Vanessa Blake the founder of Dreamgenii is our Mumpreneur feature for today – see her interview below 🙂
Who are you?
Vanessa Blake – Founder and Director of dreamgenii®
What do you do?
At dreamgenii® we sell a range of products that serve to make pregnancies, births and children more comfortable all over the world. We focus on products that genuinely work to make parents’ and children’s lives easier, delivering products that are born out of genuine need – that genuinely work.
When did you establish your business?
What made you start your own business?
I was six months pregnant with my son and after weeks of tossing and turning at night I’d had enough. I tried every pregnancy pillow on the market and none of them actually worked. All of them woke me up in the night when I wanted to move and they usually ended up strewn on the floor by morning!
I bought a sewing machine and made a pillow myself, but it was pretty basic. I showed it to my midwife at my antenatal class and everyone raved about it! They suggested I should look into selling it to other women so I took it to a manufacturer and asked them to make up some proper samples. I showed the samples to various midwives, healthcare organisations as well as many pregnant friends and volunteers. The pillow was universally welcomed as a huge help for pregnant women, and we went on to launch it. Five years later we now sell a range of award winning, unique products for parents and children that support their journey from pregnancy to parenthood.
What do you love about working for yourself?
Being in control of my own destiny! As well as being able to put our children first. We never lose sight of why we set up the business in the first place and that everything we do is for our family. We try not to sacrifice family life for the business – but to make the business fit around our family. Even if it does mean some late nights working from home sometimes once the children are in bed! We also try and make sure we have fun. We are a small team and all enjoy working together.
Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you could?
Be more prepared for success! We had no idea how quickly sales for the pillow would take off. We had to learn new skills very quickly and scale up our operations to be able to supply customers like Mothercare.
Finally If there is 1 thing that you could tell other Mums who want to start their own business; what would it be?
I think to have the courage of your convictions, and to stick with it. Trying to get something off the ground can be stressful, and I could never have done it without the support of my husband Stephen and all of our family. I firmly believe if you can get through those first few months it’s well worth the effort!