To the lovely local mummas out there- thank you for being a part of the Booloo babe family xo
With the Aussie dollar continuing to strengthen against overseas currencies and imported items becoming cheaper, it got me thinking about how we choose to shop these days and why. How many of you prefer online shopping compared to shopping local? Is it important to you to touch, feel or try something before you purchase it? Or is getting it at the best price and as quickly as possible a priority for you? To be honest, I probably fall somewhere in between, depending on the product I am after and how much time I have. Booloo babe started out as just a personalised modern cloth nappy fitting service, offering mums and babes the chance to try before they buy in the comfort of their own home. Samantha and I decided that was the way we wanted to start our business after personal experiences of having nowhere local to go to experience the fit and feel of a modern cloth nappy when we were first starting out with cloth on our babes. I desperately wanted to have a play with a nappy before I committed to buying a full time pack that could cost up to $1000. Personally I found the pictures on the Internet of One Size Fits Most, All In Ones and Snap In Ones (to name just a few!) so confusing and felt so out of my depth. It really only left me feeling frustrated and overwhelmed with all the options! We took a gamble and bet that we weren’t the only ones and Booloo babe’s personalised service was born!
The personalised service went well from the beginning so we expanded to doing local markets where there was more opportunity to meet and speak face to face with expectant mums. About the same time we also found many customers asking if they could just grab our website details and shop online in their own time. These people really didn’t want to have someone to talk them through the ins and outs of cloth, instead they were happy to just have a look at something on the Internet and try their luck at the fit of the nappy on their babe. Different strokes for different folks I suppose! So since the middle of 2011 we decided to join the online world of shopping carts, Paypal and courier services and now have over 1000 products to choose from on our Booloo babe website- www.booloobabe.com.au .
With rises in the cost of living including electricity and childcare costs in 2012 I understand the priority to shop around, compare prices and get the most out of your dollar. This is so much easier to do at the click of a button instead of trawling around the shops to find the best deal (possibly with child and possibly a hungry/tired/cranky/all of the above one at that). However, I believe that there is nothing quite like a personalised experience where you have the chance to get great customer service and build relationships with your local retailers. It really is what makes the world go around and helps a local area to grow and prosper. I feel blessed in this respect to be a part of Booloo babe. The amount of mums and their babes (and even dads) that I have been lucky enough to meet in my local area is one of the main reasons I continue with this home based business. Sometimes when I am spending a lot more time on Booloo babe for what feels like very little return, taking time away from my family while I, “just reply to a few quick emails” or spend all day at a market only to lug all my stock back home at the end of the day- it is the familiar face of a customer at my local park or shopping centre, stopping to say hello and telling me how much she loves her nappies that is Booloo babe’s raison d’etre! Sometimes, when my family is with me a customer will stop and tell me, “Without you, I never would have tried cloth nappies”. It is moments like these that I know I am teaching my children through example and maybe even making a difference, albeit a tiny one. What a feeling!
Interestingly, we have hundreds of visitors to our website www.booloobabe.com.au every day but 6 months into the birth of our online shop, we can still say that the majority of our sales are made through our personalised service- when we have spent precious time away from our families to be with other lovely families at their homes, trying on different nappies and accessories, talking them through the different options and finding something that best suits their family and their pocket. Whether this will change when our website gains more followers and modern cloth nappies become more common in the local shops who’s to say? However I know that Samantha and I never would have had the chance to meet all the lovely mums we have, some who we are now privileged enough to call our friends.
So, to those lovely mums who we met at markets or mother’s groups, who were expecting; or who just had their firstborn; who wanted to go cloth from the minute their babe was born; to the lovely mums who were attempting cloth with their third child (or more!); who just wanted to save a dollar (or have more room in their bin!), who thought they were just more funky than disposables; who considered the environment and wanted to set a good example to their children and to anyone else who supported us- thanks for your custom, thanks for your encouragement, your referrals to other mums and for helping us to continue when sometimes it feels like 95% of the disposable market is against us (probably because they are)! Thank you and keep spreading the cloth love!