Jennie McAlpine is a multi-award winning business owner for the following categories in our 2020 AusMumpreneur VIC-TAS Awards
- Silver winner – Product Innovation
- Silver winner – Product Design
Jennie McAlpine is the founder and CEO at BabyDink Australia.
Jennie launched BabyDink™ – in 2018 – it is a baby carrier worn simply lie a top. It’s a new take on babywearing, that enables mums and dads to support their newborn baby hands-free – without complicated wrapping.
Jennie is based on the Mornington Peninsula and spend her days working away to bring her dream product to a global market.
When did you start your business?
I have just celebrated our 3rd birthday – but I have been working on this business in some way or another most of my adult life. It’s been a passion of mine for all that time and I really feel so blessed, because I still genuinely love coming to work each day.
What was the inspiration behind starting this business?
20 years ago when I had babies, I loved keeping them close. Babywearing became a daily essential, especially when no. 2 arrived. I tried SO many carriers and was overwhelmed by the wrapping, clips and buckles on all of them!
Life went on and my babies grew up.
The idea to create a fuss-free Baby Carrier with no origami wrapping or complicated explanations for use had stayed with me all those years.
Over time I began to refine my idea, what exactly did the design and product need to achieve? What fabrics would work? And so the sampling begun.
I really wanted to solve a problem for parents and add value and peace of mind to the experience of babywearing. It had to be suitable from birth. After years of refining my design, BabyDink was ready to take to the masses – I was so inspired that over two decades later my idea felt just as relevant as it did waaay back in the early 90’s!
What are you most excited about in your business?
I am really excited to be launching new colours throughout the year and I’m so proud to be adding another size to our already inclusive size range – 3XL (AU22-24) which feels really aligned with our mission celebrate parents of every size. We have been developing our wholesale network and have secured our first major US stockist which feels like the beginning of the next phase of the company’s journey and my dream to bring BabyDink to the world.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
Starting! LOL – only took a couple of decades.
Funding was tough. Bootstrapping from the beginning, with no loans or investors. Defintely a slower burn but so rewarding and the benefits of having full control over all aspects of my company is worth doing it that way.
More challenges lie in, scaling up and managing logistics. When growth happens fast it’s wonderfully exciting, but it can throw a sole trader business into the pressure cooker. Warehousing and managing the process of order more stock quantities, packing and shipping larger order volumes has been challenging. I’ve made a point of seeking solid advice from her peers, and those who have walked the path before me.
You have to have grit, determination and a willingness to continue to learn and evolve.
An e-commerce business will always have opportunities to evolve in logistics. Its an ongoing challenge, but one that can be met with critical thinking and honesty and integrity as a brand. I really believe that relationships are key and I think its vital to invest just as much time and energy to build strong connections with your supply chain as you might spend in design or sales. It just ensures clear communication and mutual respect which in turn ensures your business is prioritised.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
Don’t look too far ahead, there are a million things you will find to stop yourself. But you really just have to start and do a little bit each day. Trust in the timing and your own vision.
Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?
It was important to me to have BabyDink recognised as an innovative and safe product for babies.
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?
Connecting with other female entrepreneurs.
What surprised you most about the awards?
The amount categories I was a finalist in and how many participants were involved across such a broad spectrum of businesses.
How did the awards help you in your business?
Receiving recognition, especially in product design and innovation.
What advice would you give to others mums thinking about entering the awards?
What’s happening next in your business? Any big plans for the future?
Always big plans. Our global expansion is happening rapidly and our team is growing. We are becoming more recognised as a household name in the newborn baby product space and we are continually developing our product, systems and service to our BabyDink community.
All images featured here are from Jennie McAlpine.
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