Snuggle Hunny Kids

How A Mom Entrepreneur Sold 180,000 Units of Baby and Toddler Clothing

Monique Hession

$20,000 Initial Funding From Grandparents

Monique Hession

When I had my first born son, I realised there was nothing in the market to fall in love with in way of swaddling and keeping my baby cosy in his wrap. My mum made me some gorgeous swaddles for Mason that I loved and adored and brought some beauty into this functional but huge part of my babies life. He slept a lot, and he and I found so much comfort in him being wrapped. I wanted others to feel the way it made me feel. Snuggle Hunny Kids grew into a brand all on its own because it offers happiness and comfort, beauty and charm for mum and bub.

Snuggle Hunny Kids Monique Hession

There was a market for mothers like me, but no products to satisfy it, so I took a risk and created 6 items to sell online. I wanted to create a special birth announcement photo for my son when he arrived to celebrate him with my family and friends and introduce him to the world. I realised quickly that there was a gap in the market for this as social media was exploding and we explore this space.

After longing for a career change and wanting to raise my children at home, I was fortunate to spend my maternity leave raising my son and starting a unique business. I didn’t realise the enormity of what lay in front of me, all I knew was that I was passionate about this space and took a risk to step out into it.

Was it a lightbulb moment or gradual process?

In my first year I sold no more than 1-6 orders a week. I don’t know why I didn't give up but i spent the year learning, watching the people who inspired me, growing businesses and researched and studied the market/social media and e-commerce.

A year in I had this strategy where I bought products of other exploding brands and photographed their products with mine, I then created content around what was trending and those brands reposted my photos. I started to grow so fast organically and was hustling my way into everyone's feeds. I started to gain followers and momentum then reaching out to mummy influencers on social media and sending them our products. We got a lot of exposure this way and it was a snowball effect. I realised then this could be really big for us on social media.

How did you get your first three customers?

Via etsy, I put 6 product listings online and they sold pretty quickly. I then moved to instagram/fb shortly thereafter and this is when it really started to grow.

How did you validate the idea?

There was no one doing this successfully. It was a new concept to e-commerce, celebrating your babies via birth announcement on social media and sharing it with family and friends. something as a parent I realised was a huge milestone. Snuggle Hunny Kids grew into a brand all on its own because it offers happiness and comfort, beauty and charm for mum and bub and as we shared this common stage in life with other mothers we realised it was a thing. Our community was built around motherhood and experiencing this journey together.

Did you have any experience/expertise in the area?

I come from an accounting background, having worked for a chartered accounting firm for 13 years. I had zero experience in social media / marketing or commercialising a business.

My accounting skills however have been a huge benefit in running my business.

Who is your target demographic?

Women! A mother in all forms, the best friend. The nurturer, the caregiver. Grand mother, the aunt, everyone knows someone who is having a baby. Aged between 25-44.

What is the funniest/most strange customer request you’ve had?

Nothing to crazy but people have bought our baby muslin wraps to use as a head scarf for themselves!

How did you fund the idea initially?

We are self funded and have no debt over our business. My grandparents gifted me $20,000, i spent $15K on product and $5K on computers and equipment/website. We had no marketing budget for years. We re-invest all our revenue back into the business for growth.

Where did you meet your cofounder/founding team?

We are a husband and wife duo with a small but wonderful team. Team of 12!

Any tips for finding first employees? Once you have hit capacity yourself it is important to give away the roles that you don’t enjoy and areas of expertise you are lacking and can grow value to the business. You cannot wear all the hats!

What sells best?

Our fastest moving items are the organic muslin wraps and our innovative waterproof snuggle bibs.

What motivated you to start your own business?

Passion and the idea of wanting to do something I love doing as a job. My Children, I really wanted to get out of the corporate grind and be at home and raise my children, SHK was the way I was going to do it and that i did/do!

What were your family and friends first thoughts on your company?

Everyone thought it was just a hobby or a small side business that I enjoyed doing. No one even myself ever dreamed of growing it to the size it has. It was never about the money, it was always a passion of mine.

What motivates you when things go wrong? What is the end goal?

The belief and passion about what we are doing with our brand. Our community keeps me motivated, the people gained a lot of support and we provide a place where we don’t judge, we share the ups and downs of motherhood/life, be light hearted and provide a lifestyle brand that celebrates all our children and our milestones together. The end goal is to run a company that is ethical, customer focused, gives back to the community and to be creative in a way that allows us to keep building the vision for my brand. Support our community and have an engaged brand that is one with our followers.

I’ve always wanted to give back but never knew how to do this with my brand until some time ago I would start getting mums in our community message us about their time in NICU and how their jersey/muslin wraps brought them so much joy and happiness in such a time of need. We didn’t realise how much of a big part we played in their journey. As our customers pack their hospital bags with their very first outfits they often have a very definite idea of what the whole experience will look like. When you suddenly end up in NICU, the carefully chosen outfits go unworn as they battle it out in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

They can, however, use their swaddle wraps as baby nests and to keep under or over baby. I never realised how our products could have such an effect like this, but in a sterile and underfunded environment, we heard how much joy it brought to these little patients and families. Once I realised how much of an impact it made, I put a call out to all nurses from Neo Natal Intensive Care Units and asked how their units worked.

They ALL said there is no funding and they use old and worn out wraps and blankets for their baby nests and how they desperately needed new linen. So that was it. From that day forward we started sending our monthly care package to NICUs around the country to bring some light and extra love into these hard working units and continue to do so.

Do you have any advice for someone just starting out?

I don’t know why I didn’t give up but i am so glad I didn’t. It’s important to not worry about the end goal or focus on it too much, to take small steps forward in your business, learn and evolve as you go. Put a strategy into place and move through it, so you can see the bigger picture but don’t overwhelm yourself with it all at once. Once you hit your capacity you need to ensure you employ the right people to help grow your business, allowing you to do what you love and giving away the areas that you are not skilled in or don’t enjoy.

What has driven the most sales?

Social media - instagram and facebook.

What is stopping you being 3x the size you are now?

We are a family business, we want to keep it that way. I want to be able to manage and lead my team from the front and be involved in all areas of the business as opposed to giving it to a CEO or CFO and communication lines breakdown.

How do you protect yourself from competition?

Have a vision for your brand and be true to it. I don’t even know what my competitors are doing to be honest. We are leaders. we are original and we create based on our customers feedback and wants.

Do you have any trademarks/IP/patents?

Yes. Our no zip, no velcro sleep bag is protected. The name is “SNUGGLE SWADDLE

Our business name and logo is also protected. Snuggle Hunny Kids, Newborns never looked so good!

What apps could your business not run without?

Instagram - we get the most organic traffic from instagram, we have a large online community that is vital to our business.

Facebook - We get the most paid traffic to our site, we also have a large online community that is vital to our business.

UNFOLD - Story Content - Creating beautiful/engaging content to compliment our products and brands.

Picplaypost - Video Content. Creating beautiful/engaging content to compliment our products and brands.

Dropbox - Where we keep all our content for social media.

What are the next products you’re working on?

We are working on a few new lines, but to keep ahead of the game we can’t give anything away. Stay tuned!

Are there any releases you can tell us about?

We have new season swaddles and bedding coming early 2020 with fresh and exciting new patterns.

Where do you see the company in 5 years?

We are on an upward trend of significant growth, I see us with a bigger team, bigger office and warehouse space and at least doubling our business.

Would you ever sell?

We are still very early in our business and experiencing a lot of growth. Right now, no.!

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