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Eddy Barrett (BA Management and Business Administration 2011)

From crocodiles to cats, flying squirrels to frogs, Eddy has just about every species covered when it comes to his animal costume business, Kigs; the success of which has soared since he founded the company with his brother in 2011.

Here, we catch up with Eddy about his entrepreneurial success, his University of Reading days and what to look for when picking an animal onesie for that all important occasion.

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Biography

I graduated from the University of Reading in 2011 with a degree in Business Management and Administration. Whilst in my final year of university I saw an opportunity to begin importing and selling Japanese animal onesies. This grew quite quickly and is now known as kigs.co.uk.

How did you get to where you are now after graduating from the University of Reading?

After university I moved back home and we were running the business from my parents' loft. We quickly realised things had to change when we began worrying the roof might collapse under the weight of hundreds of kilos of animal onesies. Our orders are now fulfilled by a dedicated team in Kent, leaving us with more time to concentrate on product development and marketing.

What makes your business so distinctive?

Believe it or not when we started nobody had really heard of an animal onesie so it was a fairly unique and niche product! Now we're working with our manufacturer to make sure our product stands out by being the best quality. Little things like making sure our pockets have zips on and that our fleece is slightly thicker to make sure our product is better than those of our competitors.

Our of all the animal onsies you sell, which is your favourite?

For me it’s probably our tiger costume. It’s bold and great fun once you put it on and that’s what makes a great onesie really.

Why have onesies become so popular?

Well obviously indoors they are fantastic for lounging around the house whilst having a bit of fun at the same time. People also love putting them on when going out to festivals and parties because they allow you to put on a bit of a different persona, they’re a bit like a protective cushion that let you be as silly as you want. It’s a bit like a masquerade ball - when you're in costume, you can let yourself go a bit more. Also, people like One Direction and Cheryl Cole getting into them probably helped a little bit too.

What top tips would you give to people who are thinking of starting their own business?

Get started as soon as possible. Don't spend weeks writing a business plan, test your idea first by trying to actually sell what it is you want to sell. Once someone who isn't your mum/brother/best mate buys one, then start writing up a business plan!

What is the best bit about your job?

Getting to take holidays without asking for permission. This of course balances out with the fact that sometimes we'll work more than a 9 to 5 but it's still nice to be able to finish early on a Friday if we've achieved everything we want to for the week.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

It was highly rated for the course I wanted to study. As well as this, Henley Business School on the Whiteknights campus was under construction at the time I started my course, so I knew there were going to be really good facilities available for me.

What was the best bit about living and studying at the University of Reading?

It probably sounds quite cheesy but, the people I met. I was lucky to meet people in my halls of residence who I really got along with and am still friends with to this day. As well as this, being a campus university, Reading has a great vibe to it. Especially during the summer months after exams when everyone's buzzing around campus.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Study hard but don't forget to have fun, particularly in your first year. Bearing in mind this is for an official UoR newsletter I'm not sure you'd publish everything I would say in answer to this question so I'll leave it at that.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

University means to me a fantastic three years of my life that I'd go back and do again in a flash if I had a time machine. My favourite memory is probably a mish-mash of the three summer balls I attended, always great fun!

And finally, what's next for Kigs?

We’re super busy at the moment. It’s great. We’re expanding into the US market and also developing the wholesale side of the business with some big department stores fairly interested in taking on our range for the Christmas season which is exciting. As well as this we’re also developing other product offerings for completely different markets – we don’t want the company to be a one(sie) hit wonder.

Discover Eddy's wonderful range of animal onesies>>  www.kigs.co.uk

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