Building a brand that appeals to both children and parents isn’t easy. We caught up with Paul Lindley, founder of Ella’s Kitchen and Paddy’s Bathroom to find out more about how they did it…
“The idea and motivation for both Ella’s Kitchen and Paddy’s Bathroom sprung from a combination of factors,” he says. “Both businesses are fundamentally driven by my belief that business can be an incredible force for social good.”
Lindley’s mission and motivation behind Ella’s Kitchen, his range of children’s food, was to tackle the health crisis in the UK through helping children to develop healthy relationships with food.
Similarly, Paddy’s Bathroom was founded based on parents’ concerns about the ingredients in in bath products for toddlers and the impact that they could be having on children’s skin.
“A big influence was my experience as a dad,” he admits. “As a parent you are in an excellent position to notice gaps in the market, and if you’re lucky, a market in the gap!
“My experiences drove every part of brand development from product creation to marketing – creating genuine authenticity and a story parents can relate and connect to.”
Lindley says that the most important decision they made when creating the brand was to think like the customer – a toddler. “We approach every decision from a child’s point of view, designing products that are multisensory – genuinely appealing to every sense.
“We take simple, natural ingredients and combine them in unusual ways that create new tastes, smells and textures that are hugely appealing to children, then we put them inside packaging that they can own themselves and wrap everything in a brand that emotionally connects and can be trusted.”
He says that this gives them the edge over other businesses. “No-one else is creating products that are genuinely created from ‘child first’ viewpoint.
“It’s an approach that has cascaded throughout our company culture too; as an organisation we commit to being open, honest, imaginative, playful and genuine in everything we do. Branding is most effective when it works inside and out.”
The multisensory approach and child-focused branding and marketing have been vital to Ella’s Kitchen and Paddy’s Bathroom success with young children – right down to their first Ella’s Kitchen product being named ‘The Red One’ by Lindley’s son Paddy during trials. But what about parents? How does Lindley make sure that his brand is also appealing to the people who are going to put their hand in their pockets to pay for it?
“A big advantage for us was that, when we began Ella’s Kitchen, I was really living the problems faced by young parents,” he explains. “I knew and understood the battle that mealtime and bath time can be, and our products are innately sensitive and responsive to them. That was vital to our success.”
However, it’s parents’ loyalty to brands that they trust that has really boosted Lindley’s businesses. “We’ve made sure that our branding is authentic, relatable and consistent at every touch point, from product to advertising, to customer interaction,” he says. “Our commitment to running purpose-led businesses has also played a vital role in our brand loyalty. Parents are not just loyal to our brand – they have become ambassadors for it.
“Parents increasingly want to buy from businesses whose values reflect their own. Parents know when they buy from Ella’s that we’re committed to the highest possible standards, from our environmental impact to our social impact, transparency and internal governance.”