small businesses guided me along the way. It's nice to have a little community to help you and push you along. It's definitely been a learning curve, but it was worth it.”
Jolie Kids is trying to do business with smaller companies and “mom and pop brands with good values behind them, and high quality”.
Mrs Stokes said: “We are trying to bring in things that are actually useful, for example toys and things that are ethically sourced, old fashioned wooden toys, and toys that encourage learning of some sort.”
Awareness of the new business has been spreading through social media and word of mouth.
“We've got some really good feedback. We are trying to get people 'through the door', so if they subscribe to the newsletter they get 10 per cent off their first order.“
In addition, Jolie Kids has branched into baby registries and wishlists.
Mrs Stokes said: “Baby registries are standard, but we've decided to add birthday wishlists for those parents going to parties and struggling to find a gift.
“I often find myself taking randomly purchased gifts to a party because I just don't know what to get. Parents and kids can coordinate and create a ‘wishlist' of items, which people can shop from. We then either deliver and set them up in bulk at the event or the individual can elect to have each gift delivered to each person.”
She added: “If gifts aren't purchased but still desired, we offer 10 per cent off for a completion discount, and all gift wrapping is complimentary for these lists.”
Jolie Kids is running a giveaway competition for a toddler Banwood Bike. It can be entered by visiting the Jolie Kids Instagram page @joliekidsbermuda. The winner will be chosen on October 5.
• Jolie Kids has a website at https://joliekidsbda.com/