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Why I Started A Child-Focused Business Even Though I’m Not a Mother

Why I Started A Child-Focused Business Even Though I’m Not a Mother Beth Searle

7th June 20172Comments
Last week, on the news that Theresa May had abandoned the childhood obesity strategy Thomasina Miers, the Masterchef winner and founder of the Wahaca chain of Mexican restaurants, made this comment:

 

“Part of me felt that if you had had children you would not have done that, because it is so important that our children eat [healthy food]”

 

I found this comment insulting, frankly.  Dividing the adult female population into those who have kids, and those without, making those of us who haven’t had children feel somehow less able to understand their needs.I guess it particularly hit a nerve with me, as I recently started up a child-focused business, despite not having any children of my own.Two years ago, when I first started working on my idea, I frequently struggled with the thought that I was not qualified to run a child-focused business when I don’t have kids of my own.  I worried that no one would take me seriously.

Beth Searle
Beautiful Beth: founder of Be So Baby. https://besobaby.com


I started my company, Be So Baby, to help aunties like me buy better gifts for the babies and children in their life without so much effort.  After years of struggling to find gifts that I knew my nieces and nephews would enjoy and actually use, I realised as I went from completely clueless to a more accomplished gifter that there must be more people out there just like me.

There are so many things you need to figure out when you’re looking for a gift for a child.  What sort of gift would they love?  Is your gift age appropriate?  Where do you even start when there is so much overwhelming choice available?  At Be So Baby, we curate ready to deliver unique gifts full of toys and games that are age appropriate and tried and tested. No difficult wrapping or trips to the post office required.

When I first started Be So Baby, I spent a lot of time talking to mums about the sort of gifts they really wanted to receive (and that their kids loved too). I got a little swept up in the mumpreneur networks and groups. But as friendly and welcoming as these groups are, I always felt like a fraud showing up.  While everyone else was comparing their child care issues and sleep patterns, I would sit quietly in the corner hoping nobody would ask me about mine.

So I have consciously taken a step back from that.  The main thing I have learnt in starting this business is to not try to be something I’m not.  As part of these ‘mum’ groups, I started to wonder if I was the last childfree woman in her 30s left for a while!  Luckily, a quick mental run-through of the group of girlfriends I made when I moved to London as a graduate 13 years ago tells me that actually only half of us have started a family already.  Our ages range from 33 to 39 years old, and we are all at different stages of relationships, living arrangements and family.

When I quieten the doubtful voice in my head, I know that I am perfectly positioned to run my business really.  My knowledge and experience straddle both sides of the equation.  With my nieces and nephews, I see first hand what kids like and enjoy, as they grow and develop, whilst I also know what it’s like as an aunt to struggle to find appropriate gifts that you know will ‘just work’.I also realise that a lot of the doubts and feelings of being a fraud only exist in my own head. Nobody was actually telling me I shouldn’t be doing this except me.

External validation has helped a lot too.  Every time I receive a grateful email or read a positive customer review, it gives me a little bit more confidence and helps to banish the self-doubt.  This is the first review I received:

“I just wanted to say how much we loved the gift box sent to us via Be So Baby. It is such a great idea to send a gift for the older sibling when a new baby is born. Especially one designed to distract them!
My toddler Imogen played with the board game for ages as soon as we opened the box.”

These days I’m no longer the clueless auntie I once was, and pride myself on being my nieces’ and nephew’s favourite.  A weekend doesn’t really feel complete without a trip over to my brother’s house to hang out with my 5-year-old niece and her brother and baby sister.  They obviously enjoy their status as chief product testers too!

Beth on auntie duties with her nephew and niece ( I think we can all agree …they look like total cutie-pies!)

So, I am holding my head up high as a child-focused entrepreneur.  I am not under qualified to run the business that I do.  And despite what anyone else says, you don’t have to have your own children to know something about them.

Be so Baby
New Brother / Sister Gift Box from Be So Baby

2 Comments

  1. I love this article. I’ve often thought that childfree aunts (and uncles) can sometimes be much better listeners than a child’s parents.

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