How one mom’s challenge became a thriving small business

When Brittany Cuttler shares the story behind Little Bear, two things are immediately apparent. First, when South Africans are faced with a challenge, they step up their game. In Brittany’s own words, Little Bear was born during the Covid lockdown – just like so many other little businesses.

What can we learn from this? It’s simple. We have a natural entrepreneurial spirit and when we’re stuck at home (and feeling anxious, isolated and possibly not in control of the world around us), our natural response is to find a problem that we can solve. And voilà – today there are a lot of small businesses than a few years ago.

Second, the best products are the result of three things: experience, a clear problem that needs to be solved and the ability to connect the dots.

It’s a lesson we love at Sasfin. There will always be challenges, opportunities and solutions, but businesses are born when someone is not only able to recognise the challenge but come up with a solution that they can then take to the world.

In Brittany’s case, as a brand-new mother, she was struggling at bath time, which her baby son did not enjoy. Refusing to accept that bath times would be so traumatic, she started thinking about solutions. Those thoughts became a baby bath time lilo that she designed and sewed as a solution to her problem. Her son loved it, and she documented her journey on Instagram.

Here’s the thing about solving a personal problem though – if you have it, chances are someone else does too, and in Brittany’s case, that were a lot of ‘someones’. Friends were soon asking where she had bought the lilo, and so she sewed a few as gifts. And just like that, word of mouth spread, and Brittany had a business.

Today, Little Bear can be found in some of South Africa’s largest retailers as well as online, and Brittany’s product catalogue is growing. But her story still comes down to that crucial lesson – find a problem, create a solution, and take it to market. Yes, business is far more complex than that, but you’ll never reach the complexities of growth if you don’t just start.

For Brittany’s full story, watch the full video here:

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About the Author

Reshmi Bhala
Marketing & Communications Business Partner, Sasfin Business & Commercial Banking