Emma Kenney is on a mission to make parents’ lives easier. After building up the strength and courage to leave the house with her newborn post c-section, she realised that instead of a large, overloaded nappy bag, what she actually needed was a handy kit of essential baby items that she could slip underneath her pram. This prompted her to put together similar kits as gifts for her expectant friends, and soon after, Angus The Label was born. Designed in Brisbane, their beautiful products have been curated to achieve a balance of minimalism, sustainability and ease, and the Baby Go bag, pre-packed with essentials, is designed to be all you need when you head out to grab a coffee, take a stroll or catch up with friends. Their classic essentials, including the comfiest of modern cloth nappies, are both gorgeous and practical. Here, Emma talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the inspiration behind Angus The Label and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
After the birth of my son, I was in hospital for 6 nights recovering from a c-section and even when I got home, I felt so limited in what I could do while recovering and learning how to take care of a precious newborn. The idea of facing the world and leaving the house even for a walk felt extremely daunting.
Previously a daily dog walker, being cut off from the outdoors and nature was a difficult feeling. When I gathered my courage to take Angus for a walk, I found myself not even knowing what to take with me. I didn’t know what he mind need, or what might happen while we were out. I had spent a lot of time thinking about the hospital bag but no time considering what goes in a nappy bag. So, I headed out with a massive bag filled with nappies and a dummy and managed a walk around the block.
I spent the next 6 weeks building my strength and courage and found myself gaining confidence. I was breastfeeding at the dog park, wiping up blowouts, changing full outfits filled with poo and covered in milk. But, I noticed I was never using my nappy bag. I was using a little lunch bag with a change mat, wipes, one nappy, one spare outfit, one wet bag, one blanket and a burp cloth. I realised I needed to put together one of these handy kits for my friends who was pregnant and that this could be something I could make for the world to help all new parents build their confidence sooner.
I used cloth nappies and I found washing and prepping them for Angus quite meditative. I enjoyed using that time each day to reflect on how much I loved doing this for Angus and feeling very connected to him and my environment. I daydreamed about helping other mums feel that way. Removing that barrier of stress, that feeling of “can I do this, what if?” and setting people up for success.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
The first thing I did was speak to my friends in mothers’ group to see if this would be something they would have found useful and they all loved the idea. I set up a survey to share with all the parents I knew to see what they thought would be essential in a pre-packed nappy bag. I was surprised by some answers. No one wanted a dummy as they wanted to select their own, but people were very open to the idea of modern cloth nappies! Particularly cloth swim nappies. I set about designing a gender neutral colour scheme and designing my items in line with my values and what I wanted Angus The Label to represent and bring to new parents.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Very early in the piece, while I was ruminating on the idea of the Baby Go Bag, I came to a tipping point where I decided I was going to go all in and really back myself. I spoke with my husband who was all for it and from there on out, I dove in. It was a big moment for me, I felt and still do feel very vulnerable inviting other parents to have a glimpse into our lifestyle and to see if people like the idea of approaching parenting the way we do.