A dental hygienist whose daughter inspired her to launch a business dedicated to raising funds for key workers is looking for the world of dentistry to support the cause.
Children can be truly inspirational, as dental hygienist Victoria Bond discovered.
In April 2020, her daughter Annie (then aged six) encouraged her to purchase a pack of wooden crafting sticks. Together, they embarked on a ‘fun little project’ creating bookmarks and play puppets to raise funds for Alder Hey Hospital.
Victoria recalled: ‘I shoved them in my trolley with other ways to keep Annie entertained during lockdown. We thought we’d make a dozen bookmarks and that would be the end of it.’
Initially, each character was drawn and coloured by Annie to represent various key workers. For example nurses, doctors, police officers and firefighters.
But word spread and more and more people placed their orders – often as a ‘thank you’ to those on the front line. It quickly became a much bigger project.
Flooded with people
As a consequence, their lockdown initiative snowballed. The delightful handmade characters are now part of a thriving business that has fundraising at its heart and, out of a child’s home-schooling project, the Little Key Worker Co brand was born.
It has also earned Annie a Pride of Britain nomination as well as a Burnley mayor’s medal for her fund-raising efforts.
‘It grew its own wings naturally,’ Victoria said. ‘However we were taken by surprise by the speed of popularity.’
By the middle of 2020 she had to find a new printing company because the small local business she’d employed could no longer sustain help as their client base returned and her business continued to grow.
‘I was interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live. We appeared in the local press and suddenly our story went national. I was flooded with people looking to help keep the project going.’
As a result, she moved her business to a large Swindon-based printing house and the production line shifted, too. From packing goods on her conservatory floor to a world of high-speed printing and drop-shipping to customers.
Victoria works across two practices – Worsthorne Dental Practice in Burnley and Clavell-Bate & Nephew Dental Surgery in Whalley. She clocks-up around 30 hours a week providing dental care to her patients. But the rest of her time is dedicated to running Little Key Worker Co.
It has even caught the eye of TV celebrity doctors, Dr Ranj and Dr Zoe Williams, as Victoria continues to build the thriving business, working with a creative marketing and digital agency to help it grow, expand and engage on a far larger scale.
Its website – www.littlekeyworkerco.com – showcases the products, each one designed for every sector of key workers. That includes the dental team.
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With their simple but appealing illustrations, the range includes mugs, water bottles and notebooks as well as luxury stationary, puzzles and coasters.
Currently, money raised goes to the ELHT&Me, the official charity for the five hospitals that make up East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.
But going forward, the Little Key Worker Co website will allow customers to choose which charity their money will go to. Funds will be sent directly to them.
Victoria is still bowled over by the success of her project. She is proud that Annie has been a key part of this vision.
So what’s next? She now wants the range of products to form part of an educational tool. But the core values of the business will not wander far from its roots.
As Victoria said: ‘Our mission will always remain the same – to create happy smiles, everlasting memories and also celebrate the fantastic work of our amazing key workers whilst raising money for incredible charities.’
For more about Victoria and Annie’s fundraising initiative, visit www.littlekeyworkerco.com.
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