MOTHER and entrepreneur Helen Thomson came up with the idea for her latest business venture, The Nursery Paint Company, when she was pregnant with her first child.
Mrs Thomson, 36, has launched what she claims to be the first ever chemical and volatile organic compound (VOC) free, antibacterial nursery paint made from soya beans.
Mrs Thomson and her husband, George, decided to move house when they discovered she was expecting. Six weeks before Fletcher’s birth, Mrs Thompson found herself decorating her son’s nursery.
She said: “There we were painting away and I said to my husband, I’m not sure this can be right. I went on the internet and started reading about volatile organic compounds (VOCs).”
Mrs Thomson explained: “The majority of paints are made from petrochemicals and the fumes are quite toxic. You shouldn’t be breathing them in at the best of times.”
She added: “Most paints have VOCs in them. Even some paints that use natural resins and natural dyes still have VOCs in them.
“VOCs have been linked to breathing problems, asthma and headaches, and have been known to be a trigger for ADHD. They are also linked to premature birth and childhood leukaemia.”
Mrs Thomson said: “At the time there wasn’t a lot on the market so we ended up getting it from Germany.
“Then I just kept thinking we need to be looking at doing a paint. We wanted to provide a natural choice for people.”
She got in touch with Green Earth Paints, in Doncaster, which now manufactures the paints for The Nursery Paint Company, as she knew they were making soya based paint.
Mrs Thomson said: “We thought about the fact that we could make paint antibacterial by putting silver in.”
She said: “When the kids get cuts we always spray them with colloidal silver. I knew the properties of silver and how amazing it was. To put it in a paint was exceptional.”
Mrs Thomson added: “There are other VOC free paints available. I’m not claiming we are the first at all. But they are not antibacterial.”
The Nursery Paint Company has now collaborated with children’s clothing shop Olive Loves Alfie, whose founder, Ashlyn Gibson, has come up with colours for an older children’s range.
The new range of paints is being launched in January, adding an extra 12 colours to The Nursery Paint’s existing 20.
The Nursery Paint Company already supplies stockists across the UK including Honey Jam in London, Spit Spot Babies in Norfolk, and Baby Business, in Wirral.
Mrs Thomson said: “We’ve had loads of wholesale enquiries. We are still small. And coming from a retail background, I know customer service is hugely important. I don’t want to say yes to everyone and then not be able to provide the service. We want to take things slowly.”
Mrs Thomson, whose children, Fletcher and Purdy, are now five and two respectively, said “without a doubt” the company will have to take on more staff next year.
She said: “Ideally we’ll get someone on the road seeing all our retailers and then obviously more office staff.”
Currently, Mrs Thomson is the director and Lucy Morris, her business partner, is the creative manager.
Kate Sleight, who manages Mrs Thomson’s other business, Bawtry Natural Health and Therapy Centre, helps out with The Nursery Paint Company too.
Mrs Thomson said there has been interest from Saudi Arabia, Greece and Germany.
But she added: “What we need to do is make sure we do this country well first of all. At the end of the day we are a small company and we have to be realistic.”
Mrs Thomson said: “It’s been brilliant. I keep having to pinch myself. The reception we’ve had has been amazing.”