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This one goes out to Stacey...

Two years ago, I was on one of the best holidays I've ever had. We went to Portugal - Danny, Joey and I. We went with two of our closest friends and their son too. It was just what we needed; and it's something I look back on so fondly (even more so now!).

During that holiday, something special happened. My phone pinged just after I'd tucked into my breakfast, and after the first ping.. I got a tonne more. It was my WhatsApp going CRAZY. Why was it going crazy? Because Stacey Solomon was about to change my business and my life.

Stacey posted on her Insta stories that her and Rex were enjoying some sensory play that day, using one of the rattles included in the Premium Sensory Box for Babies that I'd sent her a few weeks before! It made me feel so happy that they were playing with their toys and having some crucial Mum and son bonding time.

At the time, I was considering closing my business; as I wasn't getting the growth and success that I was hoping for. I was seeing a dip. But, thanks to Stacey, that all changed. A couple of weeks later, Stacey tagged me in her stories, and we had a few messages back and forth about including a box in a giveaway. Not only was I completely starstruck (sorry for fan-girling, Stace!), but I was blown away with how normal and sincere Stacey was. Overnight, I had HUNDREDS of orders, and I went into panic mode. I was having to put delays on orders, I was having to panic order stock, and call in help from family and friends to help me get orders fulfilled.

This day is so firmly etched on my mind as we were celebrating Danny's 5 years in remission from cancer. We had a family BBQ and my phone was pinging whilst we were all already so emotional about how different our lives were at that point, compared to the years before.

Off the back of the success that I saw after Stacey's tag etc, as well as making hundreds of customers happy, it all went a bit crazy... local press were interested, it gained me a nomination and subsequent 'finalist' place in the Nottinghamshire Live Women in Business Awards, AND a 'highly commended' award in the Baby Awards.

It just goes to show that sometimes, when you think things aren't going how you expect, all it can take is one message, one tag, one mention, one heartfelt conversation... and everything can change.

I'll be forever grateful for Stacey, and all the influencers that have been involved with me since then. What some influencers can do for small businesses is absolutely incredible. Their passion for helping small businesses grow, for sharing their recommendations with their followers... is now part of many business plans up and down the country. When I was studying my business degree, 'social media' was hardly even a thing! And now it's a key component of lots of sales strategies.

So, a big thank you to Stacey, thank you for making me believe in my business again. Thank you for the sincere words you gave about how much you enjoyed your box. Thank you for supporting small businesses!

Here's hoping Little Miss Pickle will also enjoy sensory play once she's here!

Lauren, Danny, Joey & Zack x

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