This week, we interviewed David Spowart, founder of Plusher, the ultimate destination for stylish, savvy mothers and families. Proud whisky loving Scottish entrepreneur David lives with Amanda, his South African wife of 3 months and his son 7-year-old son Colby, in south east London. They’re all desperate for a pet dog!
Tell us a bit about your background and why you started Plusher?
I am a father of a 7-year-old little boy and have been working and consulting for many events and media companies over the years in a a sales and partnership capacity. I noticed there are many online destination and information resources and events to choose from, however I realised that many events did not seem to be delivering on brands and consumers expectations.
The feedback was that they were too big and and in uninspiring venues, so I launched the Plusher Show in November last year which was a coming together of a hand picked selection of brands in an architecturally stunning space with lots of activities for children and great food. The success of this then allowed us to launch the new Plusher website which as well as the show is an online destination and resource for mothers and families to allow them to connect with and discover a wonderful selection of the most innovative, trend-setting and eco-friendly products and services not typically seen and available on the high street.
You had your first event last year, which we loved; is it going to be an annual thing, and if there’s one thing you learnt, what would that be?
First of all, thank you and I am glad you enjoyed the show. Yes, it will be a staple event in the London calendar and the next one is planned for the 9th of May 2015. The reason we are not doing one this year is we wanted to concentrate on the launch of the new online version of Plusher and allow us to build up a wider reputation as the place to come for savvy, stylish mother’s and families.
I learnt lots of lessons from the first event but my biggest take away was probably the following: The original plan for the show was to have a static children’s activity area thinking that parents would be happy to have their kids entertained while they wandered off and had a look at some of the lovely stands. Parents were actually so fascinated with the activities that they just wanted to stand there and watch their little ones have fun. Next year I will have the entertainers go to the children rather than the other way around which will allow parents to be more mobile.
We love the look of your new website, what’s your favourite product?
There are so many wonderful products on the new website so it is hard to choose just one. For my own personal taste I love the Giant Alphabet Cushion from Miyu Miyu. But I am also a big fan of the toys from HoneyJam, the Wall Stickers from Lovably Me and the Cushions from My little Venture…too many to choose from!
What sets Plusher aside from any other baby show?
What sets the Plusher Show aside from other shows is the fact that it is not a jumble sale full of 1000’s of different brands but a small, unique event where the focus is very much on quality and not quantity in all respects. We also like to entertain the children while they are there, so it becomes less about a show and more about a great day out for the whole family. Although Plusher is so much more than just a show, however we have taken the same ethos of creating and finding unique products into our online version.
How many people does it take to organise such a big event?
I was personally involved in almost every aspect for the first event as I wanted to ensure that it was completely on brand. I did have some wonderful help throughout from some people that I owe a tremendous amount to. Shosh Kazab from Fuse Communications was a star and helped me to get the word out there to the right people. Carolyn Asome from The Times who put on an awesome fashion show on the day and Mia Robertson for her management of the day itself and Adam Proto and the students at Terbell Event Management who all gave up their time for free to get the event experience. By the end of the event there were around 25 people involved that without which it would not have been the success it was.
When we saw you last, you’d just gotten engaged, are you keen to start a family?
I just got married on the 21st of March to my now wife Amanda. It was a stunning wine farm wedding in South Africa. I have a son from a previous relationship and my wife and I are very keen to have some children of our own in the very near future…I will you posted!
What’s on your to-do list this week?
I have several meetings with people that are very interested in partnership with Plusher. I am also in discussions with a number of investors that are keen on making a significant investment into the business. Also speaking personally to a number of brands that would like to feature products on the new Plusher platform and be involved in next year’s show.
Who sources your products?
I get heavily involved in coming up with ideas of brands we should approach. To be honest though most of the 50 brands we already have on the new website and companies that exhibited at the show last year have found us which is a very nice position to be in. We speak to each and every one of them to ensure they are right for us and vice-versa. I don’t have one single person responsible as I like everyone involved in Plusher no matter what position they are in to feel like they can offer suggestions as to brands they love and admire. I think the key to running any business is to allow each employee a voice as to what decisions are made and why. That way they feel more valued and are more likely to be just as passionate as you are.
What’s in the pipeline for you next?
The idea of Plusher is to provide a full service destination for mothers and families. Lovely products, essential services and key information all in one inviting space. The plans in the pipeline are to expand the services side of Plusher to give specific recommendations to parents on areas such as Family friendly holiday destinations, Children’s parties, and Children’s clubs.
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
A passionate entrepreneur, husband and father that wants to leave this world a little better than I found it!