Graduates: Mark Nicholls and Paul Maurice
Course: BSc Marketing (Mark, graduated 2006) and BSc Engineering Product Design (Paul, graduated 2007)
Company: The Little Green Sheep
A luxury baby brand with an entirely organic and natural range of baby bedtime products, based on the simple idea of offering parents and babies the best in nursery night-times for a natural night's sleep.
How did you get started?
Since an early age I have always had passion for business, and as a graduate at a large corporate firm, I discovered that starting my own business was something that I really wanted to do.
The idea for The Little Green Sheep really came about after visiting some competitor retailers. I was shocked by the poor levels of customer service and quality of products, especially given that having a baby is such an important life changing moment in someone life! I decided that parents could benefit from a retailer and brand which was solely focused on offering the best baby bedtime products, and who are experts in their field.
I genuinely love what I do, and so I don’t really consider any part of my day as being tough. However, if I had to saying something, I would say the overall pressure and responsibility involved in running a business is probably the hardest part about my day.
How has your time at Aston helped you and your business?
Both me and Paul look back with extreme fondness of our time at Aston Uni and we still have ties at the university. We both took part in a placement year which helped us gain confidence and gave us an invaluable insight into business. Business we feel is all about applying the theory learnt in lectures and so I was pleased to hear and be involved in the launch of Aston Entrepreneurs which I would encourage every business student to take part in.
How is the business going and how are you finding being an entrepreneur?
The Little Green Sheep has now been trading for over four years and we have achieved fast growth despite the economic climate (we will double our net profit and increase turnover 25%). The brand now has an extensive range of over 100 products and 300 SKUs and this year we are excited to be launching to the trade, supplying independent and national retail stores across the country.
Our best moment so far was moving to our current premises back in 2008. It may sound like a small insignificant thing but from starting up at home, to then moving to a dedicated office and warehouse facility, made us very proud and happy. It also gave us the platform to build the brand and grow rapidly.