In this chapter of Start-Up Stories we got to know Von Sy, creator of Nimble, who chats to us about his child-friendly home cleaning products!
When did you create Nimble?
Nimble was officially founded in Feb 2014, six months after I left my previous job as a chemist and project manager at a consumer goods company.
After working on the business for 18 months – branding, product development, manufacturing – I’ve finally managed to launch our first product in Sep 2015. Our first product is Nimble Milk Buster, a multi-award winning and patented baby bottle cleaner that removes yucky milk residues from bottles, leaving them free from cloudiness and smelly odour.
What products do you provide?
At Nimble, we make child-friendly household cleaning products to help parents clean up after their messy little ones. We understand that kids create mess all the time. And the mess they make is quite unique to that age e.g. milk stains, poo, pee, food stains, so parents need cleaning products especially made for that purpose.
What motivated you to create a business?
I got inspired to create our first product when my sister complained about her baby’s bottles being so hard to clean. I thought she was just being sloppy with her bottle washing (yes, I was a mean little brother) but when I did my research, I found out that 80% of mums experience this problem. So after realising that it is a real problem that parents face, then I took it upon me to invent a solution. Since inventing Milk Buster, I have then expanded our product range to make Nimble have a range of cleaning products. Having a range, rather than a single product, helps in establishing a more sustainable business as well as a more credible brand.
How did you decide on the name?
The official story is that I was looking for a name that embodied what I want people will view my products – agile, flexible, smart. So when I looked on the thesaurus, the word ‘nimble’ came up and I thought it sounded good and rolls out of the tongue pretty well.
“The background story is that the word ‘nimble’ got stuck in my head after watching the Strictly Come Dancing series in 2012.”
It was when Kimberley Walsh from Girls Aloud did so well in one dance that she got dubbed as ‘Nimble Kimble’ and since then I thought that word is very nice. Now you can see why I don’t tell this story a lot to the public!
What’s it like to be a part of the Nimble family?
I’ve had the privilege of hiring 3 members of staff in the last year who are helping me out in marketing and operations. I’d like to believe that being part of the Nimble family is a lot of fun and meaning. It’s fun because each day is never the same and one can learn so much with all the daily challenges we face as a start-up. It’s meaningful because as a founder, I endeavor that the team gets developed professionally as they work for Nimble.
I also value the power of feedback – positive or not – because I believe that this is key to a good professional relationship which will make us work as a great team.
Why should we be buying your products?
I’m not really a big fan of a hard sell, so the short answer is that you don’t really need to. But if you are a parent who is looking for cleaning products that will help you make cleaning chores less of a bore and a bit more fun, then Nimble is the right brand for you. Our cleaning products are specifically made to tackle the unique mess that young kids make. Plus it’s made with plant-based ingredients, so it’s good for the environment too.
What’s been your biggest hurdle so far, how did you overcome it?
The biggest hurdle I’ve had so far fundraising. I started and launched the business using savings from myself and my wife. After a few months, it’s become apparent that the business will need more money for it to grow, so I needed to raise funds from investors.
“It was really challenging because, for the first time, I literally had no clue on what to do.”
In the end, it took me 12 months to secure the funding I needed, and this was after getting turned down so many times. I almost gave up at some point because it was just going nowhere. What kept me going was that I was getting little victories – either an order or getting a government grant – during the times when I feel the lowest. Took those victories as a sign to keep calm and carry on.
I’m sure you’ve had many wonderful moments, which would you say has been the best since you started Nimble?
The sweetest moment so far has been from a mum, who is one of our loyal customers. Her child was using a special formula milk free from allergens but this milk was a lot thicker and smellier than the normal formula. She was so desperate because her little baby was already not feeding as much compared to others her age. The last thing she wanted to happen was for her baby not to feed well because of cloudy and smelly bottles. So when she discovered and used Nimble Milk Buster, her bottles have become free from the thick milk residues. And having clean bottles every time meant that she felt assured that her child was getting the nourishment she needed.
Where can people find your pure products?
You can buy our products on our online store, www.nimblebabies.com.
They are also sold on Ocado, Amazon, and Kiddicare!
What does the future hold for Nimble?
It’s a very exciting year for Nimble! We are adding 2 new products – Sticky Stopper and Laundry Lover – in our range. We are also growing our UK distribution as we enter high street retail stores by the summer. We are also entering new export markets to add to our distribution in China, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Czech Republic and the Middle East.
Be sure to check out Nimble’s awesome products, we can’t wait to see all the good they’ve done in a years time!