My name is Cristel Jooste, married to Ewert. We live in Krugersdorp with our 2 kids – Ewert is 3 yrs old and Miane turned 1 in February.
What is the name of your company and when did you start your business?
Wonder Baby Products T/A Mum2Mum started in June 2008.
What inspired you to start your own business?
My husband owns his own business and I did all his bookkeeping from our home office. I was always on the look-out for business opportunities. When our son was born, he was diagnosed with severe reflux and we received a Wonder Bib as a gift from a family friend who lives in New Zealand. The product was magic! It worked really well and made my sons’ life easier. I realized that I could not be the only mommy battling with an infant with reflux, and thus decided to import the Mum 2 Mum products. As I could not find a similar product in South Africa.
What are the challenges you face or have faced being a working Mom and how have you overcome them?
It really is challenging managing two businesses from home and spending quality time with your kids. It is hard work, but we know that someday the businesses might be taken over by our children (if they are interested of course!). We try our utmost to maintain a healthy balance between work and family time. Being a mommy and business woman are 2 very demanding roles – but one has to do both as best you can.
What is the hardest part or have been some of your struggles starting your own business?
The toughest was getting the business up and running. As this was a new product introduced to the South African market, brand building was / is the main aim of my marketing strategy. This is an ongoing effort as new mommies enter the market and need to be informed of our product and its benefits. Advertising and marketing costs are high – thus takes a huge bite from our budget.
How do you balance your business and your family?
I work from home so it’s really difficult; both my kids were at home till the age of 7 months old. They then went to daycare. I don’t want my child to stay at home and not understand “why is mommy sitting in front of a computer the whole day and not playing with me”. I collect the kids from daycare at 14h30 and then spend quality time with them. When dad gets home I start dinner and he spends time with them. This is sometimes a challenge, but I really try to focus on them when we have our special time and not go into my office! If something important arises I tend to that when the kids are in bed!
What or whom has been the greatest support for you and your business?
My husband has been my hero thus far; he helps me with baby shows and does a wonderful job! And off course other family members and friends too!
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
We used our savings to fund the business initially. In retrospect, I would rather have applied for a loan and kept the savings as a back-up. I would also have started my marketing and advertising campaigns sooner.
What advice can you give other Moms out there who are starting a new business?
The market is very competitive. No matter how wonderful the product– it’s NEVER smooth sailing! Owning your own business takes a lot of hard work, money, dedication and time! And be prepared to spill a lot of tears when things don’t go as planned!! You need a niche product and you need to believe in your product! You can’t sell something you don’t believe in!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us that I may have missed?
Word of mouth is a momtrepreneurs’ best advertising tool! When you find a product that works for you – tell the world! Especially in the baby industry – credibility is built if another mommy recommends your product!
If other Moms would like to keep in touch, how can they contact you?
Tel: +27 (0)084 907 7492
Email: info (at) wonderbaby.co.za / cristel (at) wonderbaby.co.za
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