29 Nov RainSplats rebooting kids footwear (UK)
RainSplats: Rainbow Hart and Amy Gowan (UK)
North London Mum’s Rainbow Hart and Amy Gowan started rainSplats footwear in 2011. “I had the idea brewing for months…I wanted to design an alternative to heavy wellington boots”, says co-founder Hart.
A mother of three, Hart had previously worked as a jewellery designer. A dedicated customer base and rave reviews in Vogue magazine made the business a success, but with the birth of her second child things had to change. After a brief maternity leave Hart launched a vintage clothing boutique that again proved popular – but the idea of creating waterproof boots for children just wouldn’t go away. “It became a bit of an obsession’, says Hart. “Everything else went out of the window.”
The first Splats boot took shape in her living room. “I didn’t really know anything about waterproof tech and membranes, but one morning I just sat down and started drawing,” says Hart. What emerged from initial sketches was a flexible soled shoe with a waterproof squash-able sock. Armed with a pair of scissors, an anorak and a plimsoll she got to work designing the prototype.
Rainbow approached friend and fellow Mum Amy Gowan with a business idea and a sketch of the prototype boot, “I ‘m going to try and do this are you up for it? she asked Gowan. “She (Gowan) kind of rolled her eyes at me and said go on then all right”, says Hart. That was 4 years ago.
Hart’s lightweight boot is genius. How many parents have seen their child stuck on a wire fence unable to dislodge a foot stuck in the wire mesh? Rainbow took that observation and ran with it all the way to the drawing board, the factory and beyond. Like all innovators Hart and Gowan have harnassed technology to create a solution to a modern day problem. The rainSplat is Darwin’s theory applied to footwear -an evolved welly that has adapted to the needs of predominantly urban kids that need manouverability.
The Mumpreneurs have created a waterproof boot that doesn’t make your feet sweat and won’t take up the entire wardrobe. Non slip souls, reflective safety trims, velcro straps and a wide range of groovy colours are just some of the features for parents to get excited by.
It’s no surprise then that the rainSplat boot received heaps of positive feedback from industry professionals. “I didn’t get any of the harsh knock-backs that other start-ups experience,” says Hart. RainSplat’s seed funding came from close friends and family. And after 18 months of trading the company has remained self-funded. “What’s difficult is finding the right partnerships”, says Hart. “We are quite small and we want to work with nice people. Not people that are obsessed with growth and results”, she says.
The future is looking bright for the North London Mum’s who ‘didn’t intend’ to be business women. The boots are selling in their thousands; distribution deals with John Lewis and Fenwicks have cemented rainSplats reputation as a quality product. And the recent partnership with Anglo/Swedish company Kozi Kidz further signals their expansion into European and North American markets. Next year they will expand their product range with the addition of sunSplats and snowSplats.
The RainSplats profile doesn’t fit into conventional business models – two Mum’s with six children between them? But through an obsessive dedication – support from loved ones – and belief in their product they have revolutionised children’s footwear for the better.
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