The drive: What challenges have you overcome?
A challenge we have been facing, along with the entire globe, is operating in a post-COVID world. We recognise that people’s wallets are tighter, making business a bit more challenging. Another challenge is the collective fear around touching things other people have touched. We have always had safety as the most important aspect of our business model, but now we have to be extra cautious to help customers to feel assured. We use hospital-grade sanitiser sprays and wipes, and we also quarantine our kits’ toys after being cleaned and returned, just to give extra attention to safety.
We are also up against a throw-away culture, where people see something, buy it, then they toss it away. We are trying to build a habit of reuse and sustainable, conscious living. It is all too easy to buy a cheap, plastic toy that gives a moment of thrill, then to discard it in some fashion when it’s no longer needed. We are accustomed to buying and owning, rather than renting and recycling. The customers we do have understand this and share our values, and it can at times be a challenge to find our market.
Finding the right systems has been a challenge too. We have had different websites through various hosts, and it took us some time to find the right fit. This trial and error business setup takes many hours and much effort, but we trust we have found the sweet spot… even though it still isn’t perfect. We are doing this without a tech team to do it for us, so we are really learning as we go. We have hit some bumps along the way, but thankfully our customers have been gracious and understanding.
For better or worse: What are the pros and cons of running your own business?
A benefit is being at the helm. It is refreshing to be able to make decisions and steer the ship, so to speak, in a fashion that feels right. The other side of that coin is that we do not always know if our decisions are going to drive positive results and convert into happy customers. It is the liberty that comes with owning our own business that is appealing.
As an employee for a business, we bear none of the risk. We merely work and get paid. As an owner, we bear all the risk, so there is always a greater – and sometimes stressful – sense of responsibility that goes beyond just putting in the hours.
Making partnerships and connections with many of the lovely, entrepreneurial parents in New Zealand has definitely been a “pro”. It is nice to see how many parents are also nurturing their – and others’ – businesses.
Hopes and dreams: What next?
We see a world where there is less waste, where people live and shop more sustainably. A world where there is less plastic in the oceans and landfills. We hope to see more growth in our business as it speaks to a growth in sustainable values.
A pillar of the business is child’s development, and we hope to see more awareness around developmental milestones, and that early play is really early education. A lot of parents, both mums and dads, have some anxiety around their children’s development, wanting to make sure they are stimulated and growing appropriately. Some are not sure what to do with their little ones, or how to play, or what kinds of play makes sense to bubs. Part of our hope is to clarify that early education is fun and really quite simple, not to mention great for growing strong bonds. This comes back to my wish to encourage and facilitate strong positive relationships with the main caregivers, to foster healthy growth and development.