We talk to Alison Chesworth, owner of toy rental business ToyBoxLive.

Tell us a bit about your business, ToyBoxLive. is a LoveFilm for toys - in essence, it is a 21st century toy library. 

You simply pay £24.99 per month, choose the toys you want and they are delivered direct to you.

When you have had enough, you send them back and new ones that you choose are sent out.

Where did you get the idea to start it?

The idea came from when I had my own daughter. 

I saw first-hand how much stuff you accumulate and how quickly these costs can spiral. 

Children develop so fast and need new challenges every couple of months during the early years, so I started searching to see if anyone offered this type of service and no one did in the UK.

Have you always wanted to be your own boss?

I don't think when I left university I necessarily wanted to be my own boss.

However, I recognised that in order to get a job I needed to have work experience - I'd always worked really hard both in school and doing part time jobs during college and university. 

I went down the traditional route of trying to get a job, but it wasn't until I had a year in industry (which I requested to do as my uni course as they didn't offer this at the time) with an Enterprise Trust that I realised you could be your own boss, and this set the idea firmly in my head.

It was the only way to make any real money and your earning potential not to be capped by anyone else.

What were you doing before you set up ToyBoxLive?

Before I set up I worked for an Enterprise Agency as a Marketing Advisor.

I then went on to set up my own marketing company before having a year off with my daughter.

What have you enjoyed most about setting up your own business?

Getting my first customer was the most enjoyable part of setting up my business as well as meeting a lot of people who are excited about it.

What were the major challenges you had to overcome when starting up?

The major challenges of starting up were definitely finding good suppliers and people I could trust, I was lucky to have the support of family for childcare too.

How have you been marketing your business?

Mainly online and through social media.

What are your plans for the future?

I'd like to be able to have in every major city and then hopefully expand our operation into Europe

Any tips for other budding entrepreneurs out there?

You have to be prepared to put in the work, and be preapred for long unsociable hours.

The best tip I could give anyone is that you haven't got a business until you have your first customer, and that first customer will teach you the most.

Check out Alison's business at

You can also follow her on Twitter @toyboxlive

Further information

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