It’s not unusual these days to see women leading businesses in most sectors. In 2015, an Australian study commissioned by the Office for Women and compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that over the past two decades, the number of female-run businesses have grown by nearly fifty percent, and almost half of those women had dependent children. And according to the NSW Department of Industry, Australia ranks second in the world as the best country for female entrepreneurship.
Darragh Heard is a part of this wave of mumpreneurs, a term coined as far back as 1998. Some of the well-known success stories include: Jessica Alba, founder of The Honest Company; Julia Hartz, co-founder and CEO of Eventbrite; and Emma Isaacs, founder of Business Chicks, Australia’s largest community of working women. Like most of these women, Darragh’s postpartum days were consumed with learning and navigating parenthood. This new world came with new challenges and needs, one of which was dressing up her daughter. Darragh found it difficult to obtain stylish baby accessories that don’t clash and were also conveniently available from one place. And from there, a simple yet insightful business opportunity revealed itself. But bringing a business into fruition with a newborn in tow was definitely a conundrum.
The solution eventually came to Darragh as she was holding her daughter. New mums quickly adapt to functioning with one hand, since the other is almost always cradling a babe. So with this newfound ability, Darragh utilised her spare hand to build an entire business while on maternity leave, all on her smart phone.
‘My phone, which I feel naked without, became my critical connection to the world. I became efficient at using my other hand and maximising every other minute I had to work on my business while still being able to hold and nurture my baby,’ said Darragh.
From developing a written strategic business plan, conducting market research, sourcing and managing manufacturers, through to managing her marketing team – Darragh managed to build Bubze with only her spare hand. Bubze aims to solve the problem she had as a new parent and serves as an online shop that provides fashionable and useful accessories for babies such as bibs, teethers, clips, socks, and shoes.
Being the developer, marketer and target audience made the process fast and more enjoyable for Darragh. She knew what was best for babies, but also what was important to mums.
‘It has been incredibly satisfying to work on a product knowing first-hand what the end-user wants. In my advertising agency I usually have to rely on the client and market research to provide me with all the information I need, which can drastically draw out the process,’ she explained.
This is the paradigm of the modern businesswoman. Handheld communication devices have revolutionised economics, and in turn, have changed the lives of parents everywhere. So many physical hurdles and limitations that entrepreneurs once faced have been completely overcome by a device that can be held in one hand.
‘To all the mums out there who are looking to achieve something for themselves: it is absolutely possible,’ said Darragh.
With a bubbly 15 month-old baby, Darragh launched Bubze.com.au in September and is now back at Heard Agency, a PR and creative agency based in Redfern. This is a juggling act she never thought was possible… but thanks to a little device always in her back pocket, Darragh can now join the thousands of women who proudly call themselves mumpreneurs.
Are you a mumpreneur? How has your mobile helped you run your business after becoming a mother?