Interview with Melissa Roberts, Founder of kidcrowd

We caught up with Melissa Roberts, founder of kidcrowd, to talk all things from reducing the number of unwanted gifts that end up in landfill to starting a business during lockdown…

Tell us about kidcrowd

kidcrowd is an online gifting platform built to tackle the issue of unwanted gifts in the UK. The platform can be accessed via any online browser, and it allows parents to create a page for their child, add in a message about what their child is saving for, add an image of their child, and then the system generates a unique link that parents can send out to their child’s friends and family, ahead of their birthday.

This enables gift-givers to securely contribute towards a larger, more meaningful gift, which they know the recipient will love. This inevitably makes gift-giving easier for parents and more enjoyable for children, while teaching children the value of money versus the cost of goods.

kidcrowd aims to take away the awkwardness of gifting money in a card and reduce the 5.1 billion tonnes of unwanted gifts that end up in a landfill.

How did you come up with the idea for Kidcrowd

I have a lot of older friends, who all have kids between the ages of two and 15. I started to pick up on the fact that they were all complaining about the same thing – their children’s birthday parties.

The main complaint was that after their child’s birthday party, they would find that their house would be full of plastic that was then never played with. The parents in my social circle would talk about how they felt guilty that friends had spent money on their child, but that it really had gone to waste.

This brought me back to my own experiences as a child, my parents could never afford to buy me the gift I would have really liked. But, I still got given lots of smaller gifts, that I didn’t use.

My entrepreneurial mindset got me thinking about a way that we could give gifts differently. With a background in digital marketing and web development, I used my knowledge, resources, and skills to create a basic platform to start changing the way we give gifts.

What advice would you give to other young people looking to start a business during lockdown?

When starting any business (post-lock-down or not), it’s important to make sure it’s something you’re passionate about. The passion is what will get you through the difficult days, so you have to make sure you tap into that passion from day one.

Whilst a small number of people have one-hit wonders, most businesses don’t take off overnight. The short term results of an action and the long term results of that same action are typically different – so stick at it! It’s important to be patient and stick at it in order for your business to be successful.

A side hustle is the best way to ensure you have enough capital to live while building your business – I worked as a takeaway driver at night, and my business partner was a gardener throughout the day when we started our first business! If you are worried about money when you start your business, it’s going to be difficult to reach your full potential.

Finally, stay in your lane and stick to what you’re good at. Everyone is good at something, so figure out what that is and maximise the opportunities that it brings.

What does the future hold for Kidcrowd?

We’re on a mission to change the way the world gives gifts. We want to make kidcrowd a reality in all UK households, and eventually, worldwide so that we can reduce the unnecessary gifting wastage, and teach children to be better with money.
This means we need to build our platform to support the buying habits and needs of parents and children. Whilst we have a product roadmap, we’re collating data and feedback from our users so we can see what their wants and needs are.

I’d also want to see kidcrowd grow within Kirklees and create job opportunities for other local tech enthusiasts.