Who are you?
Rhiannon Carpio. I am married with two little girls aged 2 and a half year and 10 months. Big on family, friends, great food, womens equality and social responsibility. I hope to raise my daughters to be strong, beautiful women who know they can achieve anything they want to acheive.
What do you do?
I have always worked in sales and am currently employed as marketing consultant helping small businesses with their social media marketing and online sales. I love my job, the company and the people but have always wanted my own business.
Devon Road Babies sells everything you need for your hospital bag in one place- the difference is that virtually every item has organic, ethical or sustainable accreditation and you can pick individual items or from a range of pre packed bags. We also strive to work with companies that manufacture in Britain as I believe this is important for many different reasons but the whole concept is about giving pregnant women more purchasing choice – my ethical ideals may not be the same as yours so I have tried to give as much information as possible about the products and brands we feature and what their values are so women can make up their own minds which companies they want to support if this kind of stuff is important to them too. If it’s not then they can just enjoy our beautiful products!
I have this vision of Devon Road Babies being a place which is immediately associated with hospital bags and where pregnant women can shop for organic, ethical products without feeling like they have morphed into a different person. Hopefully it’s a stylish looking site without too much oatmeal and pretty pink rabbits! To suddenly switch from reading Grazia and shopping in Ted Baker to scouring pregnancy magazines and Mothercare maternity is a massive transition, I hope our site has a balance of beautiful baby delights but also recognises that pregnant women are women and not just baby incubators!
When did you establish your business?
We are really new – I incorporated the company at the end of last year and launched the site at the beginning of February. Our first sale came about two weeks later.
What made you start your own business?
I have always thought that the only way to provide a solid foundation for my children’s future and to be in control of the time we get as a family is to have our own business – I also genuinely believe we source great products that make a difference in the world, it’s nice to have a vehicle that can make a change, no matter how small that change is.
With my second baby I tried to source organic, sustainable and ethical products for my hospital bag but would have ended up ordering from 7 or 8 different sites so I had to make compromises. This is where the idea for Devon Road Babies came from, I could source products from companies trying to do great things and provide a solution for women who want chemical free and fairly traded products.
What do you love about working for yourself?
I am an undercover control freak and like things to be done my way. I also have loads of ideas all the time so having my own business is a good outlet for all of that!
Is there anything you do not like about working for yourself?
I am always having to remind myself to keep focussed – I want to launch a million new products when we have only just scratched the surface of what we already have! Luckily I have some great people around me who know what they are talking about plus the mum and baby world is absolutely the nicest, most encouraging and open industry I have ever worked in.
Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you could?
Theres always something new to learn and the business is constantly changing and adapting as I find better ways of doing things. Time management and utilising things like social media schedulers is something I should have been doing from day one.
What advice would you give to a Mum considering starting her own business?
Number one is something you hear all the time but it so true, do something you believe in – in the short run you might have to sacrifice some family time (or sleep!) to get started and its hard to do if you don’t really believe you have something great to offer. When you are working or raising a family as well then make sure you carve out set hours to work on the business otherwise everything else gets in the way. Surround yourself with good people and let them help, take as much good advice on board as you can but trust your own instincts because it’s your personality, ideas and tone that will create your brand. Have a strong plan with your initial ideas down on paper – it’s so easy to get distracted and a business plan keeps you focussed on what you need to achieve at what stage, my plan helps me get excited about everything again if I am lacking motivation.