It’s no secret that most start-ups don’t make it past the three year mark. The chance of success for a start-up business launching an infant product is even lower. After four years of juggling motherhood, product approval processes and learning the tricks of the trade as a new entrepreneur, Lily Toma, founder of Giselle&I has discovered there are many challenges of starting a business that are sugar-coated and under-appreciated.
Lily Toma, mother of six, has recently transformed her family’s secret recipe for infants with tummy troubles into an Australian Government Department of Health approved product, ‘Soothe Me Baby’ tea. Soothe Me Baby is an all-natural tea proven to provide relief from colic, stomach pains, nausea, bloating, wind, indigestion and any related gastrointestinal discomforts in babies and young children.
Lily recounts the five unspoken truths she discovered in the four years it took to build her business, and launch Soothe Me Baby tea. She wants to share her five tips so other mothers wanting to start a business can learn from her experience.
1. Licenses & qualifications can make or break your business
“The key to successfully getting a product into the market is having a top down approach. Think of where you want your product to end up, which in my case was pharmacies and health food stores and work backwards from this goal. It is imperative to have all the required licenses and qualifications before moving forward with a product idea. Ensure you leave enough time for this as approval processes can take six months, if not longer. Research as much as possible, visit and speak to different organisations within the industry, have all the facts and only then, lay it out before licensing bodies. Don’t give any licensing body the reason to say no.”
2. Knowing who to trust is like a game of roulette
“When starting out, it is important to know who has your business’ best interests at heart. While many people will use referrals to navigate their way through, I didn’t know anyone and had to learn on the go. Speak to different manufacturers, network with them and begin to share a working relationship. Small businesses may be viewed as not being a priority. If you need to constantly follow up with manufacturers and contacts, this probably means they are not interested. When I met with my current manufacturer, I felt his sincerity and I was treated like any other accomplished, successful business person. My advice is to always trust your instincts.”
3. It’s not enough to think outside the box
“You might have the most mind blowing idea, but if it’s not user friendly it just won’t work. In today’s society everyone is always looking for easy and simple solutions, including myself. Therefore, I made Soothe Me Baby tea a 100% dissolvable powder, packed and individually sealed for every parent’s convenience, all you have to do is add boiling water. Find a way to create a product that is convenient, straight forward to use and makes life easier. Whether it’s through its function, formula or packaging, make sure to patent an innovative idea straight away.”
4. Quality & safety is costly
“When I started Giselle&I I knew I didn’t want to just put herbs in a bag and sell it online, nor did I want to inject it with synthetic chemicals like other colic and wind relief products. I went to excessive lengths to ensure Soothe Me Baby tea is of the highest safety and quality to give mums that peace of mind. It is easy for businesses to cut corners, but the ones that will succeed are the ones that never compromise on safety and the wellbeing of others just to make a few dollars. Remember your purpose and stay truthful to your vision and responsibilities.”
5. Distribution is everything
“I started selling Soothe Me Baby online, but I knew it wasn’t enough to get it into pharmacies and health food stores. It wasn’t until I worked with a distributor that I began to see progress. Find a distributor that is excited about your product, has the right industry networks and shares the same goals. Ensure you only agree to terms that you are happy with and remember to not sell yourself or your product short.”
For more information about ‘Soothe Me Baby’ tea visit the website: www.giselleandi.com