Hi Nancy. How and when did you come up with the idea for your business and what inspired you to become self-employed?
It was about 3 months after my baby was born and in the midst of an emotionally challenging time. My husband initiated the idea of me starting a small online business to save my sanity (and I suspect his!) while enabling me to work from home and care for my baby as I wanted. We started brainstorming and he made it sound simple enough for me to actually consider it. Although starting a business had been the furthest thing from my mind at the time (I had planned to wait at least 2 years before considering any type of work), I guess I really needed that small push as it triggered an idea I had stored in the back of my mind that I suddenly became really excited about!
From the time I found out I was pregnant, there were many special moments I experienced which all started and ended so quickly that I’d wished for a special way to commemorate them. Starting from how to announce my pregnancy in a special way to my husband and both our families, to the first (personalized) outfit I wanted to dress my new baby in, to documenting my baby’s growth and developmental milestones, to wanting to match our clothes together when we went out. I knew that was the concept I wanted my business to revolve around.
What differentiates your business from anything else on the market?
As both an expecting and new mama, I had searched many times for specialty products so I was already aware that there was a gap in the market. Although you can find some products that are similar to what we offer, often quality is not a priority and most are not design oriented. As an example, many personalized shirts available in the market may have cute or funny prints but often with nothing but text in basic fonts and simple clip art images. We always make sure that whether our designs are simple or not, they are never boring and there is always an interesting and appealing design element to them.
We differentiate ourselves through fresh and creative ideas, modern and fashionable designs in addition to only working with materials that meet our quality standards. From our products to our signature background images to our packaging, every detail has been designed to be trendy, chic and visually appealing which helps us stand out from the crowd.
Furthermore, most online stores specialize in one category or the other but it is difficult to find multiple categories under one brand. Most mamas and mamas-to-be are busy juggling tasks and I wanted to make it easy and hassle free for them to find what they are looking for in one place, with the added bonus of saving on shipping cost compared to ordering different products from separate stores. One of the things I hear a lot from mamas visiting our website is how easy and user friendly it is to navigate!
Last but not least, one of the frustrations I often faced was finally finding the product I had been searching for, only to find out it doesn’t ship to my location! For this reason, I was determined to offer international shipping and make my products available worldwide!
What value do you feel your products offer to mothers?
These days, modern mamas have many tools available to them which didn’t used to exist in the past and most of us now use our phones to capture photos and videos as a form of visually documenting our babies’ lives and sharing with our loved ones their cutest new habits and milestones. This is especially true if you live overseas or you have a partner or relatives that do. Sharing a precious moment or preserving a memory has become as easy as pressing a button! Additionally, matching Mommy & Me sets, Newborn (clinic and take-home) outfits, Siblings. Twins and Family Pets clothing are all growing trends. Personalized products and gifts are also in high demand these days. While Family portraits and cake smashing (first birthday) photo shoots are gaining a lot of popularity worldwide! For more creative mamas, shadow boxes are becoming a desirable way to preserve and showcase baby keepsakes and ‘firsts’. We hope to fill the gap in the market for products that cater to all these needs and new trends and this is just the beginning. We have many more exciting products to come!
Our babies grow up so fast and in the blink of an eye, they have moved onto the next phase in their development. I believe most mamas start out with the best intentions to keep track of every special moment in their baby’s lives but life gets in the way. I hope our products can make it a little bit easier to enjoy each day to the fullest while not missing a moment! Personally, I wish I could go back in time and use the products I missed out on!
Being your own boss means there are no mentors to learn from. Who do you go to for business advice?
I like to read about other entrepreneurs and try to learn from their success stories and more importantly, their failures. You can gain a lot of knowledge just from other people’s experiences. On a more personal level, my husband is my greatest supporter and business advisor. I love that he always gives me constructive feedback. Although he is very encouraging, he doesn’t just tell me what I want to hear or give me black and white opinions. He will usually offer specific and well thought out suggestions on how he thinks I can improve on something. A few of the products are even his ideas!
What have you learned about yourself since becoming self-employed?
I learned that motherhood isn’t the end of who I am as a person; it is just an extension, an extra dimension.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring ‘Mumpreneur’ starting out today, what would it be?
The most important thing is to start. Take it one step at a time. Balancing between motherhood and everyday responsibilities while building a business is not an easy job and things that used to take an hour might now take several days to get done. Set realistic objectives and timelines but don’t be too harsh on yourself if things don’t go exactly as planned and above all, don’t lose motivation. Find at least one supportive person who genuinely believes in you to keep you going when you feel overwhelmed and start doubting yourself. Enjoy the process and you will eventually get there if you stay persistent!
What are your future plans for your business?
We plan to introduce 2 new lines in the near future, Special Occasion and Father & Son. Additionally we will expand on our existing lines, continually adding new exciting designs and products!
We are also participating at the Mums2Be & Baby Day at the Londa Hotel on the 16th October. Pass by and say ‘hi’!
Thank you very much for your time Nancy. We wish you the very best for continued success and happiness, both in your professional and private life!
If you would like to see more of Nancy’s designs, check out the MamaBear Designs website and social media pages: