Kigu is one of the first companies in Britain to bring Japanese animal onesies to the country.
The entrepreneurial journey
After graduating from the University of Sussex, Thomas knew that he wanted to set up a business. It was a friend’s trip to Japan that inspired the idea for Kigu.
“Back in 2009, a friend of mine, Nick, brought some animal costumes back with him from a trip to Japan. I thought they were absolutely amazing and I fell in love with the product. I did some research and found out they were called ‘kigurumi’ and you couldn’t get them anywhere, except for Japan!”
Thomas and Nick soon realised they could bring kigurumi to the UK.
From East to West
After bringing over 300 costumes from Japan and developing a website, they started trading on a small scale. After achieving success they sought help from the Bright Ideas Trust to grow their business.
“Bright Ideas Trust has put us in touch with some inspiring, experienced and helpful business people who have guided me through the growth of the business.”
However, like most young entrepreneurs they faced various obstacles.
“It was challenging finding the best supplier and persuading them to work with us. I don’t think we’ve made any big mistakes yet, but being messed around by big retailers has hurt us on several occasions”.
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Big plans for the future
With turnover expected to reach £2 million this year, Kigu’s products can be found on their site and in retailers such as Urban Outfitters and ASOS. Showing no signs of slowing down, they plan to keep building on their successes.
“I’d love to have a physical shop, a wide range of Kigu products being stocked around the world and for the brand to become known to all those ‘in the know’.”
- Don’t rely too much on specific customers – always seek to grow your base.
- Start small and do a period of test trading to see if your idea works.
- Have a five year plan and try your best to achieve it.