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A chat with our CEO Rajiv Chandra: How did he build his business?

We sat down with the dad of Mum & You (aka our CEO Rajiv Chandra) for an insight into the driving force and values behind Mum & You. 

Hey Rajiv! Tell us about Mum & You in 100 words or less.

Mums are very much at the forefront of Mum & You.

We strive to design not only sustainable and convenient products that are up to the job, but also to create a diverse and resourceful community in which women feel supported from pregnancy, childbirth, recovery, and beyond. We firmly believe that if mums are empowered both mentally and physically, their children will reap the benefits.

With a team of almost 20 mums (and some dads), we have a unique advantage in that between us we have extensive knowledge and insight into what parents really need to make their lives easier. Our products are sustainable, they excel in performance, and are made by mums, for mums.

What inspired you to set up your Mum & You? (thanks for doing so by the way!) 

Wherever my wife and I lived (whether it was a rich country or a poor one) we saw kids fall through the cracks. Many children, we found, just didn’t live to meet their full potential. In the UK alone, about 30% of children entering school do not have basic vocabulary and communication skills. Many of these children who are not ‘school ready’ lag behind through school and beyond. So, helping children meet their full potential became our central focus.

This became a huge driver for me to leave the relative comfort of the corporate world and start a company that could help enable mums and children. All the years of running companies, understanding diverse cultures, and understanding that it was my time to give back to the world drove me to found ‘Mum & You’.

What have your learnt?

I had been running businesses independently for over a decade before becoming a CEO. What was a huge challenge moving away from the familiar structure of an established company was starting everything from scratch. Everything had to be ‘reinvented’ and when you looked around you realised (for the most part) it had to be done by you.

There were two big lessons for me at the start — and both come to the same conclusion: you can’t do it alone.

From left to right: Silvia (Creative Lead), Serena (Digital Marketing), Emma (Senior Innovation Manager), Anu (CFO), Rachel (Lead Digital Marketing Manager) & Malia (Digital Marketing).

Even a start-up needs to focus on the right people. You don’t need the numbers, but you do need a small group of people who ‘get it’ and are capable of multitasking. This is invaluable because no matter how good you are, you don’t know everything in a business.

And in our case, the people who ‘get it’ are mums. And that’s why Mum & You is compromised of 80% mums! We are a flexible working employer that supports mums back into the workplace after a career break. Our team is made up of talented mums, many of whom had left the sometimes in-flexible corporate world when returning to work after maternity leave.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, we offered a 100% flexible model, not just a hybrid working model. You have the option to work both in the office and from home. We ensure that our employee’s jobs fit seamlessly around their life as parents and caregivers by introducing a harmonious model that allows our employees to work how they see fit.

If we wish to support mums, we start from the mums within our company.

Thank you for believing in us! What would you say has been your biggest success?

The biggest success that we’ve had as a business has been our 100% Plant Based Biodegradable Baby Wipes.

We were talking about plastic-free wipes and biodegradable wipes well before it became the fashionable thing to do, and even before the parliamentary inquiries into banning plastic wipes.

Single-use plastics are not going to break down. They’re going to be in our ecosystems, in our rivers, and our water. We then go on to consume these microplastics. I think everyone will benefit from shifting to plant-based alternatives, and if more people came on board, these plant-based wipes could become a universal reality.

Even today 90% of all wipes contain plastic whilst Mum & You are one of the leading makers of plastic-free, plant-based wipes for babies.

What has been the biggest mistake you have made?

Widening the portfolio much faster than we should have as a start-up. We found that in doing so, you are unable to give the focus that is required to other aspects of the business.

Can we give our customers any insight into our plans for the future?

Having just said that the lesson is not to expand too rapidly, our plans for the future are indeed to expand further in both the UK and the US and expand into retail in both countries.

We also plan to expand our range. When we started this journey, our goal was to support mums on their complete journey, from pregnancy to raising children. We have product offerings in most of these segments but there is still some way to go. We look ahead to ticking these boxes and innovating in the way we do best, by mums for mums.

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