Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Aly from Rainy Day Box Co

Remember those boring days as kids when the rain would pour all day meaning you couldn’t go outside and play? Well, we certainly do, and the boredom that was inflicted upon us during those times is not something we’re keen to recall.

Recently this age-old problem of finding something to do with the kids on bad weather days was remedied by a wonderful startup entrepreneur The Rainy Day Box Co. Created by mumtrepreneur Aly Cranston, the rainy day boxes are a sure fire way to get the kids crafting and smiling regardless of the rubbish British weather.

We were lucky enough to get a chance to sit down with Aly last week in order better understand her exciting new business and find out what the future holds for her brand.

CR: Hello Aly. How are you feeling today?

AC: Good thanks! A little tired I guess but I’m pretty sure every mum says that.

CR: I’m sure. So, if you had to summarise the Rainy Day Box Company, to someone who knew nothing about it, how would you do it?

AC: Boredom busting activity boxes for kids is what we like to say. Because that’s basically what it is in a nutshell! We’re all about fun, and giving kids a variety of things to do in a box.

The whole company started out as something for me and my son to do on those rainy days. He was never really stuck on one thing when it came to play time, so that’s why I came up with the idea of having all these things in one box, so mums can have a jam packed day of fun without having to source things from loads of different places.

How did you go from that initial great idea, to beginning to take the first big steps towards making your idea a business?

It was my dad actually. I’ve always bounced ideas off him and one of those ideas was The Rainy Day Box Company. He didn’t make much of it when I told him initially, but then I got a phone call from him one day saying “You know your kids box idea Aly? I’ve Goggled it and I can’t find anything like it all!” From that moment on he’s totally believed in the company and talks about it to everyone.

From there he invested in me by giving me a start-up loan and also aided my search to find someone to brand the box. So it’s been a family thing from day one.

CR: So what have the reactions been like so far from the mums who have bought your boxes? And more importantly, I guess, how have the kids been reacting?

AC: We get such lovely feedback from mums on Facebook towards our main boxes.  It’s really great to see those positive responses towards what we do.

With our letterbox club subscription service, which is our small boxes that can go through the letterbox, we have a lot of pictures come back of the kids faces when their box came through. Which is always good for a laugh. We interact with these members an awful lot, as knowing how the kids are reacting to the boxes, and getting that key customer feedback, is really important to us going forward.

CR: The subscription model is a huge business that is growing at an incredible rate, with everything from food subscriptions, to make-up, to books. Overall, how do you see your brand fitting in that marketplace?

It really is growing scarily fast isn’t?

Well, for our specific subscription service, we’re by far the best value around and we want to stay that way. Our boxes should be for everyone and not just people with lots disposable income.

We always say to mums “If you can afford a Pepper Pig magazine once a week, you can easily afford one of our boxes.” So it’s all about putting it in easily relatable frameworks like that. So mums don’t get scared at the idea of how much it might cost and if they can afford it.

CR: Your boxes are really focused on the grass roots feeling of kids creating and making things. With that in mind, how do you feel about the battle between the more ‘old fashioned’ toys that are on the market compared more tech based activities for kids on devices like iPads?

I think it’s simple really. If your child can swipe an iPad before he can hold a pen, you need to address that issue and make a change. There is nothing wrong with kids using technology, as it can definitely benefit their learning, but you have to make sure your child is still keeping up with the basics every child needs to learn.

We could definitely play with the idea of a Rainy Day Box app in the future. But if I’m honest, I just don’t think it’s for us.

We love the idea of parents being as involved as possible with their kids when they’re playing. And with our boxes, compared to an iPhone app for instance, they can be alongside them and help them along the way in a much easier fashion. Whether it’s baking, drawing or playing simple board games it’s all about the basics and just having fun with your kids.

CR: The design of the box and branding is something that you’ve obviously taken a lot of time and effort on. How did all those components come together?

Well I knew what I wanted right away and I think that’s really important for young brands developing their brand image. If you’re unsure on that you’re going to struggle down the line without a doubt.

I wanted the box to feel very British. Hence why we went with weather.  We have plenty of rainy days here don’t we? So I wanted to capture that mood with our box design in a sense.

Basically, we tried to go down a road that was quite traditional  yet still very bright and playful. We were heavily inspired by Japanese logo design, with the bright, almost out of this world colours. So that mixed with the traditional British feeling is what fuelled the creative vision for the boxes.

CR: So where do you see the future of your brand?

I think one of the major things for us is collaboration. We’d love to feature other craft or toy companies in our boxes in order to improve the experience for the mums and kids.

Our cookie mix is a collaborative effort as it comes from katie bakes who provides the cake mix party bags for our boxes. I know how much the kids love making those cakes, and I know I couldn’t make those cake mix bags myself,  so straight away I saw the inherent value of collaborating with other brands.

CR: So if you had to pick one ‘dream brand’ to collaborate with who would it be?

Gosh I have so many brands I’d love to work with! I’m a big fan of Seedlings. They make little super hero capes which are really cool. Also a brand like Orchard Games would be great to collaborate with, as they always have the best games around in my opinion. We really just want to work with small businesses to be honest, as I feel the most organic collaborations happen when brands who are on the same level come together.

CR: So what are your ‘Take Over The World Plans?’

I’d love to have my  own store one day for my brand. It’d be like a ‘Build-a-Box’ store where kids can come and choose everything they want to include in their rainy day box. The space would be really open to other brands as well. Everything from brands that run craft parties in the space, to a coffee station that is run by an young coffee brand. That’s the dream. A big happy collaborative space.