From humble beginnings to global success, OHbaby! shares the stories of four homegrown Kiwi ventures whose hard work and ingenuity are providing products and services that support parents everywhere. Ten years we’ve been in this business! There’s …
Sally Woodfeld, Director of Newbies
OHbaby!: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Sally: It always changed between a doctor or an advertising executive.
OHbaby!: Do you ever feel "mummy guilt" about spending time working instead of with your children?
Sally: Everything in my life is about getting the balance right. Sometimes I'm consumed by work and other times I am consumed by my kids. You just have to do the best you can with what you've got, and you always have to do what's right for you and your family. I will never do anything that puts my children second to work.
OHbaby!: What do you do to get "me-time"?
Sally: Go out for dinner with girlfriends and read a book whenever I can.
OHbaby!: What is the smartest thing you have done with your business?
Sally: Get advice. I speak to anyone I can about how I can improve. You can never know everything and I feel like I have so much learn.
OHbaby!: What's the biggest mistake you've made and how was it resolved?
Sally: I made a commitment to something just after my third child was born and it was a case of biting off way more than I could chew. It was a costly lesson.
OHbaby!: What is your favourite thing about the business now?
Sally: I thrive on a challenge and I have a belief in myself and my products. Newbies was the first company to make a journal for New Zealand mothers to note their day with their baby. It has been quite an achievement and it pushes me to want to do more.
OHbaby!: What is the best advice you were ever given as a mother?
Sally: Start as you mean to go on.
OHbaby!: What is the best advice you were ever given as a businesswoman?
Sally: Don't take anything personally - it's just business, so deal with it that way.
OHbaby!: What are your best tips for getting out of the house on time?
Sally: Learn how to do about a million things at once and don't feel resentful about any of it. It's your deal, so deal with it.
OHbaby!: Who is your superhero?
Sally: My Nana. She has seen more hardship than I can imagine and she has dealt with it with courage and humility. She is the example of a strong, beautiful woman. She has a true heart of gold and I feel blessed to have her. I admire and love her enormously.
Newbies was developed in 2007 after realising there was a lack of practical feeding journals in the New Zealand market. Initially the thought was to create a company focused on clothing for premature babies, I had had a number of friends go through some hard times with their prem babies and I felt completely helpless and I remember thinking 'there must be something I can do!' That's where the prem baby clothing idea came from, then I took it a little further and thought 'well what about accessories to the clothing' and voila! A Baby Feeding Journal! What a great idea! I knew how much I had used my own little journal when I had my boys and it occurred to me that no one had created one for the New Zealand market.
I inititally thought I would do the feeding journal first and then extend into clothing a little later, however, life has a special way of working things out. How does the saying go 'life is what happens while you're busy making plans'? I focused my attention completely on the journal, I researched others from overseas and found them to be quite plain and not suited to New Zealand mum's. I also wanted to create something that had a strong design element to it, I felt tired of all the 'same old' type products for mothers, I thought "we do so much for our babies and families that we deserve to be surrounded by beautiful products!"
So, off I went on my design sourcing trips around the city. I found designs that I liked, identified what I liked about them and how I could incorporate the same sorts of feelings into a Journal. I did this by working with a fantastic designer who understands completely what Newbies stands for and that's how we created our Newbies world and the original Baby Feeding Journal.
I have to admit, it has taken almost 18 months to create this product, it has required a huge amount of time, effort, energy, love and commitment. Not only from me but my family. My children have had to come to various meetings and have been well educated in the design and production of a baby feeding journal!
And then there is the market education… This is a new product for New Zealand mothers and I was the person who created it! Wow, what a responsibility and a lot of hard work! However, the feedback has made it all worthwhile. The number of mothers I meet who tell me over and over again how much they love their journal makes every moment worth it.
For me, this has never been about just one product making money it has been about making other mothers lives just that little bit easier in those early days with their baby. I still remember the newborn stage so clearly. I remember the brain fog, sleep deprivation, breastfeeding and the huge adjustment that takes place in your life, so if I can help other mothers through that stage then I'm achieving my goal.
This is why every detail of the journal has been laboured over because my focus has always been on creating a great product that is functional, beautiful and most importantly, affordable for every mother in New Zealand to enjoy.
To other mothers out there thinking about starting up their own business I would say have a good business plan. Know why you are doing it and what you want out of it. If it's only about the money then you will find it very hard to get through the tough times. It's about finding something you are truely passionate about and then being able to 'follow your bliss'. And if all else fails feel proud that you have had the courage to 'give it a go' then sit down at the end of your day and enjoy the precious treasures you already have.
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