COZIGO FOUNDER EMMA LOVELL SHARES HER STARTUP WISDOM
24 January 2017, Written by Lin Evlin
WHEN CoziGo founder, Emma Lovell, decided she wanted to make a sleep and sun cover for strollers and airline bassinets, she did not really know what kind of a ride she was in for.
"I had absolutely no production experience, no retail experience or design background and no contacts in the industry. I can't draw either so it was really hard to describe an idea that was just in my head," Lovell (pictured) says.
So she set out to make a box about the size of a bassinet, used plumbers tubing and fabric from Spotlight together with double sided tape (as she did not know how to sew) to make her very first prototype.
She confesses, "The first prototype photographs are pretty embarrassing."
Despite this, Lovell had something which she could at least, show to people to help them understand her product idea.
Fast-forward about 5 years and Lovell has her CoziGo (formerly Fly Babee) products stocked in major retailers such as Baby Bunting and Baby Kingdom as well as online. CoziGo was also featured on Shark Tank where Boost Juice founder Janine Allis agreed to invest $75,000 in her business, and her company has won numerous accolades including the Wholesale Business of the Year prize at the 2016 My Optus Business Awards.
Lovell spoke to Business News Australia about her experiences with honesty and candour and she made no bones about the challenges and multiple setbacks she encountered on her entrepreneurial journey.
Steer clear of one-stop startup agencies
Her first testing encounter was when she found a one-stop shop agency for startups looking for trademarks, patents, design and manufacturing assistance.
Be careful with your approach to manufacturing in China
However, she quickly found that dealing with Chinese manufacturers was not a cakewalk and she cautions new start-ups or inventors to be careful when dealing with Chinese manufacturers particularly when it comes to quality control.
Quality control is key
Just after appearing on Shark Tank and advising the judges that she was stock ready, she discovered that her first shipment of stock was full of unusable product.
Believe in yourself
"When you passed a certain line, you've put too much time, effort and money into it, you just have to keep going.