Cottoning on to a business idea

Jenny Mortimer pictured with the KyNa Boutique clothing  (w120327-4b)
Jenny Mortimer pictured with the KyNa Boutique clothing (w120327-4b)

WHEN Jenny Mortimer’s baby son developed eczema she started to look around for organic cotton clothing for him - and was so disappointed with what she found she decided to set up her own clothes shop.

“The high street shops had very little in stock and what they did have was plain and boring,” she said.

Jenny Mortimer pictured with her son Nate Mortimer, one, with the KyNa Boutique clothing  (w120327-4c)

Jenny Mortimer pictured with her son Nate Mortimer, one, with the KyNa Boutique clothing (w120327-4c)

“I started to look online and found some great choices so I thought I would set up my own business selling them.”

Jenny, 31, of Aughton Lane, Aston, set up KyNa Boutique online last October and has been surprised at the demand.

“I thought it was just going to be a bit of a hobby but it’s really built up, I’m sending parcels out every day.”

Her son Nate, now 19 months old, has already reaped the benefits of his mum’s effort. His eczema has cleared up, and he still looks fashionable when he goes out.

“I had done some research about eczema and read that organic cotton was better because it doesn’t contain pesticides,” said Jenny, who also has a seven-year-old son Kyle.

“Even when ordinary cotton is washed the pesticides can still cause irritation.”

“Nate’s eczema is much better. He used to have a patch on his belly that we just couldn’t get rid of, and that’s gone. He only occasionally gets patches behind his knees now and that’s because it’s in the creases. When I take him out to toddler groups people are always asking me where his clothes are from, so I give them my business card!”

Jenny, whose husband Jamie, 30, helped to set up the website, received a personal endorsement from businesswoman Jacqueline Gold, who runs Ann Summers and Knickerbox.

Jenny was named by Gold as a WOW (Women on Wednesday) Winner last week, after sending her a link to the KyNa Boutique website on Twitter.

“I tweeted the message ‘allowing children with eczema to become mini fashionistas with our organic clothing store’ and she retweeted it to her 22,000 followers. I was with Kyle at his swimming lesson when all these messages started coming through.”

“Then Jacqueline Gold tweeted her own message saying ‘KyNa has a great website offering organic yet fashionable clothing for children making parents’ lives a lot easier’. I was really pleased.”

As well as having a presence on Twitter, Jenny has a KyNa Boutique Facebook page and she also writes a blog at blog.kynaboutique.co.uk.

Before having Nate she worked for an insurance company in Sheffield for 12 years, running a customer services department.

That background has stood her in good stead when dealing with her own customers now.

“I thought about the things that frustrated me when I shop online and so I decided to offer free delivery and free returns,” she said. “I take all my parcels to the Post Office in the pushchair when I’m doing the school run. I find out something about the customer so that I can put a personal message in the parcel and I wrap the items in tissue paper with ribbon round, so it looks like a gift.”

She sells clothing for the nought to five age group and said the most popular item so far has been a dinosaur top, which is also Nate’s favourite.

Jenny - who received a grant from Rotherham Youth Enterprise when she started out - has found that running her own business from home gives her more time to spend with her children, her main reason for not going back to working long hours in her office job.

She said: “Nate still has a nap in the morning so I can do some work then, and after the boys have gone to bed at 8pm I often work through until midnight. It’s hard but I didn’t want to miss out on doing things with them.”

Kyle was born prematurely at 32 weeks and Jenny will be contributing an amount from the business each year to the charity Bliss, as well as doing fundraising like a cake sale at Kyle’s school, Aston Hall.

For more details see www.kynaboutique.co.uk.