Sometimes it is the simple things that turn out to be big solutions. I am sure you can relate to that. Whether it is your favourite dress or shirt you felt sad about when you finally needing to let it go of, or those cute baby suits for your little one as they grow out of it, it can be hard to let go. In fact, you can go through over 40 baby body suits in the first year alone.
If you are like most mums, you’ll pass them on to the next smaller little one in your circle of friends, sad having to let go and buy more suits again. Well, as a mother of two, I found myself not only in that position, but also thinking about the vast amount of clothes that baby’s go through in such a short time. There had to be a better way, right.
It seemed such a waste seeing that babies go through so many sizes so quickly. Well, I had seen a similar concept in my home country Czech Republic, but after migrating to Australia and having my second daughter, I could not find any similar solution Down Under.
Well, they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and it is exactly how I went from wishful thinking to creating the meanwhile top-selling Snap & Extend brand that has sold thousands of hand-made baby bodysuit extenders ever since, nation-wide and even beyond.
And, if it’s not available, well, I thought why not create it. So, I set out to find the right buttons – problem was just that they were only available in bulk. Once I had sewn my own baby crotch extenders, what was I going to do with the extra buttons?
I just hated the idea of having to throw out the cute baby suites of my baby girl so soon and also loved the idea of creating a business I could run around the demands of being a mother of two. I really did not think this was going to take off as well as it did.
It was 2017 and with an idea and a vision strongly anchored in my mind I went about developing both, the baby bodysuit extender product, and the Snap & Extend brand which quickly found the appreciation and love from other mums around Australia. After a few design trials and material errors I found the right Snap-on buttons to suite most common baby brands such as Bonds, Next, Boody, Seed, Country Road, Jamie Kay, H&M, and all the big retailers. Once, I had found the right design and combination – to my surprise sales were growing and demand kept rolling in.
Fast forward 15 months, dozens of baby expos and some clever online marketing later and my product has reached right into the hearts and homes of countless young parents faced with the common fast turn-over of baby bodysuits – who could now extend the lifespan of their favorite body suites..
This year, with meanwhile 10 plain colours and over a dozen designer patterns to my range of baby crotch extenders I have not only been nominated for the 40under40 Young Entrepreneurs Award and the Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award but have been nominated and selected as a Finalist in the national AusMumpreneur Awards.
I just love that mums have taken to the Snap & Extendsolution, and how it simply solves a common problem and reduces the impact on the environment at the same time.
With growing online sales, meanwhile, not only in Australia but internationally, and more and more baby stores stocking the funky Snap & Extend range, I have had to hire a helper for the office and extra sewers in order to keep up with demand. And, of late even hiring marketing support as my passion really lies foremost in being a mum and in creating new designs for my third child – the Snap & Extend.
Running a business was never really on my mind when I first started sewing the little cotton pieces edged with press studs, but once interest poured in from other mums, it was hard to ignore the fact that the Snap & Extend actually had a life of its own.
Under my personal brand of Bellelis.com.au where we stock Snap & Extend and a few other baby products, we have been getting orders from all around the country and of late even from abroad. Who would have thought that as an import to Australia myself, I would end up exporting my little creations.
My key learnings or insights that led me to my growing business success are:
– Follow Your instinct
Trusting the flow of things and my instincts lead me in theright direction. I knew that the concept brought value to other mums and was kind to the environment, and as such, I innately knew turning it into a business, that it had to be successful. I kind of knew, just like we as mums know when something is up with our child.
– Plan and Proceed
Organic progression is good but planning and actioning these is essential to move into the direction of your goals. Being a busy mum meant I had to actually make time to focus fully on the business too and for time totally devoted to being a mum and wife. They say, fail to plan and you plan to fail, so hence – plan your business, your tasks and carve out time for your business, as well as your family.
– Ask for Help
No matter what your expertise are, you cannot know and do everything in your business, especially if you are a busy mum like me. So, ask for advice, and help, hire support and delegate. Whether that means giving repetitive tasks to a VA or hiring a PR agency – concentrate on what you are good at and what you ‘need’ to do yourself.
– Share the Love
For me, my product came from a place of need and passion, so sharing about it came really natural and easy for me. But, by sharing just that, my vision, my hopes, successes and challenges, meant that other mums could relate, and it was that which helped spread the word of the product and brought in followers, likes and sales.
– Celebrate Your Wins
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it is important to pet yourself on the shoulder and recognise how far you have come in your business. This also means recognising your support from your partner, children and family, supporters, helpers and everyone. It’s not just about popping a champagne (it helps though) but about giving recognition to others and yourself. Actually, celebrating little wins will help fuel the bigger ones.
Best of luck with your business venture and to balancing life, being a mum, and entrepreneurship. Olga Imbriano.
Erik Bigalk is a Business Solutionist, serial entrepreneur, an internationally published writer and keynote speaker, quantum coach and founder/CEO of Smart Solutions, a brand communications firm based in Melbourne Australia.