Tell us a bit about your business?
Asthma Peeps is the result of my passion for Asthma education for parents and children. We have created a range of products aimed to help parents teach their children to effectively communicate about their Asthma symptoms and medication.
Why did you start up your business?
Asthma Peeps was launched 2012 following a personal experience that saw my own daughter hospitalised for almost a week after a serious asthma attack just days before her sixth birthday.
She had been diagnosed with mild asthma in 2011. We had begun the usual preventative asthma medications using an inhaler and spacer. We did well for a few months. However, our daughter started to hate her medication. The inhaler and spacer were large. They were obvious medical-style equipment and they singled her out. To avoid fights, we became relaxed. We decreased the asthma medication to an ‘emergency’ response, rather than an everyday activity. She seemed fine, had no symptoms and we avoided arguments.
In autumn 2012 our daughter had a severe cold. Throughout the night she began to cough, her skin took on a bluish hue, and she told us she was scared. Then she started having serious trouble breathing. We spent three days in Emergency in the most horrible of situations.
Asthma Peeps was created when we vowed to take asthma management seriously. We were no longer going to be flexible about her asthma medication. We needed a way to help her accept her asthma and make it something she could cope with throughout her life.
The Asthma Peeps characters were designed to reflect our daughter’s personality. She is a happy unique, vibrant and bright girl. She loves silliness and she very much loves stickers
If Asthma Peeps can make asthma medication and management easier for families, and help children embrace their condition in fun and positive way, we’ve made something that makes us all smile.
What are the major hurdles you experienced when starting up your business?
When we first founded Asthma Peeps our first hurdle was finding an Australian printer that could produce kiss-cut stickers cost effectively. We are a small business so ensuring our product was cost effective was very important, but also ensuring that we stayed within Australia was incredibly important to us as well.
We also struggled with leading the way with creating awareness within our niche market (parents with children living with asthma). Being the first of its kind product meant that we were educating our consumers and creating the demand for the product. We realised early on that the best way to achieve this was through alliances with large organisations, but even then creating awareness around our product on a shoestring budget was tough!
What tips can you give other SavvySME members that are thinking or in the process of starting up their business?
Dream big, but be realistic about the amount of time, money and personal determination it takes to get something off the ground.... It’s a lot!
I also learnt not to be afraid to ask for something... if you don’t ask the answer is defiantly NO, but if you do ask you may be very surprised with the answer.
Surround yourself with experts, you can’t do and/or be good at everything! Start by deciding where you time is most valuable in being spent and find someone else to do the rest, it will save your sanity!!
My biggest piece of advice is to think outside the square and do things in a "non-traditional " way... The Internet and social media has been a real game changer for small business
What made you decide to take the jump and focus on your business?
Through my own personal experiences, I found that there was a need for the products that Asthma Peeps provides, and I truly believe in our products!
Our products can make a "real" difference to improving asthma management amongst young children in Australia, which ultimately helps reduce hospital admissions
How did you family and friends react?
Our friends and family reacted with cartwheels and cheers, well maybe not literally, but I am so lucky to be surrounded by the most encouraging and supportive people imaginable!
How has your life changed?
In a word, Busier! However I have also learnt to be more selective about what I spend my time on both in the business and personally ... Work/life balance is hugely important to me.
What success have you experienced since starting your business?
We have worked hard to align Asthma Peeps with some of the leading consumer health authorities in Australia. Our most recent success has seen Asthma Peeps create a partnership with Asthma Australia, and has resulted in our self published book The Trouble with Bear Hugs, A Story About Asthma , entering its second print run with co-branding from Asthma Australia
What is the vision for your business going forward?
2013 is a big year for Asthma Peeps; we are working on expanding the product range to include another children's book and an interactive iPad book.
We are able now to also look more closed for targeted promotional activities for the early childcare sector and wholesale partnership/distribution of the entire product range.
Through the development of additional partnerships/endorsements from leading health authorities, I would love to see out the year knowing that our products are EVERYWHERE
What tips can you give other SavvySME about motivating yourself to push through the challenges that rise up while building your start-up?
There will ALWAYS be challenges, and it is important to remember that the challenges are a good thing because it keeps you on your toes! But when things don’t go the way you expect try looking at it from a different perspective, your attitude and reaction to things has the ability to change EVERYTHING....
Oh and my final tip is GET ENOUGH SLEEP!!! I know that’s not motivational, but its very important! There comes a point when too much lack of sleep will make everything go pear shaped VERY quickly and you ability to make rational decision diminishes... and your brain will be incapable of creatively thinking how you can turn a negative into a positive.
As part of Asthma Peeps partnership with Asthma Australia, $1 from every purchase made via the website is donated to Asthma Australia.