How I'd use £5,000 to grow my business: Jennifer Duthie, Skribbies

Meet Jennifer Duthie, founder of Skribbies and #Pitch2Rich semi-finalist. She’s competing for the opportunity to pitch her business idea to Richard Branson and win £5,000 investment to grow Skribbies, you can vote for her to win, here. In this blog, Jennifer explains what difference £5,000 would make to her business. This is the average amount entrepreneurs ask for when they come to Virgin StartUp for funding.

I am Jennifer Duthie, a young(ish) 28-year-old entrepreneur from Blackpool, in the North West. I started my career in the corporate world working for Microsoft, Porsche and Lehman Brothers. After losing my job when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt my path to becoming an entrepreneur began.

Skribbies is a brand of footwear that children can customise every day from new. Using the special pens and stickers, kids can draw all over their shoes then wipe it off and start again creating their own unique style. Draw-Wipe-Draw. Simple. Every pair of shoes comes with a pack of 6 pens, monster stickers and a wristband with a pen loop.

The idea for Skribbies came when I was reminiscing about fabric painting t-shirts when I was a kid. It struck me that it would be very cool to be able to draw on your shoes and wipe the drawings off. After researching the market and realizing no similar product existed 18 months of design and development began.

Why we need funding 

We would spend the prize on attending several trade/consumer fairs over the coming months. These fairs will have a huge impact on our business as it will allow us to directly engage with wholesale and international customers that we need to secure orders, gain critical brand exposure and grow.

Like any startup managing cash flow is a constant challenge and often you cannot take advantage of amazing opportunities because there simply is no spare cash. Trade fairs can be expensive to participate in so the £5000 would allow us to invest in activities that will directly lead to growth. Our plans would be to participate in Moda Footwear, Spirit of Christmas, Pitti Immagine Bimbo and GDS Dusseldorf. As we are part of the UKTI passport to export programme we would make the funding work twice as hard for us as we are eligible for matched funding. This means we get a grant of half the value of our outlay back on specific projects we have approval for. With Skribbies this prize package will go further and really have a significant impact on the business. Without the prize funding from Pitch 2 Rich we probably would not be able to take part in the trade fairs and consumer shopping fairs we would love to do in 2014. The prize will help take us from a small web based brand to a British high street and internationally stocked brand.

As an entrepreneur I have taught myself as many skills as possible, such as video editing, graphic design, web design and coding, so the company can be as lean and frugal as possible. We don’t need the funding for a new website or social media as we do this ourselves. We would make this money really go as far as possible creating a solid ROI. We also plan to take you on the journey with us through our blog and video blogging.

Skribbies is a cool product with huge aspirations. We’re at the start of an incredible journey and would love you to be part of it!! Please vote for us!