1. Can you quickly introduce yourself to our readers?
Organic Monkey is a new range of organic, Fairtrade skincare created specifically for babies delicate and sensitive skin. We set the company up a year ago after identifying a gap in the market for a truly organic range of baby skin care products. “Becoming mums made us more and more interested in what goes into baby products, especially for their skin. We like to see what ingredients are used, how they work and even their packaging”. (Claudine)
“It was important to us that we sourced both organic and Fairtrade ingredients to guarantee the purest, best quality products for the newest and most sensitive of skins, whilst also having a respect for nature and respectful partnerships with the farmers that produce the raw ingredients and throughout the supply chain”. (Heidi)
Heidi and Claudine both live in Brighton. Heidi has two boys, Forrest (2.5 years old) and Cassius (just had his first birthday). Claudine is mum to Dylan (2.5 years old). We met through our NCT classes.
2. When and why did you decide you decide to become your own boss?
We set up Organic Monkey after identifying a gap in the market for a truly organic range of baby skin care products. After having our babies and reading many of the labels on the everyday baby skincare brands on the high street we were both worried and disappointed at how hard it was to find both organic and 'free from' products. As mums you want the best for your baby and so we started looking at the ingredients being used by some of the big brands and didn’t like what we found so decided to produce an effective range using natural and organic ingredients that would only have beneficial qualities.
My son Forrest was very sick when he was born, suffering from birth asphyxia. He spent the first 8 days of his life on the special care baby unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. Whilst he made remarkable progress, his development needed to be carefully monitored to ensure that he reached all his important milestones so when my request to return to work on a part time basis was rejected, I decided this would be my opportunity to set up my own company whilst also spending quality time with my son.
(Heidi Crawford, Managing Director).
When Dylan was born he had bad eczema, so finding a baby skincare product that didn't irritate his skin was very important right from the beginning. After reading many of the labels on the everyday brands on the high street I was both worried and disappointed at how hard it was to find both organic and 'free from' products for babies. Surely it should be easier to look after your baby's skin? So together with Heidi we have created a very special range of products for babies with sensitive skin like Dylan's. (Claudine Sinnett, Creative Director).
3. What sort of products to you produce and sell? And which one is your absolute favourite?
Organic Monkey is a new range of organic, Fairtrade skincare created specifically for babies delicate and sensitive skin. All of our products are made from food grade, organic and Fairtrade ingredients with no nasties like parabens, sulphates, petrochemicals, artificial colours or fragrance.
Our initial range comprises of:
Bumfluff - Organic Nappy Balm
Hello Mellow - Organic Massage Oil
Rock the Cradle - Organic Cradle Cap Oil
Cheeky Monkey - Organic Cheek Rub (for teething)
Belly Better - Organic Tummy Oil
In addition we will be launching a body wash and sleep balm later this year.
Organic Monkey Cheek Rub for Teething Oil is my current favourite as Cassius has 4 teeth coming through. The arnica oil really soothes his gums and the spearmint, lavender and roman chamomile essential oils have a calming effect on him as well as smelling wonderful too (Heidi).
It would definitely be our Bumfluff Nappy balm, even if Dylan wasn’t with me. I use our nappy balm as a skin balm for me too for dry bits, sore bits, as a lip balm and even as an eye cream! A handbag essential for us mums (Claudine).
4. How do you juggle being successful business women and mums and wives?
Starting a business with small children is tough, I was 7 months pregnant with my second child when we launched last June and with 3 small boys between us the main issue is trying to fit a full working week into 3 days and evenings. We constantly juggle childcare with company deadlines and have to plan our diaries weeks ahead whilst also running a home. (Heidi).
Sleep is a luxury at the moment and we definitely don’t get the recommended 8 hours anymore but all the hard work is starting to pay off. Weekends are sacred family time and we both live in Brighton so try to make the most of being on the beach in the fresh air. (Claudine).
5. Is there anything you wish you'd known before becoming a mumpreneur or wish you'd done differently?
It has been a huge learning curve, we have made mistakes along the way but feel that these have helped us to learn and grown. More than anything, we wish we had taken the leap to start the business earlier. Enrolling on a time management course might come in handy though!
I love formulating and creating products that really benefit babies skin, knowing that all the ingredients are beneficial and the best quality they can be. The great feedback and reviews we have received from customers and testers too makes all the hard work worth it (Claudine).
We are also able to adapt our working day around our children so although it frequently means we are still at our computers at 10pm it means that we are able to be there to watch our children grow up and have the flexibility to work during hours that suit our families. Being your own boss and working from the dining room table is also very liberating.
Over the next five years we would like to have increased our current baby product range and have expanded into the toddler and mum skincare markets. Our vision is to educate more parents about the benefits of using organic skincare for their babies as well as making our products more accessible to more people. We would also want to have been instrumental in aiding and supporting farmers to adopt Fairtrade practices and gain Fairtrade certification for more of our key ingredients.
If you love the sound of Organic Monkey, pop around tomorrow for this month's Mumpreneur of the Month giveaway. This time, we have two main prizes for two lucky winners!