Lucy Bartlett is the founder of Bundle Beds. As a lover of travel, camping, hosting friends and family and as a mum to two boys who love sleepovers, she has a wealth of experience when it comes to all things adventure and sleep. She set up Bundle Beds to make life easier for family travel and sleep on the go.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
I started work as an intern at Gu Chocolate puds, moving on to Firefly Tonics followed by a brief stint at a marketing agency, before becoming the marketing Manager at Sipsmith. I absolutely LOVED working for small businesses and it gave me a huge urge to start my own.
I love travelling, camping, hosting friends and family and I’m a huge advocate of the fact that jam packed days, need a GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP. Since becoming a parent, sleep has become an even more precious commodity! Frustrated that portable beds were either uncomfortable or too bulky, and took ages to set up, I set out to change this by creating the Bundle Bed.
A Bundle Bed is for kids or adults. Our Toddler beds are an ideal next step on from a travel cot, and our Classic & Boosted beds make an easier alternative to a z bed, airbed or roll out mat.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
The idea for Bundle Beds came to me when I was in the Australian outback… I slept surprisingly well out there. Why? Because of my camping swag. I loved the fact that these roll-out beds were very comfortable, felt like my bed at home and were super easy to set up. The only problem was that it was flipping huge!
Then once back in the UK working as a nanny, I hosted a sleepover for five kids. It was a time consuming and exhausting process, with an awful pack down in front of five, overtired children, frazzled by a night of low-quality sleep.
The final straw came whilst on a camping trip in Wales. The airbeds of course deflated overnight and, during pack down our bedding got damp in a puddle, leaving it cold, wet and less than inviting.
ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH. IT WAS TIME FOR A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP – so the Bundle Bed was born!
How did you achieve awareness?
We launched on Kickstarter to test the concept and raise awareness before the product even launched. We created a list of close family and friends and asked them to share it with 10 of their friends. Just by doing that, we ended up with 200 really strong initial engagements. Then we contacted a number of travel & family bloggers and local & nationwide journalists with a launch press release.
We also set up social media accounts and encouraged those family and friends, along with our wider network, to share them with their contacts.
As ongoing awareness drives, we work with influencers on Instagram, and have a really fantastic PR team who send out press releases.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
We launched the business on Kickstarter initially, securing £67K to fund our first run of beds. We then had 3 angel investors committing some funds to Bundle Beds in the first year of the business for product development and growth.
For short term loans to cover larger production runs, we’ve used PayPal working capital.
What are the key successes?
Exceeding our kickstarter target of £25K (we raised £67.5K) was a huge success for us as a business, and gave us great confidence in starting.
Since then, we’ve won a number of awards from the Junior Magazine Absolute Design award to our most recent Platinum Feefo Service Award. All of which have given us huge confidence in our product and our customer service.
But our main success is the continual 5* reviews that we get from our customers, and the fact that everyone loves Bundle Beds!
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
Running a travel bed business during COVID was one of the biggest challenges that we had to face! It was also an amazing stage of life for the business as my brother Rob joined me to help overcome the hurdles that I was facing and we’re still loving working together now!
The logistics during COVID were also hard. Delays on transport meant that beds weren’t delivered on time. Letting customers know and being completely transparent meant that they were all very understanding. We used pre-orders as a way to keep our cash flow alive, and were sure to under promise and over deliver on timelines.
Brexit has meant that we can no longer easily fulfil orders to Europe, but again, this has turned into a positive and made us look into European fulfilment for this year.
What are your plans now/for the future?
Our plans have been to focus on our production, ensuring that we are making the best possible product in the most eco-friendly way, using the best materials. This year is all about growth. We’d like to expand our international fulfilment, and increase awareness both within the UK, and also Europe and Dubai.
And for the future, we’d love to develop more products that make family travel and trips away easier. Watch this space…
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
It’s fun! It’s blooming hard work but it’s hugely rewarding and although you work on it 24/7, you can juggle your time to make it work.
Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
Find someone to work with who has the skills to complement your own, or find a sounding board to bounce your ideas off giving different perspectives to your own.
Be open to advice, but also trust in your gut.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?
In all honesty, I don’t really have a top 5 list of people who I look to for inspiration.
My parents have brought me up to believe that I can do anything, but most importantly to make sure that whatever it is that I’m doing, it makes me happy.
I’m hugely lucky to be part of a group of female founded small businesses, all of whom motivate me to keep going.
My husband is incredible at allowing me to do what I’m doing through the work he does, and the time he puts into the family to allow me to work on Bundle Beds.
And I have a fab bunch of friends who are all brilliant. If I’m ever feeling like I’ve had enough and it’s all too much, they remind me what Bundle Beds is all about, how great it is and give me the kick that I need to reboot.
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
“Love your family, work super hard, live your passion.” — Gary Vaynerchuk
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” ―Walt Disney
“Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.” — Dalai Lama
What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?
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