This week we meet Ann Granger from Little Aussie Monster.

Tell us about your background. What did you do in your past life, before children? Before cloth nappies!
I have always lived in North Queensland with schooling in Charter Towers, a few years in Townsville, then moving to gorgeous Cairns in my mid 20’s for a Multimedia degree. This led me to a fun filled position in an Underwater Camera store where I worked for 9 years. I met my now husband not long after moving to Cairns, we were inseparable from our first date. We’ve been together for 13 years and married for 8 years. Before children and cloth nappies we had many adventures within Australia and around the world. We now have 2 boys aged 5 and 3, and 2 boy fur babies, I’m surrounded by gorgeous boys! 🙂

Tell us about your journey into the cloth nappy industry.
I looked into cloth nappies when I first got pregnant, I don’t remember how I came across the Modern Cloth Nappy (6 years ago). However when I saw how cute they looked, how much easier they were to used compared with terry toweling my love affair started. We started with a small number of low cost nappies and once we were settled into life with a baby decided we were ready for more. However when we started looking locally they were so expensive and just not affordable for the average family. My Husband and I decided starting our own cloth nappy outlet offering nappies at affordable prices was the way to go. Concentrating on customer service, value and range we’ve been able to grow our little hobby business into a full time position for me and a part time position for another young local. In September this year it will be Little Aussie Monster’s 5th Birthday!

How has the cloth nappy industry changed since you started your business?
Acceptance has grown a lot since we started. At the beginning it would take more discussion with new families on how easy these cloth nappies are and how much they will save both financially and environmentally. Now we see so many customers who know of someone else using them and they are ready for the change.
We have seen a big change in washing guidelines as everyone is gaining a better understanding of the current washing detergents and machines. When we first started it was a common guideline (and I did with my first bub) to use only half the strength of detergent. Now it’s full strength and a focus on 2 step washing (short wash then long wash).

What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
TIME!! oh my how does this just fly by! At the beginning it was a struggle balancing another job, a new business and family life. Now as the business and the family have grown, it’s a whole other range of time consuming activities to balance. At the moment the hardest part is making sure I switch off from the business when the boys are home and stick to ‘work’ hours.

What’s one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you started your business?
When we started the business, we envisaged me staying at home with the children and working with them by my side. Well this didn’t happen, once the second baby arrived it was very difficult to work once he became more active and sleeping less and the business needed more time. We started using daycare, and well at first I felt incredible guilt over this. However as the boys have grown, they have developed so many skills that I really don’t think I would have been able to teach them in this time frame. Especially since I would not have been as focused on them when they were home. I feel that now I am more focused on them when they’re home, because I get my separate ‘work’ time.
This was one of my first lesson in accepting that sometimes things don’t happen as originally planned.

Who helps you run your business?
My whole family helps in the business, my husband is very hands on, he is the muscle especially at the start when we did a lot of markets, and now he helps a lot with the book work. My Mother in law has been an amazing help, I really don’t think we would be here without her help (thank you so much Pam, we love you!). My father in law has been a massive help too with plenty of babysitting and creating product displays. My mother & brother have helped to (but don’t live in the same city). My kids have been wonderful little models, product testers and great fun distractions :). And we now have Chanel a young girl working part time for us, this is her first job and she’s doing a wonderful job managing the online orders and packing.

What do you do to relax?
I like to walk and run around my local area, we have such wonderful scenery here, you really don’t have to go far to see beautiful creeks, rain forests and city views. I also love sitting and playing with the boys it’s amazing watching them explore how things work.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Really not sure, probably ‘You’ll never know if you never ask or have a go’. This was one that was discussed a lot when we first thought about starting this business. And that’s what we did, we asked suppliers the questions we had, and we gave it our best go.

What’s something you’d like your kids to remember about you?
I’d like my kids to remember that I smiled a lot, had fun and spent quality time with them, my friends & family, while also working hard. I would like them to know that life isn’t an all in or nothing situation, there need’s to be balance between work and fun. They will know that if you try your hardest and put thought into what you’re doing, it can happen.

Tell us your favourite quote or saying.
I always tell my son’s ‘you will be amazed at what you can do when you try’. This has been a big one this year since my eldest started prep, he received an award at school because we always tries at everything and never gives up and does it with a smile. I hope I can keep this mindset within both of my boys, I believe with this in mind they will go far.
And it’s one in my mind now that we’re about to enter a big exciting new chapter in business and life!

Is there anything else you think our readers would love to know about you or your business?
I can’t think of much else, this is the most I’ve shared publicly online about me, my family and business. I’ve been a little shy about sharing about me, I guess it’s probably from some old school of thought that I’m separate from the business. Which I am, but now see that the business isn’t separate from me, and it’s something that has taken a lot of my time, energy, tears, blood (paper cuts :P) and laughter to make it what it is today. I am proud to say that Little Aussie Monster is my business, my job and baby.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope you enjoyed it and learned something from it 🙂

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