Ten minutes with Tania Rodney, founder of Dandydill Way

Dandydill Way is an award-winning London-based children’s grooming brand that was founded by an ex-makeup artist to the stars, Tania Rodney (Beyonce, Andrea Bocelli, David Bowie and Emimen were all her clients, amongst others!) and is loved by celebrities including Laura Bailey and Victoria Beckham.

This eco-chic playful brand is completely natural and is both inspired by childhood and nature, featuring the English countryside regular, hawthorn berries.

  1. Dandydill WayIs there a particular person, moment in time or experience that inspired you to launch Dandydill Way?

My daughter Billie. She changed the course of my life and creating Dandydill Way came from the realisation that all parents want to give their child the very best care they can. I travelled a lot with her as a baby and found many lovely products for newborns wherever we went. As she got a little older it became much harder. I was searching for something more considered than the cartoon branded, mass market products and more accessible, more British and more natural than the luxury French designer brands. I decided that I couldn’t be the only parent that wanted to take exceptional care of my child’s skin and hair and if it didn’t exist, I could create it.

Dandydill Way2. How do you think that your previous career in the make-up industry played into the brand you have today?

In many ways. You might be surprised to hear that Simon Cowell influenced how I thought about Dandydill Way!  He’d put together a band with whom I had worked who had international appeal and a very clear brand proposition. It inspired me to think of creating something quintessentially British, representing the best of what’s on offer both in terms of our high-quality manufacturing industry and our beautiful countryside – essentially, something that parents would appreciate wherever they lived.

Also, I was used to my work being scrutinised. That meant my team and I had a meticulous approach to developing the products and the packaging. I predate digital photography, let alone Instagram filters, so old school discipline (no retouching!) is useful in a complex and highly regulated industry.

Dandydill Way3. Can you give any advice to any other mothers who are looking to start their own business?

Get support, not only from friends and family but also make use of the support schemes on offer to start-ups from the government and big corporations, in particular for female-owned businesses. We got mentoring and professional advice through a programme sponsored by JP Morgan which was really helpful, especially in the early growth phase.

Be prepared for the long haul. Building a business from scratch is hard work so make sure you understand the risks. It’s very rewarding as you make progress and there’s nothing like being your own boss but it’s almost impossible to switch off.

Trust your instincts, especially about whose advice you listen to.

natural children's products4. How long did the start-up process take you from idea to conception? Were there any particular highlights or challenges during this time?

It took five years of research, development, trial and error for the seed of an idea to blossom into Dandydill Way. I allowed it to evolve slowly and surely because there were so many aspects to consider, particularly during the development of the formulations. At times it felt as if we were never going to get there but the periods of enforced waiting were vital to the finished products. I’ve learned that highlights can turn into challenges and vice versa, which definitely helps with the highs and lows of running a business!

natural children's products5. Do you think the parenting market is well served with natural products, and what should parents look out for on the ingredients labels?

I think parents of babies and younger children are well served with natural products but as they get older children will obviously want to express their own opinions and make their own choices. It helps to find brands that don’t patronise children and don’t make parents’ toes curl!

I’d advise parents of children with sensitive skin to stay clear of essential oils as they can be highly irritating and contain allergens. These are highlighted in bold at the end of the ingredients list on the label.

Watch out for “greenwashing” where brands overstate their eco-credentials, such as labelling a product “organic” when only a tiny percentage of the ingredients are from organic farming. It can be difficult to understand that “artificial” doesn’t always mean unsafe or harsh and “natural” can sometimes be less than gentle.

Dandydill Way6. What’s the future look like at Dandydill way?

The future of Dandydill Way is looking bright and sunny! We’ve been focussed on minimising our environmental impact and with this in mind, we are incorporating more Prevented Ocean Plastic in our bottles.

Our distribution channels in the Middle East and Asia are growing fast as families there discover our irresistible formulas and we’re planning new and exciting product launches for 2024.