Brand Spotlight: BabyBoo's Vicki O'Callaghan
Posted on March 26 2019
In the first of a new series, we're shining a light on the creators, movers & shakers behind some of Ireland's most successful and exciting children's brands. First up is the wildly popular BabyBoo. BabyBoo is a cult favourite for many Mum's across Ireland and around the world. Their iconic Droolbusting Bandana Bib is a game-changer for teething babies. BabyBoo is the brainchild of Vicki O'Callaghan and Michelle O'Riordan and continues to go from strength to strength. Vicki kindly agreed to give us some background on the brand, how she works and what's next for BabyBoo...
Tell us about your brand
BabyBoo was founded in 2014 by myself and Michelle after we struggled to find quality clothing for our children who were suffering with eczema and reflux. My daughter Ruby had awful reflux and eczema and drooled a lot and I couldn't find a bib that functioned well and looked well. As any parent with a drooly child will tell you if you have to constantly cover their clothes with a bib then it's nice to have one that looks as cute as the clothes you're covering up!! We went to college together (a long time ago) and we just decided to give it a go, my background is digital marketing and working with websites and Michelle has a business degree and her background is HR and as a mum of 4 kids who all also have sensitive skin she has so much experience with products over a large age range - together we work very well together.
What inspired you to start your own brand?
The inspiration behind BabyBoo was to create a brand unlike any other and since its launch, we have created unique, fun clothing for kids with special attention to detail. We have 5 kids between us - ranging from ages 5 to 13 years – BabyBoo was a natural progression for us, we knew there was a gap in the market for functional, sustainablem= organic basics for babies and older kids and wanted to fill that missing link. We first decided to manufacture a small collection of seven bandana bibs, when we noticed many mothers found the same issues sourcing bibs that would function to absorb drool from reflux, without soaking through clothes underneath, without flaring up sensitive skin and always looking cute. After positive feedback from friends and family, we moved forward with the designs and have since expanded the range, whilst incorporating new collections including newborn size bibs, weaning bibs, newborn swaddles, burp towels, beanie hats, SnuggleBoo sleeping bags with detachable sleeves, organic cotton robes and beautifully soft 100% organic cotton blankets and most recently loop scarves, pyjamas and muslins.
What are the highs and lows of working for yourself?
There are definitely more highs than lows, we both still get such a kick out of seeing kids wearing our products when we're out and about and especially when we're abroad. Every new product has it's challenges in the design phase but it's such a high to launch them and see the positive feedback from people when they do launch. It's also extremely time consuming running a brand, we jokingly call it our other baby because it definitely takes up as much time so finding the elusive balance can be tough at times. We're also tough on one another though if we feel the other isn't taking enough time away from work or just switching off at the weekends enough then we're quick to say it and keep one another on the straight and narrow. We've obviously had lots of highs with awards, huge growth, seeing celebs wearing our brands, seeing customers expand their brood and come back to us to buy more and as I say lots of highs. Low wise, we've had some of course, it can be very stressful, the logistics of having enough stock in to meet demand is probably our biggest challenge as well as managing our manufacturers and shipping times, customs, etc.
As a working mum, how do you balance home life and work life?
I'll openly admit I'm not very good at the balance thing, I find it hard to switch off, I look after the social media most of the time so it's hard to ignore a customer query and with Instagram there are certain expectations. While I love it I do try to switch off on Sundays and when away with Ruby on holidays the laptop stays at home and Michelle takes over everything. I wanted to do this to have flexibility for Ruby when she started school to be able to drop her every day and collect some of the time, to be here to do homework etc so I make sure at least 2 days a week I collect her and I drop her every day. I have a fantastic childminder who I couldn't be without and as I say at the weekends I take time out from the business and make myself less reactive to customer queries.
Tell us what’s next for your brand
We have so much coming up over the next 3 months and we are just bursting to tell people. We have a really really exciting pop up in the planning, we have 2 new products we're putting the finishing touches on, one of which is a new version of the 1 tog sleep product for the Summer, we're doing a website redesign which is very exciting and we're working on a huge event in London with a very well known celebrity mum which is just beyond our wildest dreams right now.