Laura is a mum of two kids under 4 living on the Gold Coast and she’s the Founder of parenting brand Hackerlily. Hackerlily launched in February this year with a load of media attention and coverage including 7News, 9News, ABC Radio, Kidspot, 9Honey, WinNews, Bounty Parents and more. The HipSurfer is Hackerlily’s award winning, doctor approved and flagship product – it’s the only Australian owned and designed strap-free hipseat carrier, created with the Aussie active lifestyle and climate in mind.

When did you start your business?

I came up with the idea of the HipSurfer while on Maternity Leave in July 2021. I was experiencing severe carpal tunnel in my arms and my rheumatoid arthritis had flared up again in my feet, knees and fingers. I just had to do something about it. 18 months later the HipSurfer officially launched to the world on February 18th 2023.

What was the inspiration behind starting this business?

When you become a parent, you expect it will be life changing. But the thing nobody tells you is, how hard it will actually be on your body. All the lifting, hip-popping, bending over and contorting can take a serious physical toll

As a mum of 2 larger than life kids (literally large kids) that never enjoyed strappy baby carriers, I experienced all of the above, plus the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel

I felt intense mum guilt for having to put my kids down after a few minutes, during times when they needed me most. When I couldn’t find a carrier that suited our needs, I decided to tackle the problem myself

The result of 1.5 years and 8 prototypes – an innovative, customisable and ergonomic baby carrier that minimises spinal curvature and common overuse injuries including back pain, SIJ, shoulder tension and RSI’s (tennis elbow, De Quervaines).

What are you most excited about in your business?

I’m so excited to see how my community is growing and expanding into areas I would have never imagined. Every day I receive messages and videos from parents showing me how the HipSurfer is turning everyday strainful, stressful or repetitive moments into ……moments of joy and relief.

One of my customers Rebecca, sent me this video on the weekend (link) sharing how the HipSurfer has completely transformed her naptime experience…you can see at the very end she whispers … “thank you” ;-). This was so unexpected. She is not an influencer or a creator I paid – just a mum whose life is a little bit easier now.

We also have a growing community of customers who find that the HipSurfer has been a lifechanger for them as it is so supportive and convenient for children with Down Syndrome, Autism, Hip Dysplasia, Cerebral Palsy and other disabilities and illnesses.

I’ve received the most beautiful feedback from families about how the HipSurfer has really supported them with giving their children the comfort and cuddles they need – and the freedom to get up and down with complete ease (while also reducing the strain on the shoulders and backs of parents who need to constantly hold their growing children)

As we move into our 7 month of operating – I am on a mission to give back and to support more families and charities as we grow. I’m currently speaking with some hospitals and charities – if anyone has any suggestions for who I could donate HipSurfer’s too – please let me know.

What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?

Gawsh everything is hard when you start out isn’t it. I had never created a business myself before and so the hardest thing…. is to find out all the things you don’t know – and then get ahead of those things so you don’t cock up and make a massive boo boo ;-P.

And I can assure you I made a lot of mistakes – because heck, how else are you going to learn. So the most challenging thing – is actually to reframe all of these frustrating moments, all of these errors that chewed up and wasted so much time – and to rephrase them as ‘fast tracked learning’. You grow through what yo go through – and when I think about all the learnings I could share with other small business owners about branding, 3PL’s, international freight, manufacturer selection, pattern printing, protytyping and so much more – I wouldn’t have all this insight if it wasn’t for the blunders I made.

And for that I am thankful for the things that have been the hardest -as I’ve come out the other side smarter, wiser and stronger

What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?

For all the women and mums thinking about starting a business. Do it! You will find your community of business owning women and mums who will support you and who will help to fill in the blanks of the things you don’t know. You will develop personally and professionally and will gain confidence and clarity on all the things you never thought was possible.

Find your people. Join online communities. Starting a business can be a pretty lonely and isolating experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Having a support system and network will help you stay motivated and will help you troubleshoot every day challenges that can cause bottlenecks. Sometimes you just need to validate your own ideas.

Focus on progress, not perfection. Take messy action. You don’t need to have all the answers or know every step. Just take the first step, then the next. Improve by just 1% every week and you’ll see so much progress.

Be kind to yourself and set realistic expectations on the actual time you can commit. Plan for unexpected appointments, mishaps and sick kids. It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting a new business, but it’s important to remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?

I wanted to connect and meet other successful women in business and I wanted to get my brand out there. To gain feedback, support, recognition – even by participating and receiving a finalist badge brings a brand so much more credibility and trust. I’m so blown away to have won and will definitely be entering more awards next year! Thank you so much

What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?

The pink night was great and I loved how you broke out one of the sessions into service based and e-comm so we could speak in depth about our specific challenges and focus areas for growth.

What surprised you most about the awards?

Just how supportive, open and inclusive everyone was -with the most successful and accomplished women being so open to supporting and championing those starting out (like me)

How did the awards help you in your business?

The Winner Badge is now proudly displayed on my next HipSurfer box designs and marketing materials. And I’ll be harnessing this award to approach distributors and retailers to stock the HipSurfer. I have some PR planned in October and this will be a massive help in gaining coverage.

What advice would you give to other mums thinking about entering the awards?

Whether you win or not – the month and time investment is well worth the outcome. You’ll make new friends and find new brands you had never heard of – and your network will grow. You can’t put a price on that.

What has been the best thing about starting your own business?

I love that by creating my own business I have met inspiring, giving and successful women that I would never have met otherwise. It is so true when they say that you are the sum of the people you hang out with. Find your people and grow together. The same goes for building my community – they are my biggest supporters and they have genuinely helped to get me through the toughest times!

What’s happening next in your business?

Soo much planned. Currently working on a wider range of HipSurfer variants, a range of complementary MumHack style accessories and international expansion! Watch this space

What are your big plans for the future?

I have such big ambitions for Hackerlily and it’s all centred around hacking the hard parts of parenting, by providing products and solutions that bring greater ease, joy, comfort and memorable moments with family.

We are creating the most vibrant community and safe space where parents can connect, uplift, motivate and inspire each other with stories, advice, tips and support. This goes so much further than just being an e-commerce and retail brand.

Since sharing my health problems, parents are reaching out every week to share their own health journey and challenges with raising their little family. From mental and physical health to money, domestic abuse, career, family life and so much more – my goal is for Hackerlily to be a trusted friend, community, source of truth and a light hearted escape for parents.