Interview with Sharon, Founder of Angel BabyBox
Tell us a bit about yourself and your career background?
I am an eye surgeon, a mom and an entrepreneur currently based in London.
I first came to London to pursue my PhD with my mentor, Professor John Marshall, who invented the excimer laser used in our refractive eye surgery (LASIK). My research interest includes retina lasers and preventative therapy in age-related macular degeneration. I have a one-year-old daughter, and several business interests, one of which is the Angel Babybox which is a baby product born out of the recognition of the increasing need for luxurious and safe products in the market, one that is sustainable, ecological and convenient for the modern, mobile parent.
Tell us about your business?
Angel Babybox is not just a business, it is a movement and our main objective is to create well designed and safe sleep products that cater to modern parents. our products are designed with ourselves and our babies in mind, creating micro-luxurious and multi-functional baby cribs that grow with our baby. We spent 2 years in research and development to ensure we source for ecological, soft and non-toxic materials to make the product. A shock-absorbing foam with specially designed honeycomb reinforcement, to maintain its lightweight as a travel cot, yet as sturdy as a wooden cot.
We been through safety certification and are proud that we obtained the BSEN1130. Our mobile crib is sturdy and can carry weight of 250Newton in all directions.
My daughter loves her Angel Babybox and has been using it since she was born and till now as a play mat and her pool pen at age of 1.
What inspired you to start your business?
Having lived in both Asia and the UK, my partner, Alice and I recognise the need for modern, well-designed products that cater for modern and busy parents, like ourselves.
We value luxury, sustainability, and are frequently mobile, jetting across the worlds and living in containable flats in high rises. We recognise that new parents buy multiple products, cribs, cots then baby mats in every room and have no storage spaces after a few months of use- hence, we wanted to create a multi-functional, well-designed product for the parent, and a soft and luxurious product, one that they can trust and one that our babies can enjoy.
This is a premium product- yet affordable for its quality.
What do you find the most rewarding about being a Mumpreneur?
I was an entrepreneur before being a mumpreneur- it is more tiring as raising a child is a full-time job!
As a mumpreneur in the children product business - the product/s we choose to carry with our lines and our products must meet the highest quality standards. My partner knows – I am reviewing our product all the time!
If I am not satisfied and not happy, then I will get our team to refine it until it is what we want - but I am fortunate that our Angel Babybox team and designer are equally or if not even more particular about the standards and quality of the products we produce.
Our designer flew across to our manufacturer at least 5 - 6 times in a few months just to make sure every detail of the production is properly carried out.
How do you manage running your business and family life? Are there any hints and tips you can offer?
For the team at Angel Babybox, we have had quite a few challenges with the pandemic - one of which is being ‘stuck’ in the UK, and our products being delayed with shipments and the two /threefold increase in transport cost with shipping.
Having a strong mind - constantly reviewing the course of the business, how we should adapt and never give up!
Always have the objective and focus in mind. My partner, Alice has been very understanding and taking on more work when my baby was newly born and our partner and design team has been very supportive as we have been stuck in the UK with the pandemic and they have been actively working on our Singapore side of the business.
Working as a team and appreciating the efforts of all team members is very important.
Just as with family life - my husband is very understanding and supportive - he is a tester of our product and absolutely love it!
What is the biggest business challenge you encountered in your business and how did you overcome it?
Angel Babybox launched 6 months before the pandemic in the UK. We were awarded several ‘top 10’ products in the United Kingdom and were gaining traction quickly and had several luxury baby shops waiting to list our product in their shops. The pandemic happened and we faced several difficulties, including the unaccounted cost of increased shipping, months of delays with shipping, lost goods and the closure of shops (for a year now - some of which has closed down).
The Premium product market at the moment is challenging and as a new brand and a new concept, it has been very difficult for us to market in the virtual world.
We then started our marketing back at home, 1 year before our original plan and are working to promote the concept of safety of products in Asia.
We are exploring all options and alternative solutions as we ride through the difficult times of the pandemic- however, we are now gaining further traction and interest with distributors contacting us through Europe and the Middle East - hence, watch this space for our very own Singaporean Brand!
What three bits of advice would you give to a mum wanting to start her own business?
- Always have a diary and plan your day - down to your time - including your children’s routine in your timetable
- Know to switch off when required - children know it if they are not given their full attention!
- Always have a clear objective of what you are doing in mind
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