This week I’m excited to introduce Rajiv; the CEO and founder of Mum & You to my Parents in Business series. Rajiv and his wife have created the business to support Mums and children during the first 1000 days, with eco-friendly nappies and biodegradable wipes, as well as skin care products for Mums including face masks, stretch mark cream, and firming and toning gel.
I loved reading Rajiv’s honest tips for creating your own business that can be applied to any business. So grab a cuppa this morning and take a read of Rajiv’s business story….
Tell me a little bit about you, your background, and your business?
I grew up in India and have had the great fortune of having lived and worked in many countries. It all started with a career in Consumer Goods with a multinational company.
The beauty of this was that it allowed me to live, work and travel across the world. Throughout this time, I was able to witness first-hand the positive impact on children when their mothers are supported by society.
With opportunities, hope and chance, children flourish – living healthy, stronger lives filled with potential.
On the reverse side, I also saw kids fall through the cracks. So many children don’t end up meeting their full potential. This wasn’t only the case in poorer countries. Even in the UK, for example, up to 30 percent of children are not ‘school ready’ when they enter reception. Unfortunately, many do not have basic communication and vocabulary skills by the time they start school.
Data shows that in the first few years of a child’s life it interacts the most with his or her parents- specially the Mum. In fact, the brain grows the most in the first 1,000 days. The more parents engage with their kids, especially in the early years, the higher the chances of the kids growing up to meet their full potential.
This realisation was a pivotal point in my career. I concluded that if we can support mums, this will positively impact children, giving them a much better chance of landing on their feet.
This was the strongest driver for me to leave the relative comfort of the corporate world and start a company that could help mums. After all the years working and living in different cultures, I had become more adaptable, more aware and more empathetic. It was my time to give back to the world and at this point I gave up my corporate life to start ‘Mum & You’.
Today, the company continues to grow with the single guiding principle: ‘Enable Mums to Enable Children’.
How do you balance or juggle your business around family commitments?
Mum & You started as a family business and continues to operate with this ethos. Anu, my wife, is CFO and Co-Founder of the company. We started the business together and are parents to two increasingly independent children.
Encouraging parents to engage with their children is a concept that runs throughout the business. Balance is so important and I’m a big believer that work and home life are intertwined.
At Mum & You it’s quite common for parents to leave the office early to pick up children from school and then start the work again in the evening from home. We are flexible and don’t ask employees to conform to conventional working hours if it’s not possible within their family lives.
What do you view as your biggest success since setting up your business?
Over the years Mum & You has created a community of mums who use our products and we have continued to learn from them. Our community and our team of talented Mums is our biggest achievement. In our team ‘real’ Mums innovate products and services hoping to make the lives of other parents a little easier. This is a mindset that has led to two big successes this year alone.
When our parenting community commented that the packaging for our biodegradable baby wipes wasn’t recyclable we listened to them. As a result, we will be launching the world’s first ‘100% recyclable baby wipes’ for sustainability-conscious parents later this year.
We’re also immensely proud of the new Mum & You skincare range ‘For Mum’. Dermatologically tested, each product in the range is made by mums, for mums using a blend of carefully selected natural ingredients that work quickly to give a little ‘lift’ when it’s needed most. In keeping with our ethos, the range is midwife approved, gentle on sensitive skin, environmentally friendly, cruelty free and uses recyclable packaging.
What are your top tips for anyone who is thinking about setting up their own business?
Firstly, set the agenda. Be crystal clear on your top priorities and what you expect from people to achieve them.
Secondly, go for it! Don’t spend too much time fine tuning your strategy and plans. Often, it’s better to just do it. Bring the product to market or launch the product. Just make a start. Fine tuning can be done along the way and, with experience, it’s unlikely you’ll go far wrong.
Be quick to correct mistakes. Your gut feeling is often right, so if you feel something is wrong, set yourself a short amount of time to set it right or confront the issue. Don’t let things drag on.
Every penny counts when you’re a small company so look after your cash flow. Be critical of where budget is spent; invest in innovation and customer acquisition as these are vital to take the business forward.
Finally, agility is your company’s most important asset and a mindset that needs to be felt throughout the business. It’s the ability to identify a strong opportunity and act on it, the sense to quickly correct failures, and the skill of quickly changing course when it’s needed.
Thank you so much Rajiv for taking part in my series. I have loved featuring you and I wish you all the best of luck in the future.
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Parents in Business series just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: Marienne Pachonick Architects, The Practical Planning Company, and Plant Pet Club.