This week, we meet Jenny of Baby Bare.
Tell us about your background. What did you do in your past life, before children? Before cloth nappies!
My life before starting Baby Bare was very different. I studied accountancy and then completed my Masters in Tax Law. I had my career all planned. I worked for the government as a Tax auditor. I enjoyed working my way up to manage my own team and at the time it was something I really enjoyed as the work was actually interesting (hard to believe, I know!). This made up the first 9 years of my work life (post uni studies).
Tell us about your journey into the cloth nappy industry.
After having my first baby, I had itchy feet sitting at home. We had started using cloth nappies but we found it really hard to justify buying the more expensive nappies (and found of many we tried the quality and product was not right). We also looked at the lower end of the market and our choices were just rebranded ‘CC’ nappies. I was on leave from work, our daughter was already 6 months old and spending $1000 was just not an option. I was driven to investigate if we could develop a product that fell in the middle of what we saw were two ends of a market. We wanted a product that offered parents something much more than a generic nappy from ebay, but still at an affordable price. I tested different nappies, investigated how we could do it affordably, and developed our first nappy.
How has the cloth nappy industry changed since you started your business?
I think the market has grown as cloth use appears to have increased. Awareness is much better. We have noticed at expo’s we spend a lot less time telling people what cloth nappies are as that used to be the norm. Now people come to us and know what the product is.
Many brands have now brought out ‘budget’ options. We’ve seen others come and go from the industry too. There has been a lot of changes in just the four years we have been here.
What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
I’m not sure I can only pick one. Unless you’ve done it, its really hard to know whats involved in running a business. Most small business owners are everything in their business. They handle the customer service,
packing, marketing, complaints, accounting, ordering – Everything .I find this juggle the most difficult as its hard to get everything done. Each job is mentally (sometimes physically) exhausting. I often work through out the weekends and on the rare occasion we take a holiday to keep everything running and stay up to date.
What’s one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you started your business?
It is more difficult than it looks. A lot of the time things are completely beyond your control and that is very frustrating. Stock always takes longer to make and arrive then anticipated. Products arrive and they are different or items were not made despite being ordered. I never anticipated the difficulty of manufacturing, it is the biggest challenge in my business.
Who helps you run your business?
My husband. He looks after all the technology. He has actually written our entire website from scratch so that we have something that can (mostly) meet our needs. He manages our domains, hosting and all the things that I just cannot get my head around. I have called on family in the past to help pack or at expo’s – but most of the time its just me. We are looking to get more helpers very soon as it is just overwhelming with the size of the business now.
What do you do to relax?
I don’t think I know how to relax! As close as I get is walking away from my work and just being with my kids. They are really my hobby (as there is no time for a second one) and I enjoy just being with them.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I’ve had a lot of good advice. But what’s driven me has to be to make sure I’m always enjoying what I’m doing. I’ve made Baby Bare something I enjoy through getting creative with it. I love designing and creating, so I’ve made my work more about that! If you don’t love what you are doing, it’s time to move on.
What’s something you’d like your kids to remember about you?
Just that I was always there for them and loved them. I started my business so I could be home with them and available to them so I hope they appreciate always having their mum around.
Tell us your favourite quote or saying.
Very recently a friend posted a quote and it was ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ – Theodore Roosevelt. This was a light bulb moment for me. It applied to me in my business and it applied to me in my personal life as we have a child who has struggled to keep up in their development. It made me really realise to stay focused on what is in front of me and celebrate what we have rather than ever comparing it to what someone else has or is doing.
Is there anything else you think our readers would love to know about you or your business?
We started Baby Bare to help parents on their journey to use cloth nappies. I am so grateful to the number of parents who have chosen our brand and embraced what we are about.