Wednesday, 20 October 2010

A day in the life of a Tight wearing Tyke!

Like mother, like son. Every morning in this house starts in the same way. A nice cup of tea! Toddler Tyke adopted this routine several months ago. Not that you can really call his ‘tea’, more like milk with a hint of tea but he likes it all the same.

Mornings are always busy, whether it be swimming, play dates, tumble tots, baby and toddler group or a day at nursery, we seem to do a lot of rushing around. Time to get dressed and Toddler Tyke is already developing his own sense of style. He will quite readily tell me what he is or is not prepared to wear, usually by throwing offending garments on to the floor. Today was relatively easy, TT only pausing to ponder the merits of aeroplane tights over sports tights. He chose the aeroplanes.

After a hasty breakfast, we don our coats and set off with the buggy, to our new toddler group. En route, we collect a little buddy and accompanying nanny. Toddler Tyke has boundless energy which we try to use up in the mornings. Whilst he runs off to be the first to find the toy screwdriver, I settle down to chat with the other mummys. Today, I saw a look of horror and disgust at the mere mention of boy’s tights. I know that some people don’t ‘get it’ but really! Just 5 minutes later, my faith in Tykes Tights was restored when another mummy announced that not only would she be placing an order with me, but she had cancelled her own tights delivery from Germany(courtesy of her mother who lives there). Success!

Quick dash home in the rain and time for lunch. Ask Toddler Tyke what he would like on his sandwich and the answer is always the same – choc choc. Hmmmm, chocolate spread. I blame my mother for this, although my husband blames me for passing sweet tooth genes onto our son. With the blatant lack of choc choc in the larder, banana sandwich and yoghurt is the order of the day.

By 1 o’clock, Toddler Tyke has had enough and it is off to his cot for a nap. Cue much rushing around by mummy Tyke who uses this time to process orders from the website, answer emails, sort stock and try to catch up with the housework.

Once awake, cuddled and watered, Toddler Tyke is ready to start the second part of his day. This often includes a walk to the post office with a return trip via the ‘gark’ to play on the swings. Today’s weather has been bitterly cold and I am sure that Toddler Tyke is enjoying the comfort of warm little leggies.

After helping mummy to prepare dinner (and taste testing everything first!), it’s time to wait for daddy before sitting down to eat. By this point of the day, trousers have usually been flung to one side and Toddler Tyke is enjoying the freedom of movement without denim constraints. No cold leggies though as those aeroplanes are still doing a great job.

We don’t have 6 o’clock in this house. We have rough and tumble time. At least Toddler and Daddy Tyke do. I stay out of the way! From the safety of the kitchen, I often listen to shrieks of laughter and squeals of delight mixed in with several lion roars or tickle fingers. Only when it goes quiet, do I dare to venture into the lion’s den.

Half past six, calm restored, milk consumed and the all important question of the day answered – are we riding the Ninky Nonk or the Pinky Ponk, Toddler Tyke climbs the stairs ready for his bath and bed. By seven o’clock all is quiet. Toddler Tyke chatting sleepily to his teddies, Mummy Tyke heading for the lap top to catch up on orders and Daddy Tyke opening the much needed ‘Plinky Plonk Juice’! Our Tykes day is done. Ready to start all over again in the morning. Ready to choose between the pirate tights or the cars. I wonder…

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Tights for boys at last!

Yay! It has been a month now since we launched Tykes Tights and began our mission to bring warm legs to the young male population of Britain and I am totally relieved to say that month 1 was a success!

We even attended our first baby show and met some fantastic people. Whoever said tights for boys was a silly idea, should have taken a look at the hoardes of people surrounding our stall and flinging their cash in my direction (ok, it might not have been quite like that but I like the image it creates). It was, however, a very successful day and one of our first steps into getting Tykes Tights on the map.

We have got lots more to look forward to this month too, with more baby shows, our joint leaflet being printed and some more stock being added to the website.

Tykes Tights has turned out to be a real family affair. Mr Tyke was fab at chatting to all the customers at the baby show, and persuading the daddies that tights rock. Toddler Tyke has been hard at work too on the advertising. His major role last week was to wear his aeroplane and football tights at different social occasions. He made quite sure that fellow tumble tots got a good peek at his legwear before our last session!

Did you know that we also have knee socks for boys? They are currently on our facebook shop but will hopefully be making an appearance in a range of sizes on our main site very soon. BTW, shipping via our fb shop is free!

So, Tykes Tights have been released from their plastic prison and are loose on the streets of Britain. Keep your eyes peeled, those fab socks worn by that boy in the buggy might actually go all the way up!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Back to school

September the first has always been one of those dates that you don’t look forward to. September the first signifies the end of the summer break and the start of the madness at work. My husband packed his school bag, cleaned his shoes and ironed his shirts ready for this momentous date. Where does the summer go?

Although not returning to teaching this year, September the first was still a date etched into my mind. Throughout August, every time I thought about September the first, I felt those familiar feelings – nervousness, anxiousness, excitement, with a hint of anticipation. The same things I have been feeling for the last 13 years. Only this time, my husband was the only one going back to school.

September the first was the first day of Tykes Tights. The day we opened our virtual doors to the public and invited them in for a browse. The day we started to sell tights for boys. (and quite predictably, the sunniest and warmest day for quite a while!)

What do you do the day your website goes live? As tempting as it is to sit there watching your computer, waiting for that all important message to arrive stating that an order has been made, I just couldn’t do it. My stomach was churning. At least in the classroom, I am in control. Now, I have none. I can’t force people to buy my tights, no matter how many lesson plans I write or how many detention threats I issue! My solution – walk. I packed Toddler Tyke into his buggy and walked. We walked miles! We walked and walked. Well I walked, Toddler Tyke sat. After a play on the swings and slide, we walked some more. In fact we would still be walking had our stomachs not reminded us that lunchtime was around the corner. We walked home.

The feeling you get when that very first order is made is fantastic! Similar to the feeling you get when you have spent half a lesson explaining something over and over and the child suddenly ‘gets’ it. Within seconds of the order coming through, I was printing off an invoice and packaging it up. After lunch, we walked. We walked the 2 miles to the post office and back. I had to send off my first order. Very important to give speedy service to my customers.

September the first wasn’t without its problems. The night before, my wonderful web designer had been up half the night sorting out issues that had arisen at the eleventh hour. I expected teething problems and by gum, have we had some (sorry Jodie!). I am still learning.

I may not have returned to the classroom this year, but with the learning curve I am currently on, I am definitely back at school.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

1 week to go!

Eek! It’s only 1 week until the launch of Tykes Tights! I had imagined that by this point, all of the stock would be sitting neatly stacked in perfectly labelled boxes and I would be twiddling my thumbs waiting for that first order to come through. Oh dear! The truth is that I am a long way off from that point. All of my paperwork – y type of stuff is done (I think) and the TT facebook page has done a great job of spreading the word. I have had several people contact me and ask if they could pre-order which I am absolutely delighted about. I just wish I knew that it would all be alright on the night.

Stock is my biggest issue. What good is a shop that has no stock? I have some stock but none of it is tights. After several phone calls today, I know that I have one box of stock on its way from Germany, another on the road somewhere between here and Poland and a third being put together ready for shipment somewhere else in Germany. Once shipped, it is anyone’s guess how long it will take. 3 – 4 days is the estimate, that’s assuming that customs don’t sit on it for days. So why has it taken me the whole of the summer holidays to get my stock here? The great British banking system. I had a few grey hairs before this summer. I have lots now.

Right, enough of the moaning. This is supposed to be a positive experience. And it is. I am learning bucket-loads by the day and I am sure everything will run smoothly once I know how to make the system work for me. The printing press is whirring away producing flyers, I DO have stock on the way and I WILL be ready for the 1st September. I have a wonderful following of mums who are excited about buying my tights and I can’t wait to see my tights get out there where they should be!

Watch out Britain, boy’s tights are on the way!!!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Are you there Gwen?

Just over 2 weeks until our grand launch and I'm starting to panic. What have I done? What if I am sat here on the 1st September waiting for things to whirr into life and they don't? What if all the stock sat in my spare room is still sat there weeks later, still boxed up and untouched? What if it just doesn't happen?

There are far bigger and far worse things in life to worry about. I know that. I need to keep it all in perspective. I need to get a grip and get confident. If you don't believe you will succeed, you won't. I will.

It's all go here behind the scenes. Stock is winging it's way here from the deepest, darkest depths of Europe. Word is being spread. Contacts are being made. I have even tamed the bank into finally doing what I ask.

On a personal front, days have been hard work. Teething Tyke has not been giving us an easy time. At least the sun is shining and he has been able to run around Nanny's garden and tire himself out.

I found out the other day that Gwen Stefani dresses her boys in tights. I can't find photographic evidence which is a shame but apparently it is true! Maybe I should send her a couple of pairs? If your reading this Gwen, call me!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Brick Walls

I knew when I started this venture, that I would come across people who find it hard to imagine boys in tights. As blogged previously, I have received no end of strange looks when explaining my business plans. This whole venture isn’t about sexuality. I’m not dressing boys in pink frilly dresses and putting bows in their hair. That would provide no function whatsoever. I am purely taking boy's clothing back to its roots. Back to a time when items of dress where for practicality, not just about fashion.

I knew that I would be taking on stereotypes. I knew that I would come across naivety and prejudice. It makes me sad.

For every odd look or sarcastic comment, I am truly grateful for the messages of support that I receive each and every day. The number of people who have messaged me to tell me what a fantastic idea Tykes Tights is, and the people who tell me that they put their boys in tights but keep the girly designs well hidden! So many words of encouragement to keep me going.

Whilst I am making an Oscar style speech, the biggest encouragement has come from family. Not just my blood and marital relatives, but my ‘extended’ 30something family. The girls who have helped me to make decisions right from day one, from logo design, name choices and web design. Thank you.

A wise man once told me that I will come across brick walls. These brick walls would be difficult to knock down, but once down, they would stay down and my path would be easier. I am knocking down several walls a day, but I look behind me and there they are, crumbled piles of brick to brush to one side.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The waiting game

At the moment all I seem to be doing is waiting. I am quite an impatient person, no, I am a very impatient person. I want everything done yesterday but I guess I just have to wait like everyone else.
Today I spent my time waiting for my first delivery of stock to arrive. I waited and waited and waited. Did I mention that I am impatient? Finally, when I could bare it no longer, I made a phone call. I dread to think what the man on the other end of the line was thinking when I demanded to know where my delivery was. In the end, he humoured me by giving me a tracking number so that I could look on line. There it was in black and white - estimated delivery between 3:32 and 4:32. Well, this was about 4:20. By about 4:23 and after plenty of curtain twitching, my husband sent me upstairs to change the boy's nappy. The nursery is at the back of the house. The driveway is at the front. Now, how cruel can a man get. Needless to say, it was at this point that the driver turned up. Typical. Cue the fastest nappy change known to man and me running out the back door, bare feet, rushing to meet the delivery driver like he was an old, long-lost friend. My first box of stock has landed!
At this point, being extremely proud of my first delivery, I would normally post a picture of said box so that you could all revel in my delight, however after a recent trip to the beach, my camera has gone on strike. It has been consumed by sand and I fear will never shoot again.
Tonight, when the little man is in bed, I will no doubt empty my new box of it's contents, then fill it up again. Leave it 5 minutes and start the process again, making myself familiar with my new purchases and soaking it all in. A tad obsessive - maybe? But my box of goodies is my first real life symbol of what lies ahead. I need to be obsessive!
Tykes Tights seems to be getting a good following now, especially since I started this blog and began tweeting. I am a twit, according to my husband.
This morning, I had a lovely message from a lady who is a journo up north. She wanted to film me as a new mumpreneur starting up. She wanted to know if I lived up north too. How I cried! I want to be filmed!!!
The waiting starts again. I have 2 more boxes of stock on the way. My poor husband!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Why Tykes Tights?

I haven't really gone into much detail yet about Tykes Tights and I thought it was probably about time. Things seem to be moving along full steam ahead. I had a very productive phone call last night with my wonderful web designer and am getting everything put together for the web site. One of those documents is the 'About Me' page. I thought I would share it with you ( a little sneak preview!) so that you get to see the thinking behind the site:

The idea of Tykes Tights was born last winter when I really struggled to get tights for my baby boy. Most places that did sell them, wouldn't ship to the UK and a lot of tights in shops come in pairs, a nice plain pair and a floral or sparkly pair. I'm not so sure that flowers or sparkles would suit my boisterous son!

Why boy's tights?
Any mum who has played the 'how many times can I remove my socks' game will be half way there. Why should it be that only girls get to have warm snuggly legs throughout the winter? Even with the nicest fluffy lined trousers, a gust of wind up those trouser legs or sitting still in the buggy for a while is bound to create a chill. Socks don't always cust it (even if you manage to find a pair that stay on!)

I guess my journey into boy's tights started about 18 years ago when I was an au-pair for a lovely family in Germany. As in many mainland European countries, tights are worn equally by boys and girls, and the variety and choice is wonderful. My youngest charge wore tights throughout the winter and it didn't once occur to me that it was in any way odd, just sensible. All of his little friends wore tights too and they all had lovely warm legs! Fast forward then to last winter and my attempts to keep my child warm and comfortable in what had been one of the hardest winters for a long time.
And so it all began...

When I talk to people about Tykes Tights, I either get a knowing smile (from those with family or friends abroad), or mostly confused and embarrassed faces. What? Tights for a BOY? That can't be right.
Just to put your mind at ease, wearing tights will not have an effect upon your son's sexuality (can you believe that some people actually think that!). In fact, tights belonged to boys long before they became a staple of every little girl's wardrobe. Think Henry VIII for example.

On our site, you will find a wide range of tights specifically for baby and toddler boys as well as a large range of girl's tights for your little princesses. Take a look around and see what you think. If you are not quite ready to take the plunge into boy's tights, why not give huggalugs as try instead?

So, that's it! Time to revolutionise thinking in Britain. Time to bring warm legs to our male population! Today Britain, tomorrow the world!!!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Things are starting to happen!

Last Thursday marked the end of an era. I finished my last day as a teacher and left the school ready to embark upon my new adventure and of course, to spend more time with the little man. I don't feel sad, I just feel ready. I am sure that I will return to teaching one day, but for now, it is not the right place for me. There are far too many exciting things happening right now.

The first day of the holidays also brought the news that my VAT number had finally been granted. Tykes Tights is now a legitimate business and ready to get going! I put through my first few stock orders over the weekend. I can't wait til they arrive! I don't think any of this will feel completely real until I have the stock in my hands! It's all so exciting. I think there are about 5 weeks til the website goes live but oh so much to do in that time! I am very lucky that my wonderful husband is around over the summer to give me a bit of time and space to get on top of my 'to-do' list.

Item one - done. Off to see what else is on the list...

Friday, 16 July 2010

Ok, where do I start?

The whole world seems to be blogging so I thought it was about time I started too! I'm not quite sure why I am blogging. I am in the process of setting up a new business so that I can work from home and that is what my blog will be based upon. That and my favourite topic, my son.
Am I blogging to get loads of people buying from my site? Probably. Although I am not too convinced that anyone will actually read this, let alone visit my site and purchase anything. Am I blogging in order to satisfy the world's curiosity and 'nosey' factor? Again, probably! Blogging seems to be such a great way to get to learn about someone/thing that you may never have come across in an unblogging society. Am I blogging in order to get stuff out of my head so that it doesn't keep me awake at night? Most definitely!
So, where do I start?
A bit about me I guess. I'm Emma. 36 next month (yikes! how did that happen?), mum to wonderful TJ aged 15 months and devoted wife to G. After 13 years in the classroom, I am ready to hang up my teaching hat and affix my mummy hat very firmly to my head. I am also getting ready for the launch of my internet business, but more about that another day.
For those who have stumbled across me, hello and welcome. It's nice to 'meet' you! Well done for reading this far! Please pop back some time and I will hopefully have had the chance to do a proper blog and have more news about the business.