In a sneak peek of our Nov/Dec issue, we catch up with Childs Farm founder Joanna Jensen and find out how she makes it work…
What led you to come up with the idea for Childs Farm?
It came about after I had my two daughters [Mimi, eight and Bella, six]. I had been trying to use fully organic or natural products on both their skin and hair, but found that they didn’t deliver either on the problem of detangling or fragrance. Packaging for quality children’s products also looked quite medicinal, while poor-quality product oozed ‘kid appeal’ but had terrifying content. While staying at a boutique hotel back in 2010, having eyed up their great toiletries for grown ups, I decided it was time kids had great looking, fun but quality products too, which could be used on all skin types, including eczema prone skin.
Has it been plain sailing or a bit of a roller coaster?
An almighty roller coaster, but it’s more second nature now. It’s been the steepest learning curve but the most fun I’ve ever had. There have been challenges, but I think life is for living in as big a way as you can cope with – and
I think big.
How important are natural and organic products where children are concerned?
Atopic eczema affects one in five children under five now, so parents are much more aware of sensitive skin. Our skin is the largest living organ so it needs to be well treated. Children’s skin is even more delicate, so always patch test anything you use on a child. All our products undergo clinical trials so everything is suitable for eczema prone skin, for newborns and upwards.
Have you found it difficult juggling your business with a young family?
Juggling a career with being a mum is a real challenge. I try to be really strict; it’s a balancing act of time versus guilt. I was told off for working too much by Mimi the other day, and that really hit home. Once my girls are in bed I do slope back into the office or whip out the laptop in front of The Great British Bake Off!
What are your tips for someone considering doing the same?
You have to have drive, ambition and determination in spades because to make the business work you will have to throw everything into it. You need fantastic support and advice from people in the business too. I have found the results have given me more than I ever thought possible, but it’s incredibly hard work.
Your proudest achievements?
This summer Childs Farm had a trio of successful launches: three of our hero products into Waitrose, seven products into Boots, and the launch of the Childs Farm cartoon on the Cartoonito Channel. The children each have a character named after them in the cartoon – Bella is the dancing goat, and Mimi the motherly mouse. My moments of real pride are when others comment on my children’s beautiful manners and behaviour. Believe me, they can be stinkers at times, but in public they really do me proud, they’re kind, polite and thoughtful and both total individuals.
Any new products in the pipeline?
A nappy cream for happy bottoms is launching soon, as is a new gift pack. We’re currently finalising a number of new lines for 2015, which includes an SPF50 sunscreen.
What’s the first thing you think of in the morning and last thing at night?
First thing I think of is how tired I am! I would love a huge fat lie in, but my body clock has me up at 6:30am no matter what. The last thing is why didn’t I shut my bedroom door before the three whippets and cat took over the bed?
The Nov/Dec issue of Little London is out 24 Oct.