Hello ladies and gents, Haley here, founder of Beluga Baby. I've had many people ask me recently about how I got my business making baby wraps and swaddles started. And the truth is, it's been a weird and wacky journey to where I am today!
I launched the company when my daughter was five months old, which meant that I was working on it from before she was born. In fact, I wore her in one of our first prototypes when she was two days old. Look - see!
Fun fact, this colour is actually currently available as a limited edition. It’s called “Bondi” and it’s dreamy.
Beluga Baby has been a literal dream. Every day I get to send out baby wraps to new parents (or loved ones of new parents). I see wraps heading out all over the world. It’s honestly mind-boggling. In fact, my husband and I were talking about it as we packed boxes yesterday, wondering if everyone with a business feels this lucky, this connected to all their customers.
Because I do, I feel like I’m a part of your parenthood story. Wearing my daughter in the wrap made such a difference to my newborn days. And I know that each time I send one out, it’ll most likely impact a family in a similarly huge way. That is not lost on me.
Beluga Baby allows me a crazy kind of freedom. I get to pick my own hours (most of the time), focus on my family, be creative, and contribute to the financial stability of our household. Sure, sometimes I work on the weekends, but I also can take a day off during the week if I want to take my kid to the beach. Last night I worked, along with hubby, into the evening after a five hour drive. But we got to work in our office, at our pace, and with our daughter watching the whole thing, learning what it takes to be an entrepreneur. The good, the bad, the ugly.
I guess with this post I wanted to encourage you, if you’re thinking about taking a step towards entrepreneurship, to try it out! With that being said, I wanted to share six uncommon pieces of advice that were pivotal for me in the growth of Beluga Baby.
When I started Beluga Baby I was on maternity leave, so I made sure to reinvest every dollar we made back into the business, otherwise the Canadian government deducts it from your benefits dollar for dollar. Again, so lucky to live in a country when I have this opportunity. When my maternity leave and accompanying benefits were up, I took on extra copywriting jobs to pay the bills. I wrote websites and blogs, managed social media accounts, wrote white papers on social media management, anything people would pay me to write. All so I could keep the profits inside the business, using it to grow Beluga Baby instead of pay myself.
If you can handle it, I highly recommend this.
Don’t be shy - you’ve started a business! I find that many people, especially women, feel uncomfortable talking about their accomplishments. Don’t be. Whether it succeeds or fails, you’ve done more than a huge majority of the population and you should be proud of it. More than that, talking about it, or “networking”, lets people know that they can support you. I mean, wouldn’t you buy something from your friend if they started a cool business. I bet you would!
Talking about it gives your community space to support you, so shout it from the rooftops.
If you can, try to grow at a slower pace. Keep pushing forward, yes, but reinvesting your profits back into the business instead of, say, getting into debt, will reduce stress and allow you to get an accurate read on whether your business can gain momentum on its own. It’s also crazy satisfying knowing that it’s really YOU and your amazing product/service that’s driving growth. Plus, less stress!
Gather as much information as you can. Read books. Talk to people who run their businesses. And GOOGLE stuff. I swear I learned 80% of what I know from Youtube and Blogs. If you’re looking online, make sure you’re reading recent stuff. I like to search by typing “Topic XYZ 2019” so I get articles from this year. The digital marketing world is changing so fast, it’s important to stay on top of everything.
One of the main reasons Beluga Baby can grow as a one-person show is that my time expenditure is nearly the same if I sell 1 or 20 wraps per day. Only now in year four it’s looking like I need to get some help packing orders, but ‘till now, it’s been doable with me (and my supportive husband sometimes!). That’s the beauty about product-based businesses. You can grow and grow without having to carry too much overhead. Again, simplify for less stress!
The minute you start focusing on what your competition is doing instead of staying in your lane and growing your business, is the moment you lose momentum. There will always be competition. Don't let them distract you from your goals, and what makes your brand unique. I repeat - don't try to keep up with your competitors. Create your own lane, and dominate that.
Of course, these tips won’t work for everyone. But for me, they’ve allowed me to follow my business and life dreams without becoming overwhelmed.
Feel free to ask questions in the comments - I love helping fellow entrepreneurs!
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I reached out to Mamas for Mamas see if we could design a charity wrap together, with $5 from each wrap donated to their cause. I asked if they had a particular mama they wanted to name the wrap after, and that’s when this project became larger and more touching than I ever could have imagined.
This is the story they wrote back with, asking for us to name the wrap - The Samara.