Meet Scott Mains; founder and Director of Big Little Dreams. Big Little Dreams aims to make a difference to the world of children’s education by creating story books and clothing that tackles important themes, like bullying, leadership and good manners, while still adding entertainment value.
Since coming to life as an online retailer in 2018, they’ve successfully sold over 500 collections online, got their range into several Australian retailers, and work with influencers to get their products seen by the right people. This is predominantly parents, family and friends of children between the ages of 2-10 years old. Scott and his co-founder have worked really hard to build the brand to what it is today, so we grab him for a chat to see how it’s gone so far.
Who are you and what brand did you start?
My name is Scott Mains. I am 24 years old, and the founder and Director of Big Little Dreams. Big Little Dreams is the combination of story books and clothing that aims to make a difference in the children’s development space. With our head office located in Brisbane, Queensland, we live by our mission statement of ‘making a difference, one book at a time’.
The target market of Big Little Dreams are the parents, family and friends of children between the ages of 2-10 years old. With our market research we noticed that the proven target audience for our product range has been new parents (dominantly female) between the ages of 25-45, living in major Australian cities down the East Coast of Australia.
To date, Big Little Dreams was birthed solely as an online retailer, on June 1st, 2018. Since then, our range is now stocked at 4 retailers in Brisbane, including Folio Books (Brisbane City, QLD), Lifestyles at Corinda (Corinda, QLD), American Book Store (Graceville, QLD) and The Book Garden (Graceville, QLD). We have supplied multiple collections to Childcare, Guardian Learning, and we donate $1.00 from every online purchase to Camp Quality.
As of the 1st of July 2019, we have sold over 500 t-shirt and book collections and continually provide parents and children with resources that help promote important morals and conversation starters for children and parents alike.
How did you come up with the idea, brand name and logo for Big Little Dreams?
Looking at children’s books in 2017-2018, all of the material was well-illustrated, eye-catching, user-engaging and well written. However, the content was driven solely for entertainment value in the majority of books. In this environment, I saw an opportunity to teach kids themes like good manners, leadership, no bullying, equality, saving money, the environment, and since the start of July 2019, multiculturalism.
All children are learning to read, so let’s add content to these books that will make a positive impact on their upbringing, and spark conversations that can make a huge impact on their development and future.
Whilst the Big Little Dreams range is still created for entertainment value, each book is embedded with key messages surrounding themes including leadership, no bullying and good manners.
Describe the process of launching Big Little Dreams?
Market research, market research, market research! Before we proceeded with the development of products, website development, design, logo, business names, bank accounts, business processes etc., we had to verify our idea with thorough market research.
This process was completed over 6 weeks with 100’s of families relating to their children’s reading habits, online buying habits, what themes should be included for children to engage with, why these particular themes, pricing expectations, book length etc.
We went directly to the market we had drafted as the TM and asked for transparent, judgement and feedback on all facets of the Big Little Dreams idea. We needed honesty and criticism to really find the want and demand for the product.
Once this was verified, we moved straight to product development which was the 6 story books around the fan favourite themes: no bullying, good manners, leadership, equality, the environment and saving money.
- All of this work was completed over a 12 week period including all artwork, t-shirt designs, book content, trusted local suppliers, graphic design material, and professional editorial involvement once all drafts were completed.
- Website creation, design, product displays, order points finalised.
- Business Plan finalised (dominantly marketing plan finalised over years 1-2 and 3).
Obstacles between the idea and official launch:
- Completing all work from 7pm-2am as both founders were working and are still working full-time for other companies.
- Agreement on story directions, multiple content changes, full stories re-written multiple times due to multiple changed ideas.
- 100 books printed with spelling mistakes, after having editors run through the book multiple times.
- T-Shirts printed incorrectly on wrong sized and coloured shirts in bulk.
Since launch, what has worked best to attract and retain customers?
Big Little Dreams is located in the Business-To-Consumer (B2C) landscape. As such, all Big Little Dreams marketing and customer support efforts are drawn towards a good product providing value to its end user.
As an E-Commerce retailer, we use Instagram, Facebook, Google Ads and Linkedin in a combination of paid, organic and influencer campaigns to place our products in front of the right people.
We use a ‘whatever it takes’ mentality when it comes to placing our products in front of the right people. We truly believe this product will benefit all children, and it is our obligation, duty and mission to get it into Australian children’s hands.
We use a unique approach to marketing by caring about our customer first. During our marketing research phase, we made it our duty to provide value throughout all of the material posted rather than a product push. Be the infomercial rather than the commercial.
How is the business doing today and what does the future look like?
- 1st Year: 500 collections sold online.
- 1st Year: Located in 4 retailers throughout Brisbane with continual sales and growth.
- 1st Year: Provided multiple collections to Guardian Childcares.
- 1st Year: Becoming corporate socially responsible by supplying $1.00 from each online purchase to Camp Quality.
What’s been the biggest learning experience since starting your own brand?
You don’t get burnt out, you lose your purpose. By this I mean you must use the purpose as the backbone behind all the work you’re doing or you won’t do it with effort, passion or your full potential.
What marketing tools do you use to run Big Little Dreams?
- Google Adwords.
- Instagram influencer campaigns - creating campaigns solely based around influencers. Budget it into your marketing plan, this is how important this currently is.
- Facebook Ads.
- Shopify Integration Platforms.
*Find full list of tools/platforms at the bottom of the page.
Who have been the most influential people for you during this business journey?
My grandfather and mentor - Paul Bardwell, Franchising Tycoon and Serial Entrepreneur.
Any advice you’d like to share for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
People expect good service, but few are willing to give it.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now or open to new investors?
Whilst we contract with key graphic design and marketing teams, we keep these contacts for specific product creation and launches.
We are always open to discuss with investors as we see a bright future for Big Little Dreams and investors confidence plus financial interests.