Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Who becomes a Mother of Innovation?

How do we choose what goes onto the site? The most stringent rule is that the goods must be produced by Mums, Dads, Grandparents or carers (we could not rule Nannies could we?). I was amazed by the steep learning curve of being a Mum, but soon every Mum works out products, methods and routines that can make their lives easier. It is this knowledge that can make a great product. There are so many amazing Mothers of Innovation it seems only right to bring their great ideas together. There is an amazing vibrancy to products conceived through necessity, rather than plotted in the board room.

The second criterion is would we buy it? We don't ask 'does it look nice,' but whether we would part with our 'hard earned' for it? I am a working Mum - I do not have a tribe of nannies and staff running around after me - I am juggling Mothers of Innovation, being a Mum and a tight budget; I need to be sure that I need a product before I part with my cash and assume that our discerning customers will feel the same way.

A product that you can safely say will never appear on our site is Heelarious - 'hilarious' high heal shoes for babies at $35 a pop. Okay, they may sell well for that ickle baby who has everything but...work it out for yourself.

Quality is important to us too. The worst part of this job is having to turn down potential suppliers where we can see quality issues. Not only is this important to shoppers, but I think unless we kept the quality threshold high for all Mothers of Innovation suppliers, it would be unfair to those with inconsistent standards, particularly to those suppliers who put time, effort and energy into quality control.

We are not necessarily looking for niche products, but we must appreciate that we can not compete with the volume / discount retailers. So if your toddler is just starting potty training and you need a multi-pack of underwear in a hurry we would not be your ideal shopping destination. However, if you have concerns about the potty training process and leaks on your furniture, Sussex Mum Jen has come up with the Buppy Pad that you can buy from our site.

Does that mean that products must only be hand made by Mums at home? Absolutely not! Our main criteria is to offer great products designed by those who know best - whether by an award winning Mumpreneur with carefully vetted supply structure or a great start up business. We are only looking for goods with something a little extra, that will make you delighted that we have tracked them down.

Looking at the site you have probably spied our search banner that enables more value based searches; you may want to search for Fairly Traded products or Organic T-shirts. While we are not primarily an ethical retailer, we appreciate that it is important to make informed decisions. Anecdotally we are hearing that more and more people are questioning where products are being made and in what conditions; we also know that certain products would never make it to market if they had to be made locally. By labelling things clearly you can set your own ethical criteria without us preaching at you - making the site happy and friendly for workers, suppliers and customers alike.

Whatever you can see now on the site is part of a work in progress. We will be adding things constantly as we search out the best products for families. We want to make sure that we have our favourite products in any category and will avoid having pages of similar ideas.

There are still plenty more things that we would love to see on the site - a world peace machine, a solar powered magic wand (that works) and that essential extra hour in the day. If you have any thoughts as to what else we need, or if you have the product to combat parenting conundrums, please let us know.

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