It’s been a year since Mum & You opened its website to the consumer. As a young start-up, you can imagine, it has been an intense year. A year in which we have learnt much and clearly have realised that there is a lot more to learn! I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the thousands of mums who took the chance on our unknown brand and also share some of what we have been through for other start-ups like us out there.
- Why is a dad the founder of a brand called Mum & You?
The company was created with the single minded purpose to help children live healthy, live strong and to live to meet their full potential. Right at the beginning we realised two things. The first 1000 days of life were critical for a child’s development. The other learning was that, even today, mums have a much larger role to play as a primary carer in the initial years of a baby.
To quote some statistics (ONS) for parents of young children in England, 90% of dads of children between 0-4 years of age work full time, whereas only 25% of mums work full time. As a dad, I hope I have had a great role in bringing up my kids. However, we dads can’t ignore the fact that in the critical early years of a child’s life, more often than not, it is the mum who is the primary carer.
- What does Mum & You even mean?
A few consumers have told us that they think that Mum & You is a very old-fashioned brand name! That’s till we explain what it stands for. It is best explained as one consumer explained it back to us ‘I am a mum, but I am also me’. We believe that we can support mums to be mums but also to be who they are as women. In doing so, we believe that we will enable mums to enable children. Our own journey is an example of this. Out of the 16 team mates at Mum & You, 14 are mums. They can work with complete flexibility and weave their work and life into a continuum, not a balance. Picking up kids from school when they need to, working at their own timings, etc. In today’s digital world, our learning is that it makes no sense to force people to work from an office.
- Do middle aged men develop the best innovations?
Okay, that’s a rhetorical question! Large companies (such as the one I had spent a lifetime in) are essentially run by middle aged men (like me!). At Mum & You, having mums develop and design all our innovation has been an exhilarating learning experience. There are no filters because mums develop the insights and no excessive research is required to qualify each idea. To give a case in point, our mums insisted that our baby wipes be 100% biodegradable long before the government threatened to act on wipes containing plastic. None of the market leaders made any changes and still haven’t. Even though just a year old, our baby wipes are one of the fastest selling products on Amazon. The only principle we have as we unleash the innovation power of our mums is that our products have to address a pain point (that market leading brands don’t) that makes the lives of parents a little bit easier and better.
- Will innovation driven by just M&Y mums be limiting?
Our focus for the time being is to create disruptive consumer innovations, in everyday areas, that help babies and mums. As lots of our consumers have started giving feedback, we feel as we grow we will start to get a whole lot more counsel from our consumer mums. It is clear to us that there are many more learnings and pain points out there which our mums may not be familiar with, so we will start to create a layer of mums who use our products as our ‘ideators in crime’. Do feel free to post on our social feed with ideas or just write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Is traditional retail essential for M&Y to be successful?
In this short journey that Mum & You has been on our focus has been on interacting and selling directly to consumers through our e-commerce store in the UK. We are also present on the Amazon market place in Europe and on Ocado in the UK. All are online channels. Entering traditional retail will push M&Y to abide by the terms of traditional trade where smaller, innovative brands might be given small shelf space, be subject to category reviews, rotation metrics etc. But above all, it will play into the hands of the ‘traditional market leading brands’ who will use all the influence they can to side line smaller brands like ours. At this stage our learning is that we should focus on communicating and selling to our consumers directly and online – to build a one to one relationship with all of you.
Mum & You wouldn’t have been lucky enough to survive a year without the intrepid nature of our mum consumers. Many of you have changed the brand you were using, to take a chance on a new brand like ours. Many of you have posted on social media on what you like about our brand and what you don’t! As a young start-up we will learn from this and our efforts will be focussed on creating products that make the lives of parents a little bit better and easier. Most importantly we will be directing 1% of all our sales to helping mums, who most need help, stand on their feet. Every product that you buy does help another mum. We believe every mum enabled means their children have a better shot at life.
Thank you for helping us get to 1! And in the words of our creative team a ‘Nappy Birthday’ to us!
CEO and Founder, Mum & You