As we move into Bundle Beds' second year, we’d like to introduce you to the faces behind the Beds.
Lucy met James, a friend of her husband, at a dinner party. With the help of a paper napkin, she described her concept for a roll-up bed that didn’t skimp on comfort. James was brimming with ideas of how to make the ultimate sleep solution on-the-go, and Bundle Beds was born!
What is it about the Bundle Bed concept that made you think that this idea was 'the one'?
Lucy: When you have an idea that you love; that you can’t stop thinking about; that, whenever you tell someone else about it, they love it too, then I think that you have to go for it!
It ticked so many boxes for me personally. I’d first had the idea when sleeping in a swag at a polocrosse tournament in the Australian Outback. I LOVED the fact that the swag felt like I was in my own bed at home, but it was just too big to be a viable camping option in the UK. Having worked as a nanny, I also knew that there were very few options for kids’ sleepover beds that were easy to set up and pack away. Back in London, I was living in a very small, one bedroom, flat without a comfortable and convenient sleep option to offer to friends and family visiting…
I figured that if I was struggling with all of these things, then others must be too!
James: The Bundle Bed ticks so many boxes for so many different people - it can be used by all ages, indoors and outdoors, in so many different situations…that’s why we knew were on to something!
L: When I returned from Australia, I started working for Sipsmith London who, at the time, were a very new and small business. Working with such passionate entrepreneurs, and realising that you didn’t need to know everything to start your own business, definitely helped to push me in the right direction and start Bundle Beds.
Not only are you driving a new business, but you both have young families AND live on opposite sides of the world …
... James lives in London with his wife and 2 year old daughter Claudie, whilst Lucy lives in Brunei, South-East Asia, with her teacher husband, and two sons, 2 year old Arthur & 6 month old Dougal ...
How have you made it work?
J: We are very good at jumping on Skype or FaceTime when we need to, and are always on WhatsApp. It isn’t easy running a business from the opposite sides of the world, but it does mean we can reply to our customers and suppliers very quickly, as one of us is almost always awake, so we can basically run the business around the clock! Having a family is all part of the fun of the business, our children will be the best ambassadors for the brand as they will have been brought up surrounded by everything Bundle Beds!
L: All I can say is, thank goodness for Whats App & Skype! The world has been made a much smaller place with technology, and you can have business meetings sat in different countries and time zones with just a little bit of pre-planning.
As to family and business: have I made it work?!! There are definitely days when I don’t feel like I’ve got the balance right, but I think that’s just it... taking it one day at a time and realising that you can’t do everything! I’m still learning to do this, but I think it’s really key to compartmentalise your different areas of life – when you’re with the kids, focus on them and don’t try to work. When you’re working, don’t do it in the presence of your kids or you’ll be constantly distracted.
What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started Bundle Beds?
J: We have learnt a lot as we have gone along, and this has been part of the fun of launching the business. I guess it would have been useful to know more about the length of time it takes to source/prototype/mass-produce products in Asia before we started, but we have always tried to be realistic, underpromising and over providing with everyone we deal with.
L: SO many things! Starting a business is a steep learning curve, but I think that the main thing is to really focus on your strengths, and work to outsource those things that you can’t do to people who can.
If you weren't a Bundler what would you be doing?
J: I love to play sport, especially tennis, and coached about 10 years ago. I would probably do a bit more of that and other sports, possibly coaching in a school.
L: I loved working at Sipsmith and only left to set up Bundle Beds, so I’d probably still be there, enjoying the craziness and fast paced world of the food & drink industry!
Where in the world would be your top spot to unroll your Bundle Bed?
L: On a beach in Sri Lanka or at the top of a mountain in the Alps (probably with two duvets and a substantial set of thermals!)
J: Anywhere in Canada! What an amazing country! If I had to choose somewhere specific, it would be by the edge of Emerald Lake, with a fire burning, at sun set…heaven!
You are wild camping... what couldn't you live without?
L&J: A Bundle Bed!!! … or does that go without saying?!
J: I’m a light sleeper so my eye mask and ear plugs too.
L: I don’t think that any camping trip is complete without a campfire. I love campfire cooking - I don’t think that you can beat the light that a fire gives off and cosying up to the warmth of it just before bed is amazing … but I’m not keen on trying to start one with some kindling sticks so I think I’d need a lighter!
Can you describe each other in three words?!
Lucy about James: charming, motivated, and meticulous
James about Lucy: passionate, enthusiastic, and playful
What does the next year hold in store for Bundle Beds?
J: The expansion of the business, taking on more members of the team and growing our sales channels all over the world. Plus an expansion to the Bundle Beds range… ;-)
L: Well, my son’s been testing out a toddler bed prototype and loves it, so we might launch that to market... watch this space!