Pregnant with her 4th baby, Claire Benton found herself wishing that she had an advent calendar to count down that final month before her little boy arrived. She dreamt of an idea – a luxury pregnancy gift – that would make every mum-to-be feel special in her final few weeks of pregnancy, and this is how The Pregnancy Calendar Co. began. She created a calendar that includes pamper treats for mama, unique gifts for baby, and essentials for pregnancy and beyond to celebrate that exciting countdown to birth. Here she talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the passion behind her business, how she balances work and family life as a busy mum of 4, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
The idea of The Pregnancy Calendar Co. came to me during my last month of my 4th pregnancy in 2018. I had exactly one month to go when I said to my husband, “I wish I had an advent calendar for this final month”.
I had left work; I had just had my baby shower and it was a long month ahead in one of the hottest summers I can remember. I imagined a countdown calendar I could open every day, to visualise how long I had left to wait, a bit like Christmas as a child. Counting down is one of the most exciting things about that time of year and pregnancy is one of the most lifechanging event in a woman’s life and I thought that a gift calendar would be the perfect way to celebrate.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I started an Instagram page in April 2020 and started posting about the launch date and what to expect. I officially launched on 19th August 2020 and I made my first sales that week. I then was introduced to a PR and I worked with her for 3 months to try and gain as much traction as possible for the launch. Within that time, I entered competitions and won two awards, collaborated with some big influencers and partnered with some incredible brands to include inside the calendar.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
I have won 3 awards since launching: Gold for Best Baby Shower Gift, Platinum for Best Innovative Gift and The Small Business Sunday Award chosen by Theo Paphitis, one of the previous Dragons on Dragon’s Den. I am now a part of his SBS community and will get the chance to meet him next year at his annual SBS conference. I have also been given the opportunity to host a pop-up shop in John Lewis in Bluewater this July, which is a fantastic chance to speak to customers on a face-to-face basis.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
Balancing work and family is always a challenge when you own your own business, but it does allow for some flexibility in your everyday life. I can be working on my marketing at 6am, then sending emails or packing orders at 10pm. During advent, which is my busiest time of year, I can be working 12-hour days to meet delivery dates before the 1st December. I live with my husband and 4 boys and I am always asking for their opinion and help, so it really is a joint effort in the everyday and business. Our youngest is just 5, and running my own business from home has allowed me to take him to school, watch all his plays and be there for him as well as the older boys.