This week on Meet the Mumtrepreneur I’m chatting with Claire Kinsella from Ricair Maternity Care. And I love her business idea, I only wish Ricair had of been around six years ago. I hadn’t a clue where to start packing my hospital bag all those years ago and I cannot believe she is only five months in business too, amazing. One determined lady!
Tell me a little about Ricair Maternity Care and how you came up with it?
Ricair Maternity Care was launched in June 2016 shortly after the birth of our second little baby. We supply maternity hampers and gift sets for mums-to-be. Essentially, we provide comprehensive pre-packed hospital bags together with gift hampers of VOYA skincare and Sophie Giraffe.
In early 2013 we were expecting our first child Seán. Like every first-time parent, we read the baby books, marveled over the scan pictures, received our weekly update emails and of course packed and repacked the infamous hospital bag with all the necessities to see us through the delivery.
Getting your hospital bag together can be a challenge no matter how organized you are. I was first of my family and friends to have a baby and I thought I was prepared. But nothing quite prepares you for the arrival of your new little bundle. It is so exciting buying the little baby grows and outfits but not so much all the necessities for the hospital stay and essentials for recovery. This prompted the idea of our hospital hampers for Mums-to-be or anyone wanting to give a very practical and welcome gift to an expecting Mom. It is “our little bundle for your little bundle”
What started as a gift to family members has quickly become my passion. We have in the hampers some of maternity’s ‘best-kept secrets’. Items we know make a difference based on the wisdom of midwives and other mothers but never make it onto the list! We also include pregnancy specific VOYA skincare products and Sophie Giraffe baby welcome gifts making our hampers a truly luxury maternity gift.
What has been your biggest challenge starting-up?
Like any new mom can attest having a newborn whilst trying to recover is one of life’s true challenges. Those first few weeks are as emotional and exhausting as they are completely elating and adoring with moments that will last you a lifetime. Throw the needs and responsibilities of a new company into the mix and it really tests your determination, passion, and drive.
Ben was only 12 days old when we went live with our website and facebook page for Ricair Maternity Care. We had a dream launch, appearing on TV3 Ireland AM, MummyPages, and 4FM within weeks. Mums-to-be across Ireland saw the benefits of our hampers and we built an amazing following of mums who have supported us ever since. Their emails and messages really saw me through those long, hard, sleep-deprived days and nights and also steered me in the direction of what Moms wanted. It was challenging but I love what I do and it means that I can stay and work from home with my boys. Nothing for me is more motivating.
How did you fund your Ricair Maternity Care?
Our company is completely self-funded. To keep overheads to a minimum we take on everything ourselves from web design, financial accounts to social media streams. It means long hours, late nights and lots of coffee but it has worked for us. It is important to us. With a young family, you don’t know what life is going to throw at you so enabling Ricair Maternity Care to grow organically is something we are very proud of.
How do you juggle childcare?
Like most families now, we adapted and became experts in priority planning and multitasking. Families do this all the time from very early on when the kids arrive on the scene. My husband Richard is a great support behind Ricair Maternity Care. He commutes from Wexford to Dublin for his own career and once home helps me with juggling Ricair and the boys(Sean 3yrs, Ben 5mths). We have a shared vision of what we want to achieve as a family and a business, sharing that makes it feel very special and creates great excitement for us as we look forward.
I think the key to a successful balance is flexibility and planning. I work during Ben’s naps, Sean’s playschool and from 7:30pm to 1am every night. Sundays are our crazy (as opposed to lazy) day as we prepare for the week ahead, be it ordering supplies, packing hampers or cooking dinners for the freezer. Thankfully the week runs smoothly with this structure.
When things go wrong, and they do go wrong, we try to respond rather than react. We re-plan as best we can to get back on track. I think it is important to accept that things will go awry at times, it is the nature of small children and a new business, in accepting it we are not complacent about it but we are prepared to handle it when it happens.
What are you most proud of?
Word of mouth is the highest endorsement for any business. Irish mums are the most price savvy and value conscious dynamic so to be growing organically is something we are so very proud of. It is an expensive time for parents-to-be and all the little things add up. Mums appreciate the convenience and necessity of our hampers. Helping mums is our main priority because pregnancy & childbirth is different for everyone. Receiving the emails and messages from mums who have found saving grace from our hampers makes it all worthwhile.
What words of advice would you give to other women currently pregnant, on maternity leave or with young children thinking about setting up their own business?
Be passionate and determined. If you have a great idea, complete your market research and believe in it, believe in yourself. Join the womensinspire network and surround yourself with supportive people. Remind yourself if it were easy everyone would be doing it and if someone says you can’t say watch me!
What’s next for you and your business?
We had such a successful first five months that we have just rolled out phase two of Ricair ahead of schedule. We now provide mother & baby giftsets combining VOYA skincare and Sophie the Giraffe with a price range for everyone (€18.99 right up to €299.99) I found buying clothes for newborns is getting a bit unpredictable. If you know the gender you may not get the correct fit or you may not get to see the gorgeous new arrival in time for it to fit! This has happened me on one too many an occasion. So to have this range now out in time for Christmas is great.
Phase three is about expanding our customer base and product range. We have been approached by numerous suppliers to include their baby gift ideas in our hampers so it is very exciting times for us. We plan on remaining true to ourselves and always including those key recovery items as an option for each of our hampers. It is important for us to stay focused on what is working and keep to your goals.
And finally, where will I find you?
Check out our website, or find us on Facebook or Twitter.
If you’re an Irish mammy in the baby business and would like to take part in Meet The Mumtrepreneur pop an email to email@example.com