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Monique Horrigan designs and sells the Dou-Doods – really cool baby & toddler comforters. She started off making them by hand – and through a lot of hard work, managed to outsource production when she was ready to scale.
Listen in to hear Monique share:
- An introduction to her business and what she sells (0:55)
- How she got started and the inspiration for her products (1:28)
- Her journey from making her comforters by hand to outsourcing production (3:22)
- How she made her first sales and got her business set up (6:23)
- Her background in design and how she used it to make a business that works for her family (11:31)
- How she ensured she was compliant with the safety standards for baby products (15:00)
- How she found a manufacturer for a product with a very detailed and precise specification (22:00)
- How she got the Dou-Doods in the press and the impact of that (29:32)
- What she loves about running a products business (37:35)
- Her number one piece of advice for other product creators (39:00)
From making products by hand to outsourcing production – with Monique Horrigan, the Dou-Doods
Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast, practical advice and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. He is your host Vicki Weinberg
Vicki Weinberg (00:00:22):
hello. Say today I'm talking to Monique Horrigan from the Dou-Doods say Monique designs themselves to the coolest babies and toddler comforters that you have possibly ever seen. And she is going to talk to us today all about how is this journey I have. So it's always, I really hope you enjoyed this conversation. And here's Monique so, hi, Monique. Thank you so much for being here.
Monique Horrigan (00:00:44):
Vicki thank you for having me. It was great cited and a bunch of diabetes, but she is going to be great.
Vicki Weinberg (00:00:51):
And so could you please start by telling us about your business and what it is the Sao?
Monique Horrigan (00:00:55):
Oh yeah, of course. And I am the creator of The Dou-Doods and they are a small, it's a little bit of business that are set up selling baby, come for tears and the completely unique design. And I say for the soft and snugly And they will be the baby's best friend.
Vicki Weinberg (00:01:13):
Oh, it was lovely. And I have seen your website obviously, and then yeah, I do really liked them. Your bite there. Very different. See the comfort of that I've seen out there. So I'd love to know a little bit more about sort of your inspiration for creating them and how it was that he got started.
Monique Horrigan (00:01:28):
He got, of course, and I went to have my first daughter and we really struggled to fall pregnant and she had a few miscarriages and I was just, it wasn't an easy journey. And I think one of the things that always sort of stood out for me when I was little as probably my most formative memory was, and I had a, a, a dude growing up and I just used to love this thing and I dragged it everywhere with me, and it was a snake blind kids and it smells, and it just fell apart eventually. And I just remember that sort of bond and that fondness and I just, when we first had our first daughter and I just remember kind of like, I don't know that all those memories come flooding back to me. And I sort of looking around for something that I found I could find that would be suitable to sort of reflect more of her personality and be a little bit more suited to her, rather than just sort of an inanimate blanket or something that wasn't just another sort of Jeddy cat bunny or something you can edit out.
Monique Horrigan (00:02:26):
And so I can find anything and I just go, well, why don't I try and make some things, because I'm a little bit of
crafty Andy, then yeah. Then I sort of had a little play around the designs and stuff. And so it was pretty bad, but yeah, that was the most, the pink. And he was the first to do that was ever born. And then I just, I just kinda like, Oh, this is quite exciting. I've been going to these mother's meetings and talks for a while. And then there is encouraging mums And to sort of do something new, do something different, you know, don't just sit there and if you've got an idea, then when did you try it out? So I kinda went like, Oh, well, you know, why didn't I try to make some of these?
Monique Horrigan (00:03:07):
And I suppose that was in the beginning of the journey really? And then once you go from one end and I try to make them, it suddenly becomes you focus on everything as though sensitive, like how can we make this happen?
Vicki Weinberg (00:03:19):
So if you start off making a move by hand,
Monique Horrigan (00:03:23):
I made a few by hand the faces. So because of the way that I had to design them and, and, and I wanted that sort of like handmade feel, I am, what's it called blanket stitched or the details around the faces. And I was never, I sort of inherited a sewing machine list for my sister, but it was never a good set of, of, so I found a mum's that have in my local neighborhood, she didn't mind seeing the, the outer shapes for me. So she spent, you know, I'd sort of pay her for her right. In the item in, and she just fitted them in a round naps and stuff. And she was a brilliant seems to have a, so it was just super easy for her. And that just gave you something to do. And then, you know, she sort of was helping me out. So yeah, in the beginning I made it more of a hand, but it just isn't sustainable as a sort of learn very quickly in terms of setting up a new business and everything that I needed to learn.
Monique Horrigan (00:04:09):
It was just another thing with a, you know, at, at this point, and he was probably at about one and a half or two, you know, you still got this little toddler and you said that I'm trying to figure it out. Like it is so many things that you have to do when you got in that time. And that to basically a working hour or a couple of hours at the end of the day, and you're sitting there. So it wasn't just something that I could afford to do. So I started to look at outsourcing and that's where things get in a little bit more complicated.
Vicki Weinberg (00:04:41):
So you, so how long, how long were you in terms of this journey of creating And selling, The Dou doods when you decided to outsource the production?
Monique Horrigan (00:04:52):
I think it was always looking at it because I knew I'd never sustain showing them myself. And I'd love to sort
of carried on the phone and with the mum down the road, but she couldn't do the faces and she didn't want you to do the faces. So that was understandable. And then I was like, well, how can it maybe try and get someone else to do the pieces and combine that process. But it's one of the things that my product is quite a simple looking piece by. There's actually a really tricky to put together. You've got lots of cut-out shapes, quite complicated shapes for the stars and flashes and, you know, pupils and eyes, and then you have to do so the no's is, and it sort of, it became a piece that people didn't really want to do often half a little bit sort of, they either sort of just that it was too complicated in stayed away from it and, or they were a sort of, yeah, they had sort of said, Oh, well, we can probably do it.
Monique Horrigan (00:05:41):
Or we can't say, sorry, I'm getting a bit confused. So it was, I was trying to think of how long into the process it was before I started looking at it. I think I was looking at it quite, quite well, soon into it, into the process of having started it, because I just knew it wasn't sustainable, but I didn't realize how long it was going to take for me to find someone, to be able to make them for me, which I think is the one thing that you underestimate. Yes,
Vicki Weinberg (00:06:05):
Stephanie and I love to talk about that in a second set of how you met about finding someone and, but first I'm going to kill BIA. So where were you making your first day? Was, was it mostly moms that were local to you or did you get websites set up early on and say, how did you sort of first launched them in terms of having them as a product for people to buy?
Monique Horrigan (00:06:24):
Right. And I set up an Instagram account or a surprise away, and I think her LinkedIn to a Facebook account, I think you'd have to sort of do it that way. 'cause, I've been going to these business of mothers meeting the business Academy meetings. I kind of new sort of like their first steps of some of what I need to think about the first ones. The first one that I made was for her best friend and her little boy. And then she asked me to make one for a friend of hers whose had a baby. And then I started posting about them in my personal Instagram And. And then as soon as sort of a couple of friends, that's off of things and that sort of showed it around these mothers meetings and sort of became a little bit more, a little bit more known.
Monique Horrigan (00:07:08):
And that's when I suppose I sort of was like, okay, I need to make them their own entity. I don't want it to be my, my personal account. So I wanted to be in a due date. So I had spent some time playing around with logos and sort of designing the look and feel and the brand itself. And I could sort of launch that once we sort of felt ready And was sort of in the process of, Oh gosh, it's also really like, it, it feels like so sure to go about so long ago when you sort of think back to it. I think because of the business Academy, I'd sort of was lining up a website and once on you, the website was up and running and I had, it was also trying to tie that with the same time as finishing, getting someone to help me with production.
Monique Horrigan (00:07:52):
And my first batch was made by a professional seamstress in East London, and she is sort of She we spent time sort of Find to match a employed restyle because she couldn't do the blanket stitch, but she had founded similar zigzag that she could replicate on her machine to be able to do the shapes, the felt shapes. So I sort of had her working in parallel with me, trying to sort of set up the back end or understanding to a safety or understanding the website, setting it up. I've never set up anything with a lot before and, you know, sort of opening up business bank accounts and registering my company, who was it, you know, buying domains and just the things that it's a sort of, a lot of people probably be, maybe take for granted, but, you know, you, you just sort of finding every step along the way, you finding out something new and you're like, Oh, okay, well, I can't do it until I got this and then I can't do it until I got that.
Monique Horrigan (00:08:50):
So in the meantime, I had to sort of small stash made one that I was just through. And then as soon as the, and the first sort of batch came through and I was able to sort of used those a little bit to help leverage if I still had friends asking about and buying one to kind of just help push along a way. And so, yeah, so it was all a bit kind of, I don't know, a chicken and egg, I think it's sort of, kind of what happened at the same time, but it felt like a very long time, but it was a very short time. It sort of, I think it must've taken me a good six months. I'd say to kind of get myself sort of ready to sort of do a public launch.
Monique Horrigan (00:09:33):
And the funniest thing is, is when you do do the public and orange kind of go, or who do I tell her, I've got this website, but no one knows where to find it. And so then it was like, I launched and I had sort of told my friends and family and sort of tried to spread the word as much as that way, but I hadn't got to the points of understanding, light press and PR and those kinds of, sort of S that sort of stage yets. And, you know, it sort of used to do more and more networking groups within this number of meetings and sort of, or by mom or groups and things like that. But yeah, it was sort of like this website's in his, my product, but instead of a still wasn't it sort of known to the public. So the next step was to kind of draw people to it, sensitive, build a following, and you sort of build it up that way.
Monique Horrigan (00:10:20):
But I think the, some of the hidden side has just as big as this is a visual science. So you just sort of, when you do dabbling on doing drawings on the middle of the night and figuring out, so I'm trying to read up and toys, safety and the crazy things that you just don't know and don't understand this sort of, it feels like if you spend weeks just in those a little stages alone before we sort of go, okay, and that feels like I understand at all, I know what I need to do next. And then all of a sudden the next stage is like, Oh, okay, I didn't want, I need to do next, but I need to do something. And I need to do a quick to meet, you know, to keep the momentum moving.
Vicki Weinberg (00:10:55):
I think that's one of the reasons that seam econ seems like a short time on a long time is because when you're in it and they're so much to do, and you're just busy and you're always doing the next thing, one thing I actually, when you look back on it, you can see, well, actually it was 20 or 30 small things. It wasn't a big thing. There's just so many elements, so many follow up questions. I'm wondering where to go first. I might just start with, so do you have a design background when he got up? I realized I'd actually, you know, that about you, you, wherever you have a design background you've mentioned running and sign in to what you do.
Monique Horrigan (00:11:32):
Yes, I do. And I was a creative artwork here in studio manager by trade when I was, and the workforce before children And and I sort of have probably spent about 15 years' kind of work in a way from being a creative art worker up into your studio manager and resource manager at a design agency. It was an advertising agency called Elvis And. And it was when I went on maternity leave that I sort of, I love what I did, but I still wanted to be able to make it work part-time and just the nature of that game was just all or nothing. It's just a bit kinda like, you know, studio's the last port of call you, or is expected to be there finishing late nights, weekends, and then it just wasn't something I was waiting to come with a sacrifice straight way.
Monique Horrigan (00:12:17):
So we decided that I wouldn't go back to work when I first, when we first had eaten me. And yeah, so I suppose that was sort of, that's really helped in terms of, you know, having an understanding, being capable on a man to be able to sort of play around with funds and logos and sort of get to look and feel that I was with rather than having to sort of outsource that to someone else. So we get someone else to help me with that. I suppose, that I was really lucky in that sort of sense And and I think that creativity sort of helps me as well because I have always loved photography. And so I do on my own photography on all of my pieces that I put up and obviously the sides from sort of photos, they come from happy customers.
Monique Horrigan (00:13:01):
And so, yeah, so it was sort of like, I definitely need more help on the planning side of things, because I was never that sort of creative kind of, you know, the planner or, or the sort of a product developer or we are the sort of, we were definitely either kind of thing, like hands on, make it happen and part of the process. So I think, you know, I love going to talk to us about, and hearing things about how to sort of develop the brand and how you need to think about your marketing strategies and stuff. Because even though I worked in an advertising agency, you don't necessarily come and do that contact with that information every day. So we had just the last port to port to cool and, and we, it was sort of stuck up against tight deadlines.
Monique Horrigan (00:13:43):
So it, it, it definitely gave me a lot to start with, which is a very lucky with, and I didn't do anything. Oh, it
wasn't digital. So I had to teach myself how to do, and it sets up to my shop at that site shop, OSI website, which ones you sorta kind of understand a little bit, it does sort of become more natural to you.
Vicki Weinberg (00:14:02):
Yeah. And I think that's your point is one of the nuts, and then my other unknown other platforms like Shopify tea, but its one of those things that actually is quite intuitive and user friendly. I think if you were setting up a website, I don't know how long ago, 10, 20 years ago, imagine it was,
Monique Horrigan (00:14:16):
I read it, she had to know the coding. Right.
Vicki Weinberg (00:14:21):
And it's good to know a bit about your background as well. And I think what you've said really highlights the fact that it doesn't matter what your background is. There's always going to be strengths and areas. Do you, you always have strengths and you always have areas that you know less about and you have to work on. So I think that's a really good reminder as, as well. So in terms of, we were talking about some of the practicalities and so obviously you, you a lot about the design aspects of how to design your products and we'll talk about it in the manufactured in just a moment. What would be good to understand is so how, what did you do in terms of like the safety standards and how the, how the competence had to be constructed and compliant and that kind of thing?
Vicki Weinberg (00:15:01):
Because I imagine that's an area that terrifies a lot of people because I have very few of us got experience in that area.
Monique Horrigan (00:15:09):
Yeah. And it also terrified me because obviously I was making a baby product that can be used from births. And the last thing I wanted was for anything to happen in a baby, get harmed anywhere. And that's certainly any kind of manufacturer is anyone that's producing, anything is biggest fear. But I joined the fantastic group in the beginning because I was, everything was hand made and it was just the Facebook group. I think it's CE standards for handmade. I need to double check it, but if there are a fantastic, so there is sort of just a self-funded group or not in funded at the same thing, it's just a group thing. If you're going to be making anything that's going to be used for being the kids and toddlers and stuff, and they talk you through how to get stuff CE tested.
Monique Horrigan (00:15:57):
And a lot of the time you can't do it yourself for certain things. There's a lot of stuff that you can touch, you do yourself. So you can't sort of chemically test your fabrics and things. But the, the sort of stress test that the product is through in terms of sort of like the durability and the sort of like how many times you can pull
this thing and parts and you know, strained that seems and pull on anything that's dangley or you see if anything is going to come, those kind of things they do once you start understanding of it, it does make a lot more sense. You can't do so many. She initial test yourself the best course of actions to always get it done professionally.
Vicki Weinberg (00:16:37):
There are a lot of safety. What do they call it? Safety testing agencies out there. And obviously I think the biggest thing is it's a big expense expenditure in the beginning and it is when you're getting everything sort of safety tested. And the first ones I did myself and then as I had one of the fabrics chemically testing to make sure that there is no harmful chemicals or dyes or hazers or anything like that, or any kind of ions, if you'd be surprised at sort of what people try and hide and fabrics it's crazy. And then when I was having the manufactured, I sent them off to be tested independently.
Monique Horrigan (00:17:19):
So you pay for that test and then it kind of sent the results back to you. And as long as you're sort of aware of kind of, you don't change the process of how you make things. So its always the same process. You've got the same stitch type, you've got the same overlap versus single stage or whatever. And however, those seams are bound together in a however you attach ribbons or whatever, as long as that process, which means the same for your product. If you changed on mine, the designs changed slightly and within the faces, but it doesn't mean I need to get every single one safety tested. Cause I know my batch of fabrics. And again, once I had sort of moved into sort of big a manufacturing in us, ordering fabrics and buys that have 50 meters or a hundred meters, I knew that My, I could source organic 100% gods organic cotton Jersey when it comes fully certified already.
Monique Horrigan (00:18:14):
So I didn't have to pay for that certification, but in the beginning where I wasn't quite sure. And some of the fabric who had come from I got it all for the safety tested and made sure just to check that and the sort of supply I was getting you the correct information. And, and then yeah, I suppose it sort of a structural and durability of it. And the sort of the biggest thing is obviously what goes into the fabrics and in cells and how they made. So again, on my plush, I made sure that I could source it or Ian certified, which is the European standard and in 71. And that it means that the has been certified at source where it's on from entering European standards.
Monique Horrigan (00:18:59):
So I know that the standard will change slightly. Now that Brexit has happened. And in January, this is the one thing that I need to sort of your continuously never-ending to do list just to double check the news and CE Mark will be it because I think everybody would recognize the CE Mark on a toilet, which is the international safety standard Mark. And so I just need to check what that would change to in January of 2021. But yeah, I think this taste the testing, we will be pretty much racism there to where we are now.
They're not going to change the process of it.
Vicki Weinberg (00:19:31):
The ones you had, the testing and you pass the test, is that means you can display the C Mark on your product labels.
Monique Horrigan (00:19:37):
Vicki Weinberg (00:19:39):
Okay. A presumably before you, do you even do the testing, you need to sort of find out for yourself what the standards are. Would that be where my writing say in that so that you could at least produce products that you feel we are meeting those standards? So where is it? I mean, is that a lot of Google research? When did you find the best place to find that sort of information out?
Monique Horrigan (00:19:57):
And a lot of Google research, there's a for toys that was the British toy association, which has got a lot of news and information on a lot of the information I also got, From the handmade toy on Facebook and Facebook groups and yeah, it's sort of, it's just a lot of reading again and I'm sort of trying to think of like exactly where I found it, but I'm one of those terrible Googlers. I can't, I don't know how to surf the internet efficiently. And some people are just amazing. I just fall down in these random holes and get lost in a sidetrack has a presence also because I get to say to easily distracted. And, but yeah, I'm desperate trying to think and I'll follow up with any other websites and things that I can remember off hand, but the safety agencies themselves to safety testing agency is they're quite happy talk you through about what you need to do.
Monique Horrigan (00:20:50):
And I was sort of made aware of them quite early on. So it seems, I knew that it needed to be safety tests and we could do it through this sort of independent bodies. I sort of went to them and sort of was asking them questions and they're very helpful. So that was the one to make sure that, that they can get as much information as possible.
Vicki Weinberg (00:21:09):
Thank you. And yes. Do you please send data for any websites that you come across that you, that you've used because I'll put those in the show notes so that people can get it easily go and find them. And this is also a good point to say that I'll put your website and in the show notes as well, because I'm sure that people listening up until this point, you know, it might be trying to picture what your product look like. A best thing to do is to click through to the show notes, go and have a look. So I think is always good to have a picture of in your mind. So when we are talking about it now, because we're going to move on and talk about the
manufacturing. So before we do that, go and have a look at the products and then you'll have a really good sense of what it is that we are talking about. How did you go about finding someone to manufacture them on a larger scale?
Monique Horrigan (00:21:49):
And I spent a lot of time asking people and sending off. And I suppose that was the worst. One of the most annoying bits of sort of sending off samples to people who used to, to find finding manufacturers is like finding gold. If someone has a good manufacturer, they don't want to share it with you just because once you've started searching, you realized how tricky it is to find someone that you can work with. And again, sort of through various methods, meetings, groups, and things I'd always asked someone's advice, or I'm just going to say, Hey, does anyone have any guidance or can anyone point you need it directions?
Monique Horrigan (00:22:30):
Or does anyone shouldn't mind sharing any information? And sometimes people who have more than happy to say yes, sometimes they'll get a little bit more selective over kind of what information they shared, which was absolutely totally fine. But I did, I just spend a lot of time just emailing people, you know, for my product. It was all about the embroidery and the faces. So I'll just look up and forward to it and just sort of work my way through list sensitive, send them emails, give them a phone calls. I'd have to send an email with links, to my images, all, you know, sort of like pictures of my products so they could see what I was talking about. And it just because otherwise it's quite hard to sort of imagine you were telling me as a funny shape and its got a little felt face sewn on the front and different diagno I catch in one eye on and then that other eyes know normal knows and that's, and I'm like, Hm, okay.
Monique Horrigan (00:23:23):
That sounds so complicated. And you're like, yeah, it's a little bit of a plush in front and cotton on the back was a little bit of a run on the side. Oh yeah. Okay. And I can, no, I don't think we can do that. So I got a lot, Lots of notes and Oh yes. I remember one of the trade fair that I went to, which I did source a lot of potentially British media companies and was, The make it Britain and a trade fair. And there was a British based companies so that you can sort of go along too, this big trade fair obviously. And this point was really a night out. I think it's online and speak to manufacturer's and they go to the UN kind of a fight for it and for being able to be seen and sort of found, and it was nice because as you can go and have a conversation with them and you can just show them in a part of it to me in my life, then you can hold it up and touch it.
Monique Horrigan (00:24:20):
And some people just want me to try to make things work. They sort of said, yes, we can do them on a date, but what we can't do the second, the final Fitbit in one company so that they could do the final So, but then couldn't do the important to you. And then I was trying to work out how I could match these two together. But I'm the one thing that you sort of always has got to be conscious of. It is sort of, if you don't really think about when you're making a few, but as soon as you start moving around sort of a a hundred meters of material
and like really heavy and, and after you shifted in From, you know, I think mine came from Portugal and you know, you've already paid shipping on this to get it into the country and then you going to be shipping some parts to here and you're going to be shipping other bits too there.
Monique Horrigan (00:25:03):
And then when you're going to try marry them. So it does make it quite complicated and you kinda go, well, that's actually going to start working on at the cost of everything is not cost effective to the specific to the party in the back at square. One is trying to find someone who can do it or to get there. And it was actually a really random and events. I went and did my first trade show, which was called.to dot and, and I don't think they're actually running anymore on a doc to doc to and trade fan. And it was for kids and children's products and an outstanding on the new business section and so forth stands, which was the new business and its testing to the ladies on the side of me, who I was also new businesses and I'm one of them is called Arie in London and she made these beautiful children's clothes.
Monique Horrigan (00:25:52):
And she had had these amazing fabrics. And you just talking about fabrics over the course of the two days, she sort of told me that she was just a self proclaimed fabric lover. And I said, Oh wow. Would be great to just to talk to them more. And after the show is when we can just, you know, I was really struggling to try and find the right organic cotton and plush in sort of a large quantities. I don't really know what to do. And she said, yeah, yeah, I'd love to help you. So again, I think you should never stop asking for help because you never know, who's willing to give it to them. Even if you get knocked down a a a hundred times, just keep going, just keep asking, because I like it. She didn't ask everyone in like, does anyone know have any contacts in a sort of like a wholesale fabrics?
Monique Horrigan (00:26:36):
And then again, sometimes we get, yes. Sometimes we get to know and she would just be, so she was so lucky to, and we actually formed a instant friendship and she sort of helped me. She said, I'll put lots of context. We can sort of, I can help you if you find some fabric manufacturers and it just, the way it worked out. So, you know, as we kind of carried on talking, she sort of said, Oh, and I currently I run in a little studio up in Scotland and I said, that's amazing. And she said, my studio manager, I was talking to her about these. This is a couple weeks down the line. And because I had also been talking to her about how a struggling to find a manufacturer and she said, my studio manager, it reminded me that we've got this old embroidery machine in the back that we never use.
Monique Horrigan (00:27:19):
And she said, why don't you send a sample up and we'll see if we can replicate it. And I was like, wow. Okay. That's fantastic. So I sent a sample up to her and then sent a sample pack and it was like achieve the blanket stitch on, on this amazing book or do you, and she knows, I'm like, yay. And this is, this is like magic. This is the best thing that's happened. But you know, it, it probably took a good for months to get to that
point. Maybe more. I can't even remember what it was just sort of constantly trying a couple of people at at the same time. So he comes through and then it was just a, no, which invariably it was used to be. And you sort of hit the sort of internet again, find the next range of people that you can try and just sort of keep going.
Monique Horrigan (00:28:01):
And so she ended up making my first few batches for me. It was just fantastic. And so that will make it up in Scotland or, or the private and report it to them. They could do everything. So it was the cut measure. Transient team, I think, is what they call it in the industry and service. And I got these boxes of Doods ship it down to my house. And that was sort of like, that was it that we could actually be, you know, taking them to market and sending them and a, and you know, pushing Instagram and Facebook, instead of getting them out, then there was a really young process. And one that is always a bitch Vicki too kind of have to pin down.
Vicki Weinberg (00:28:43):
Yeah. I think it's definitely something it takes and perseverance. And I think, especially when like that, it sounds like your product has so many different elements and you need quite a lot of different skills to actually be able to put one together. Definitely see how that was a challenge. I'm so pleased. You've managed to find someone who could do it at all and develop it to the quality that you need as well. I think that's it. Yeah. So we spoke a little bit before, so I want to change it up to it a little bit. Now I was, you mentioned that when you launched And that, you know, you weren't doing anything like press or PR, however, I have seen you in the press, so, yeah.
Monique Horrigan (00:29:19):
Vicki Weinberg (00:29:19):
And if you could just tell us a little bit about sort of, you know, did you have a press and PR strategy? How did you go about it? You know, how, how did you get in the press basically, I suppose is the question. Yeah.
Monique Horrigan (00:29:30):
Right. And again, I know I'll keep talking about it along your way. It certainly in umm, being a mum made business, there is a big support network to you. And then we met through or by mama, I got in touch with, and another business called mama made and it was one of those meetings and, and it was another business I got in touch with her and her name was Taylor bundles. And she used to put it together, these beautiful gift boxes. And I sort of approach to us and say, Oh, I love to you, you know, be considered for one of your gift boxes. And she sort of said, yes, of course I really liked your product. And it actually, she had also just found me randomly through Instagram or something that sort of, we had sort of been following the same person that she works with red D and I are sort of like, Oh, I like to look at this lady.
Monique Horrigan (00:30:23):
And so I joined, I was, I was one of the other suppliers. And for a while that she sort of had to just shut down in and it just was the right time for her business to sort of be and taking a new term. And she put me in touch with a lovely, a PR agency that she uses because that was talking to her about, you know, how do I sort of grow myself? And if she's, again, I just got so much information and knowledge in it. And you just talk and ask with all these different people. And she said, I've got great a PR company who's called con site communications, who she was using for her. And she put me in touch with a lady there, Jessica and we still got chatting.
Monique Horrigan (00:31:04):
And I was always one of those things that I sort of just said, like, I, I don't have any money. I've never had any money to just sort of splash around, which is why I've done everything. And everything takes in the long run a lot slower that she sort of said, well, why don't we work with what you had? You know, we just, we break it down too. You know, we break it down to sort of like a couple of hours here and there and then, you know, work it up into, we spent a whole day on it and then we can review what we are. And she said, it was long as we've got an idea of what you want us to be doing. And we can sort of focus on that because she sort of said to me, like, it doesn't really feel like you need us to be in a new content. You don't need us to be running a socials at the moment.
Monique Horrigan (00:31:46):
And it's more about the stuff that you don't have the time for. And I just sort of said, I'd love to reach out to the press. I always keeps saying to myself, that's the next thing, the next most important thing to be doing, but then you get sidetracked by it, SEO testing your website because you've realized that no one is finding it. 'cause your analytics is not right. And your SEO like keywords are wrong. So that takes you a month to sort of sort out and figure out because you're only doing it in our every day. And so yes, I said to him, I'd love. I'd like to be able to do a PR push. And, and she said, that's great. We can know exactly what we can do and say, we just work together. And they just sort of did it in small batches, spent a couple of hours a day sort of during the first step kind of finding all the publications that we thought were probably be right to get in contact with them.
Monique Horrigan (00:32:34):
Then, you know, we'd sort of worked on the, putting the press releases together. I worked on with the images made, we had a nice batch and then they reached out to everyone did the follow-up sessions. And eventually we got a couple of interests pack and then you kind of go, that's waiting to see what happens. And then all of a sudden it was it, Oh, by the way, you'd been featured. So that was really lovely too. Kind of get the recognition and a Sydney, coz I got featured in it, some really nice places, a goal and a feature in a stylist, which was amazing. And it had an ethical edit and, and I, and it'll do to make it into that. And we also made it into gift guide for baby magazine, which is a industry magazine and Citi kids magazine also featured us in the autumn issue under the way we love products and new products.
Monique Horrigan (00:33:25):
And I'm like, Oh, well the other one was the, in the best list, one of the 11 best and baby guests to buy it for Christmas. So yeah, it was really fantastic to kind of get that recognition. And again, I think once you, I've never had to do that. And I don't know how to approach journalists. I don't know what to say. I don't know how to put a press release together. It doesn't take that long, but when you've got this never ending list of things to do, and you're doing everything on your own, you kind of do you just have to go, okay. He can help me with that. And if I need to spend, I think we ended up spending about two days worth of fees across a good couple of weeks. That was probably be the best of my own money that I had spent because it was actually, it actually got me something back and it was something that I didn't just keep putting on us and putting off because I would have never get around to it.
Vicki Weinberg (00:34:13):
That's fantastic. And I think you're right. I think for most of us of, if not all of us, there's always some thing that you could outsource and it's gonna be different for everyone because some people listening to this will say, well, actually I can do my PR, but I need an accountant or whatever it is. I think there's definitely something to be said for outsourcing things that are likely to give you a return on investment, but you just don't have the time, the expertise because we can't let space it, we can't learn everything.
Monique Horrigan (00:34:38):
I know it definitely not
Vicki Weinberg (00:34:40):
Even if we wanted to, which I'm sure most of the day. So what kind of impact did you have from some have been featured in the press is you sort of see any immediate results from that, right?
Monique Horrigan (00:34:52):
Yes. It sort of, its kind of, so I think indie Beth gave me the best and the best kind of night return and you, because that's when that sort of art for a long time and a stylist was amazing, but I think one thing is a stylist or is it sort of My product, meaning a baby Product people look at it. And sometimes I get a little bit confused by what it is and, and staying at such a ready kind of like, Oh, I love that top. I'm just going to buy it now for myself quickly. And then it's over in a week. So it sort of, if people kind of learned the look of it and I did get a lot of traction, but it was my not being the right time for them to be buying your baby gift or a baby product.
Monique Horrigan (00:35:34):
And that's the one thing with my, my product is a little bit slower because people need to be in that right. Timeframe of Life to be able to have a gift advice for someone or have just had the baby themselves. So it is quite as of a small market of and purchasing and then yeah, the baby magazine as well. That was really a lovely lots of people and click through and purchase from that. So yeah, it's just, I think it's just, you do have to focus on who's the right audience for you and, and I would definitely, we would always do, you know, try to
reach out to as many people as you can because you just never know who was going to give you the most return anyway. Yeah.
Vicki Weinberg (00:36:13):
And do you think it's the case of once you've been featured is easier to get featured somewhere else or does that really not make a difference?
Monique Horrigan (00:36:21):
It probably makes it easier because you've already got to a little bit of kudos behind you. You know, you've got a bit of a reputation. Oh it has, you know, someone like independently in the best, in best they, they featured you or stylus to feature a stylist is, you know, for me, it's just like a stylist, even if I didn't get like the most sales from them is still And, I, it's such an accolade to be chosen as a, a stylish product to be featured in one of the magazines, you know, and people do look at that and the people do recognize that and they do, if they can make a choice, they were always either looked forward to some kind of, yeah.
Monique Horrigan (00:37:03):
Some kind of brand recognition. And you know, if someone else is recognizing this brand was being noteworthy, then they'd go, Oh yeah. I'm like that brand too. Yeah. I can definitely see how that might work. So we've just got a few questions before we finish it up. Could you please tell us what you love about your, one of your own business and about selling products? Please I love the way that I can make it work around my family. Like I said before, I didn't go back to work full time because I wanted to be, I wanted to be a mom. I wanted to be there and pick up some things that even though it says you can see com much later in time or three years down a nine, but I just want it something that could be more adapted to a family run night.
Monique Horrigan (00:37:47):
And, and that's definitely one of the things that as we were working out from this, and then, you know, the second thing was is I just love my daughters. Just what both of them. Cause I have since had a second one and they both such snuggle bunnies. They just want to cuddle everything in snuggle, everything that I've always had such a strong attraction to everything. And they're both in love. They do. You do. And it's just the love and care. And how do you see them work through with babies? That just makes me feel a warm and fuzzy inside. Like my heart disbursed is knowing that I've created the product that is going to be, So loved by another baby out that, you know, it, it doesn't matter that it's love by one or 10 or a hundred or, you know, hopefully thousands and thousands, but just putting something into the world is going to give someone that love and care.
Monique Horrigan (00:38:37):
It just makes me happy.
Vicki Weinberg (00:38:39):
So that's a lovely, really nice. And just one final question and this one I ask everybody and I love this question. And so what is the number one piece of advice you would give to another aspiring product creator?
Monique Horrigan (00:38:53):
I would definitely say if you just follow your gut, if you have a dream and you want to pursue it, just give it a go, you know, just to be realistic. I totally underestimated how much time, money and efforts, you know it and let's button in tears that have gone into this. It would be because I just had the simplified version in my mind of, Oh,
I can make it. And so it's, and I think you do have to just be realistic with yourself and say, this is going to be long, hard slog. It's, you know, it's taken me three years to get here and I think, and then it's just, and I still don't feel like I'm on top of it yet purely also because of Corona and having a baby and second baby in the middle of the loss of like one year off to just sort of get myself set up.
Monique Horrigan (00:39:42):
But yeah, it's just one of those things that just, you know, if you believe in yourself, that's brilliant because you got to just start there and then just push harder and work hard and you'll definitely make it.
Vicki Weinberg (00:39:53):
And it was been at five. Thank you so much. So I'm going to put links in a chain eight to your website, your social media and everywhere that people can find, you see your products and hopefully buy your products as well.
Monique Horrigan (00:40:04):
I'm thinking, you know,
Vicki Weinberg (00:40:05):
you're welcome. And thank you so much again for being here for sharing your story, for telling us what you've done and what you've learned. That's brilliant. So thank you so much. It's great. Thank you so much for having me as always thank you so much for listening today and I always appreciate your being here Monique and myself would love to know what you think about this episode. So do you get in touch? You can email me Vicki@tinychipmunk.com or you can find me on Instagram at Vicki Weinberg product creation. If you've got the time to rate and we have to leave a little review of, for this podcast on Apple podcast. That was amazing. So please do subscribe and tell all of your friends about it.
Vicki Weinberg (00:40:48):
So have a lovely week and wherever you are, and I hope to speak to you soon.