Tonight I’m chatting with mum boss Leona Barren, founder of Pretty Baby Hair Accessories. I met Leona at the Pregnancy and Baby Fair last year and fell in love with her bows and clips. We have a growing collection and I can see big things happening for Pretty Baby Hair Accessories.
Hi Leona, tell me a little about Pretty Baby Hair Accessories and how you came up with the idea?
Pretty Baby is a Donegal based company that specializes in handmade hair accessories specifically for the baby and toddler market. I noticed a gap in the market about 5 years ago when I was shopping for my own baby. The hair accessories available were too harsh to ever consider putting on a baby’s head. Each of our hair clips and headbands are made with carefully selected materials to ensure that they are incredibly soft and comfortable. Our newest range of skinny headbands are so soft and stretchy that they will fit a newborn baby right up to a teenager, yes really! We make baby and toddler hair accessories for every occasion, from Christenings and weddings to everyday wear.
What has been your biggest challenge since starting-up?
I have always been creative and so designing and making hair accessories was second nature to me. I am a former Economics and Business Studies teacher, so I also had a good grounding in basic business principles. However, I had no knowledge on how to run an e-commerce business! In the evenings when I put my babies to bed, I sat down and taught myself as much as I could. I am continually learning. My next big challenge is to get to grips with using social media channels effectively to promote Pretty Baby and engage new customers.
How did you fund your Pretty Baby Hair Accessories?
I was lucky to be a position to have savings to invest in the new start up. The biggest spends were on creating and building the brand and the website. But I knew how vital this element was to success. The website, promotional materials and everything else was then built to fit around the logo and brand image.
Working from home must be tough, how do you juggle childcare?
My daughter is in school and my little boy just started pre-school. That has really helped! My typical day begins at 6:00am and I work until 7:45am until the children wake up and my husband and I get them ready for school. I work until I collect them in the afternoon. When I am in the middle of a very busy period, my mother in law is amazing at helping me out by taking the children in the afternoons. I would be lost without the support of my husband and family.
What are you most proud of?
The feedback from my customers. That is everything. I love what I do and it is so important to me that my customers are happy with their purchases. I am also very proud that in less than a few years we have fulfilled thousands of orders in just under 100 countries around the world. That is amazing. We have also grown from being an online-only company to being stocked in numerous stores throughout Ireland and the UK. I also believe that the best is yet to come!
What words of advice would you give to other mums who are thinking about setting up their own business?
It is hard work! Be realistic from the beginning. You will work harder and longer being your own boss than you will ever have worked in your life. I also think that trying to stick to your core work hours as much as possible is vital. The overwhelming feeling of ‘mum guilt’ when work starts eating into family time is immense. There are occasions that I have to send emails or make orders when the kids are at home with me. The guilty feeling is always there but I have to remind myself that the kids get to see more of me now than they did when I was working outside the home.
Working for yourself can be very isolating. Get out there and meet other like-minded business mums whenever you can. I absolutely love my conversations with other mumpreneurs. They get how crazy busy my life can be. And they are also full of knowledge and new ideas and new leads. I have met so many amazing women on the journey.
What’s next for you and your business?
We are currently finalizing the branding for our new venture, ‘Little Handsome’. This brand offers a collection of stunning key accessories for little boys ranging in age from 3 months – 5 years. We hope to launch Little Handsome towards the beginning of 2017.
Wow, that sounds very exciting! And finally, where will I find you?
Check out our website, or find us on Facebook or Instagram.
If you’re an Irish mammy in the baby business and would like to take part in Meet The Mumtrepreneur pop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org