I'm a mum and I turned my baby idea into a £100k success story – it all started when I was gifted items I NEVER used | The Sun
A MUM created a £100,000 company after receiving impractical gifts at her baby showers.
Catherine Sullivan, 41, from Suffolk, had a lightbulb moment to fill hampers with products new mums actually need after being overwhelmed with dud items during her own pregnancies.
The mother-of-two got pregnant with her first child in 2015 and was given a treasure trove of beautiful gifts from well-intentioned guests.
But just months later with her baby daughter in her arms, she realised she had no use for many of them.
Catherine told The Sun Online: "I was given things that were lovely to look at but really quite pointless."
Roll forward three years, she was carrying her son when she hosted loved ones to celebrate when she felt a sense of déjà vu.
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She explained: "It was the same kind of role play again – bunches of flowers, helium balloons, impractical little baby boy outfits like little mini tuxedos."
Having been through postpartum already, she realised when it really came down to it, the lovely offerings were a remarkably kind gesture, but in a practical sense, pointless.
Catherine said: "I remember thinking, none of this is going to get used. But there was one lone friend who actually gave me a little bag with some nipple balm and some breast pads, and I was thinking 'that's actually a really good idea, why don't more people do that?'."
When her other friends started having babies, Catherine began to put together little hampers of useful things like bamboo nursing pads and nipple balms – things that she knew they were going to need.
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But because she was living in Dubai for work, she struggled to put them together item-by-item for mums-to-be back home.
She said: "I had a lot of girlfriends in the UK who were having babies and it wasn't really practical for me to send boxes of gifts all the way from Dubai.
"I remember thinking 'is there no company in the UK that does this, this seems insane'."
Catherine eventually moved back to England and got together with one of her closest pals, mum-of-three Victoria Pratt, 41, who she'd grown up with to have a chat about the prospect of a business.
She explains: "We both just said 'why don't we just do it?'"
The determined pair launched Mama Hug in 2019, offering boxes full of helpful goodies to mums for once they return home with their baby.
A BOX OF THINGS FOR YOU
When Covid hit, the initiative was praised as a fantastic way friends and family could show they cared while following the at-home restrictions.
Catherine says: "The tendency is to buy the pretty gift, the thing that's going to look nice on Instagram, but the reality is that when you come home after having a baby you're tired, you've just produced a little human.
"It's one of the most physically-enduring things that your body is ever going to go through. The baby doesn't sleep, breastfeeding – it's exhausting.
"In order for mum to take care of baby, somebody needs to be taking care of her. You might have a loving partner, you might not, but just having a box of things which are for you, to just help you pamper yourself but also look after yourself.
"Babies just need nappies, baby clothes and a loving pair of arms, that's all they need.
"The person who really needed to be taken care of was me really, I remember coming home and finding my postpartum recovery really hard especially after my first child."
Their hamper collections such as 'the arrival survival' or 'the breast of both' have been snatched off the shelves of stores like John Lewis and Jojo Maman Bebe – and the two working mums juggle their kids while knuckling down to see what they can do next.
The business is now valued at £100,000, offering their wide range of boxes across a price range of £9.99 to £129.
She said it's the basics that work the best and thinking of solutions for the mum to overcome little-recognised challenges she might be facing.
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Catherine said: "I had no idea that I was going to have so much discomfort – even things just as simple as going to the bathroom – all these things that nobody talks about because they're a bit icky and awkward.
"Everything that we include in our boxes are things that we know, through going through the postpartum experience, were really useful and lovely products."
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