What do you if your pregnant and suddenly made redundant – well you start your own emergency ID business.
Nikki Winstanley is the powerhouse behind Tagnix – emergency ID for anybody and everybody – which she launched in 2013, based in Whitstable, Kent.
Her large range includes bracelets, dog tags, shoe tags, bag tags and watch tags in a variety of colours. Carrying identification with your ICE – In Case of Emergency – details can be important for everyone, not only those with medical conditions, but children, adults, the vulnerable or the elderly.
So whether it is running, cycling, walking your dog or for your children when you are out for the day you can have the peace of mind that if the worst happens someone knows who you are and how to reach your emergency contacts.
Nikki used to be a PA to the global heads of several departments within Pfizer pharmaceuticals, running her own team.
However, she was made redundant while on maternity leave and left wondering what to do next.
An idea for a new business, however, formed from her husband Gary’s love of triathlon. Gary, a keen triathlete with four Ironman competitions under his belt, was always either out running or cycling, training for the next race.
Nikki said: “He used to go out without any ID on him and he could be out of the house for more than five hours at a time.
“About five years ago, during one of his bike rides, a bus nearly knocked him off his bike. At that time mobile phones weren’t used as much as they are now and I thought what could have happened – he would be lying on the road with absolutely nothing on him.
“It was after that I decided to buy him some ID tags for Christmas.
“When I got made redundant I thought, actually, that’s a really good business idea and there weren’t many people out there doing it.”
So after a lot of research and scoping out the opposition, Nikki decided to go into business for herself.
But it was a steep learning curve for the mum-of-one.#
Nikki said: “I had no background in business at all – I didn’t know anything about it.
“The research we had to do was massive.
“With the laser you are making a massive investment – you are talking £4,000 for this piece of kit you have never touched before in your life.
“So it was all self-taught – but that is the side of life that I love – learning new things, especially computer programs.”
But it wasn’t just learning about lasers and how to use them to engrave the details on her Tagnix range – it was getting hold of the products themselves and bringing the elements together.
She added: “I sourced all my bracelets, all my tags – one part comes from America and another from China. “Dealing with all these new people and getting samples, deciding what we wanted to do and what we didn’t, it was such a big thing. All of it came down to research – I think it took close on two years from saying ‘right this is what we want to do’ to actually launching.”
And it is a labour of love for Nikki, who juggles her life as a mother with that of a businesswoman, manufacturer and shop floor worker.
She said: “I make everything myself in my workshop at home.
“I have got a better laser now which has allowed my productivity to be 100 times better.
“I was doing really well on the old one – it was fine, it was getting the job done, there was nothing wrong with it – but this one means that 100 per cent of the time I know what I put into it comes out exactly how I want it to look.”
Nikki believes that her customer service and interaction with the Tagnix community is what makes them stand out from the crowd.
She said: “We offer a service for clubs to put their logo on our military-style dog tags and we offer a discount for those that are on our list. I can personalise down to a millimetre, whatever people want, I am happy to accommodate. Personal customer service is probably what sets us apart.”
And Nikki isn’t sitting still as she continues to look at ways to increase her business and diversify her range. Tagnix are looking to add a new silicon band to their product list.
Nikki said: “We had feedback that people don’t want to wear something too tight or too heavy but something that just reminds them it is there and silicon wrist bands were suggested.
“We may be able to get little badges to go on them so that when you have done your marathon we can have 26.6 on there or even a club name – that is what we are researching into at the moment.
“It’s all quite exciting because it’s another way we can go.”