In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Mom, Incorporated had the opportunity to interview Suzanne Browne and Martina Delaney, the founders of Clevamama™, a mom-owned baby products company based out of Ireland that recently entered the American market.
MomIncorporated: How did you get started with Clevamama™ and how has it evolved into the business it is today?
Suzanne: Established in 2003, in the midst of three very small babies, very little sleep and a conveyor belt of feeding and changing, we had what you might call a “light bulb” moment. That moment led to the creation of a small family run online baby website where we sold third party baby products from our own homes.
Although our online shop was successful, it wasn’t long before we began to realise just how lucrative the nursery industry was. People are always going to have babies and the nursery industry is one of few that actually thrives in a recession!
As Moms, our primary goal was to develop an honest brand with pure products that would make parents lives that bit easier, safer and healthier. Hence the birth of Clevamama™ which coincided with the birth of my second baby! Designed by Moms for Moms, Clevamama™ products are creative, practical and above all, affordable. With over 40 products in our range we are proud to say we are now an international brand of choice.
MomIncorporated: What are some of the challenges of being a small company conducting business internationally?
Martina: Trading on a global scale is never easy and as we are now trading in over 30 countries, it is becoming more challenging. Trying to establish brand identity on a global scale is tough but luckily customers from all over the world have identified with the brand and Clevamama™ is now an internationally recognised brand name.
Language barriers can sometimes present a problem. We are lucky enough that Dan, our Supply Chain manager, is a native Chinese speaker as we have factories and warehouses in China whom we communicate with on a daily basis.
Shipping and transport of goods was initially quite a challenge. However as our business has expanded we have been able to open distribution centres in the UK, Dublin, China and the US, which deal with all of our international shipping and deliveries.
Marketing across different languages can be difficult. However we now offer marketing support in several different languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Hungarian with more languages in the pipeline. Our website is also available in four different languages to cater to our key markets.
MomIncorporated: Clevamama™ has recently entered the American market and is doing quite well. Have you had to think differently about how you market your products?
Suzanne: The US market is huge for us at the moment. Our brand is well established around the world but as the US market is so vast we have had to begin building our brand awareness. Our Amazon sales are helping us to generate publicity. Our products have been receiving fantastic reviews and word of mouth recommendations are working wonders for us.
We have also been getting an amazing response from US Mom bloggers such as Mom Start and Mommy Gaga, to name but a few. According to the Mintel Report, 55% of Moms have made a purchase because of a recommendation from a blog. We have developed a Mom blogger engagement programme to help grow our customer base.
MomIncorporated: How does that program work?
Suzanne:When we entered the American market last year, we developed our Mom Blogger engagement program as part of our overall strategy to introduce Clevamama™ to American families. As mothers we personally know, and as research shows, moms choose products and services for their babies based on advice and information from their trusted peer group – other moms. We love mom and parenting bloggers and respect how powerful and influential their opinions are. We’ve had a fantastic time getting to know these women and engaging with the community, and look forward to deepening the relationships we already have and making new blogger friends. If any of the Mom, Incorporated moms are interested in participating, we’d be happy to link up and share review samples of our products.
MomIncorporated: How do you use social media to promote Clevamama™ products?
Suzanne: Social media is our main focus when it comes to online marketing. We have a hugely successful social media campaign spanning Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. At the moment we have over 11,000 followers from all over the world on Facebook and a huge level of interaction. This year we launched our new website www.clevamama.com, which is mobile and tablet friendly.
The key to our social media success has been the consistent weekly structure of our page. Each week we have REMEMBER ME Monday, TIPS Tuesday, WACKY Wednesday, TODDLER Thursday, FREE Friday and SPOTLIGHT Saturday. TIPS Tuesday and TODDLER Thursday allow our followers to post any parenting questions that they may have and receive tips and advice from 11,000 other parents. Our page is a fantastic free resource for parents, providing them with a forum to interact with parents from all over the world.
MomIncorporated: How do you manage your partnership and how have you managed to grow your team?
Martina: As the business has expanded we have had to take on a few extra hands to deal with increasing business. We now have 10 employees, nine in our offices in Dublin and one sales representative in Brazil. The company is thriving and it is a fantastic environment to work in. Suzanne deals with the Sales and Marketing side of things while I am involved with New Product Development and Business Logistics. Our sales team and logistics team operate in house and work closely with each other to ensure that doing business with Clevamama™ is streamlined and smooth. We hope to expand the team further in the near future.
MomIncorporated: Do you have any other advice for women who have ideas for developing a new product and bringing it to market?
Suzanne: Follow your instinct. Once you have the idea, the rest is down to hard work and determination. It is important to know your market and know whom you are selling to. But most importantly, don’t get discouraged by obstacles, embrace them as a learning experience.