Launching a business from lockdown

January 19, 2021
November 7, 2023

2020 was a year like no other to say the least, bringing hardships and struggles that no-one had anticipated.  It might at first seem like a strange time to launch a new business from lockdown, but that is what I, along with a huge number of other people, did.  I called my new venture Book and Play and this is the story of how it all began.

To mark the passing of time during lockdown and furlough I would buy and wrap a new book each week for my daughter, which we would read together in our garden shed.  We both really enjoyed ‘Book Day’ and it would spark activity ideas for the rest of the week to keep us both entertained.  This was the beginnings of the idea for Book and Play’ as when I looked for a book subscription service like this, there just wasn’t one.  I wanted to offer amazing books, including diverse and inclusive titles along with play ideas and gifts every month at an affordable price, so Book and Play was born!  I wanted to make it easy for parents like me to have brilliant books and themed activities delivered to their door, so they could concentrate on having fun with their little ones while building up a magical library that lasts.

A love of books

With no commute I had a short amount of time everyday which was now freed up and being furloughed had given me a stark reminder that no-one is professionally indispensable!  I had a little bit of time each morning to create and launch a new business which would bring myself and my family added security as well as potentially more time with my little one in the future, should it become successful.  I have always loved reading and books, from working in a children’s’ book shops throughout my teens, to reading English at University – I’ve always had a pile of books by the bed.  It’s brilliant now to share my love of books with my daughter, and reading classics from my childhood as well as exploring brand new books was a fantastic way to begin creating something in an area I’m passionate about.  I’ve been able to include books in the subscription that show a range of family structures, ethnicities and differently abled children which I think is really important, so that the books our children read reflect the world we live in. 

A business launch that gives back

Lockdown and the inspiring stories that came from it made me think more about how I could help my community.  I wanted to do something to make a difference, however small.  It was vital that my lockdown business launch would have a charitable element to it so I settled on the simple idea of giving one book to local charities for every ten I sent out.  I made my first book box delivery of a selection of brand-new festive books for ages 0-2 and 3-5 last Christmas to the Sutton Women’s Centre, just in time for the books to be popped into their Christmas boxes.  I was really proud to be able to do that, and I owe it to the brilliant Book and Play supporters who helped in so many ways, sharing social media content, browsing the site and buying subscriptions and sample boxes with their own hard-earned money. 

It’s been exciting to see the pictures and messages on social media from Book and Play subscribers, and it puts a smile on my face to see both the parents and children enjoying the books and activities. It’s really rewarding to see little book clubbers out in the wild using their books and bringing them to life! 

One comment in particular I found very touching, with the Mum noting:

After a week of isolation and a month of lockdown it is just what we all needed’. 

I’m looking forward to seeing what the new year will bring, to learning more, and growing the business as well as my brilliant group of supporters.

Read more:

The COVID economy – Winners & Losers

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Why SEO For Small Businesses Is Vital

Tori Lancaster, founder of Book and Play, tells us about launching a business from lockdown and what sparked the idea for her book subscription service.
Tori Lancaster
After a week of isolation and a month of lockdown it is just what we all needed