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Alee Pingol

There are many occupations out there that are not only challenging to do but also time consuming and exhausting. It may be safe to say, though, that one of the most challenging occupations out there is that of raising children. And when you add launching and running a company into the bargain, it becomes even more of a challenge. There are some to whom it may even seem to be nigh on impossible.

This is exactly what Helen Rankin has done, though, and she has built up an eco-friendly business that had a turnover of three million pounds in 2019 and is growing in leaps and bounds.

Helen founded Cheeky Wipes in October of 2007, heavily pregnant with baby number three. She found that all the normal baby wipes hurt her hands because of her eczema and so she set about finding a way around that by coming up with the fabulous idea of reusable baby wipes.

Helen set about solving all the issues of how to keep the wipes moist, how to package them in order to be able to carry them about, how to make them smell nice and be easy to use etc. Once she had all of that sorted, she then decided that it was time to see if she could persuade more people to use cloth wipes instead of disposables.

Founding a Company One Step at a Time

Cheeky Wipes was in the making long before Helen launched the company, though. She started making her own reusable wipes after the birth of her first child, perfecting the art through trial and error.

While spending a short span in hospital after the birth of her second child, she remembered why she disliked disposable wipes so much and so she started to play around with the idea of designing and launching a kit that would make using cloth wipes easy for all parents.

While she did have previous business experience, having run her own business before, Helen didn’t have any experience in manufacturing. Instead of letting that slow her down, she threw herself into finding a sourcing company that would help her to source all of the products she needed.

Except for the oils, that is. These she sourced herself from a company in Hampshire, as she wanted to make sure that the quality of the essential oils was just right and that the price would match consumer’s pockets.

It took roughly nine to ten months for all of the manufacturing and sourcing of Cheeky Wipes to come to fruition. Helen eventually launched Cheeky Wipes at a trade show at the NEC, being then 37 weeks pregnant with baby number three. Talk about dedication and commitment…this mom has it in droves!

More Than Just a Simple Wipe …

The innovation didn’t stop at just the wipes, though. Helen decided to launch an entire line of products, starting with the reusable baby wipes and moving on to wipes for removing make-up, cloth sanitary pads, and also period pants.

In the beginning the boxes in which the wipes were kept were just your run of the mill Tupperware containers labeled with a sticker containing the company logo, but after a few production runs Helen decided to have their own bespoke boxes made with their logo on it. All of this was done without any outside funding or income, causing quite a fair amount of stress in the beginning.

Another key aspect of Cheeky Wipes is that all the employees use one or more of the products themselves, so they are able to market them with confidence. It’s hard to market a product if you don’t believe in it or use it, but the team at Cheeky Wipes use the products on a daily basis and can therefore talk openly and honestly about them, being able to recommend the best products for each customer’s specific needs.

Everything didn’t go perfectly, though. There were production headaches with production quality not being as high of a standard as Helen wanted. And also, the struggle of converting people over to the eco-friendly way of thinking. But through it all, Helen never gave up, staying positive by always finding the silver lining despite the feeling that she was way out of her depth.

The Next Big Thing

Helen definitely found a niche and claimed it when she started Cheeky Wipes! With more people becoming aware of the effect that disposable products are having on the environment, having an eco-friendly product is definitely the way to go. The best part of it all, though, was that this whole venture was brought about through necessity. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. It sure was true in Helen’s case.

This being the case, it begs the question – what’s stopping you from taking the plunge and putting your ideas into action? Helen had many reasons why not to start her business, but she chose to focus rather on the one reason to start. That one reason soon turned into a billion reasons and is certainly accelerating in growth today.

Sometimes all it takes is the courage to see the possibilities and grab them with both hands. It takes hard work and a constant drive to improve, but it is definitely an opportunity worth taking. And it is out there for each and every one who is willing to dream big and believe in those dreams, making them a reality.

Don’t let the critics dampen your spirits. Within each person lies the seed of greatness – it’s up to every individual to decide whether or not they want to embrace that greatness, to feed it and nurture it, or to just let it lie dormant. As William Shakespeare said, there is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Take your idea, do your research, then ride the tide to the future.

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