Welcome to yet another edition of The Times Of Amma Mompreneur series where we talk to mothers who have transformed their passions into money-making ventures. From online jewellery stores, to handmade craft collectibles to potential actualizing workshops and much more. We hope that their accounts of the highs and lows of their entrepreneurial journey will inspire other mothers to hold on to their dreams and follow them through.
Today, we speak with Sangeetha, Founder Of Cuddly Coo baby products - the only premium Baby Hammock and Fabric Swings company in India. The company is based in Bangalore and all the components are carefully sourced from within India. Sangeetha started her journey as an architect, but this business was born from her ambition to fulfill one of her son’s needs.
From a background in architecture and engineering to creating CuddlyCoo Baby Products. As a little girl had you ever imagined that you would be working in fields as diverse as these? What did you want to be when you grew up?
Well, I never really knew what I'd end up doing but I was always slightly inclined towards the creative side. I used to really love geometry and math. I think architecture sort of combines the engineering and creative skills in a person. Hence I chose it.
Architecture also opens up a world of possibilities. It doesn't restrict you in ways a lot of other professions do. You could choose from a whole range of design fields post architecture. I always felt comfortable designing small aspects of our lives and I have valued most traditional practices because they seem to be in place for reasons well thought about.
When you combine the goods of both the new and old worlds - wonderful products are born. CuddlyCoo is our attempt to reach back to our roots and give children an unsophisticated simple childhood back to them.
What inspired you to create CuddlyCoo?
CuddlyCoo was born when we couldn't find a good durable aesthetically pleasing Baby Hammock for our son - Dhruv.
Have things gone according to your business plan?
A lot of it has - a lot hasn't. We did not start it as a full fledged business initially. It was a very small venture starting with our Baby Hammock in 2014. We then released Baby/Toddler Swing followed by Children's Hammock Swing, Board Swings and TeePee Tents. Our growth has really been very organic. We started actively pursuing it only beginning this year when my younger one started school and I have some time to spare. We are now actively going offline and exports seem to be in the pipeline as well. Considering the fact that we are a home-grown brand, We have come a long way.
What were the challenges you faced in setting up the business?
We did not face many challenges initially because we were small. Expansion to the retail stores has its complications which includes setting up the distribution and supply chain.
Who was your biggest support while transforming your passion into a business?
My husband has been my only support! Coming from a traditional background my parents and relatives have always looked forward to me being in a typical MNC. So when I quit my comfortable well-paid job with a leading MNC, nobody was happy! I struggled managing office and home - and CuddlyCoo was what I could do at my own pace since it was small then. And now that the kids aren't so small I can scale up and they help me around as well!! There are days when my staff are on festive holiday and we work at the warehouse as a family!
Tell us more about your team.
I have a small team each for carpentry, tailoring and warehousing. I also have an online sales and marketing team which takes care of our social media and online sales. Like I said, they are days when everyone is on leave and we do it all by ourselves. I feel I wont know the nitty gritty details till I have a hands on experience with the products. Only then will I be in a position to delegate work as well, the 'how', 'what' and 'why' in every product is very important to understand.
What has been the highest point/happiest moment in your entrepreneurship journey so far?
Everytime we release a new product we test it on our kids - and the smile or lack of it on their faces are a clear indication if it is good or bad. When customers send in their genuine review and photos I feel ecstatic!
Could you give us a glimpse of your typical working day?
My work starts at around 9.30 a.m after the kids are packed off to school. I generally spend a couple of hours at the warehouse inspecting work, check my mails, packages and accounts for another couple of hours and come home by 3.30. it is mostly an organized mess with a lot of adjustments with my household as well!
Would you say that being a mom is advantageous or disadvantageous as far as starting a business is concerned?
Motherhood was the sole reason I started my Business! If not I'd still be an employee at an MNC. There is a lot of planning and management involved though.
Most mothers are expert multitaskers. As a business woman and mother of two when is the most you have had to multi-task?
Despite the fact that I HATE to multitask, there are times when it is unavoidable. I had to do a lot of multitasking when the kids were younger though.
What is the one piece of advice that you wish you had received while setting up your ventures?
That you need to be ready to unlearn. Having no background in business it has been such a wonderful learning experience. I take courses on so many aspects of business now. I feel like a school kid sometimes. It is exciting and fascinating.
What has your favourite piece of client feedback been so far?
As a manufacturer, every feedback is valuable. While positive feedbacks give us happiness, the negative ones help us strive for a better product range. Retailers give a lot of valuable feedback on varied topics like how to give the clients a better user experience, how to make the packaging better etc. It helps us continuously improve our products.
Thank you, Sangeetha for having the drive to create a full-fledged business from what was a unique personal need. Your entrepreneurial spirit is truly inspiring.
If you are an Inspiring Mompreneur or you know someone who fits the bill, get in touch with us here or on Facebook.
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