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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Snuggle Bug





Affordable, high-quality wraps for Kiwi parents. 
I am so excited to be chatting to Andrea from Snuggle Bug!






About...
I am a mum to three children (6,4 and 2) and wife to a hard working husband. Originally from Auckland, I moved to Dunedin to study at the University of Otago before settling down in Hamilton. Before becoming a mum, I worked as a social worker supporting families who had children with disabilities.

In my spare time I facilitate Toolbox Parenting Courses. I love helping families and working with them to achieve a fun and loving home environment.


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Starting...
Snuggle Bug Carriers was established to provide affordable, high-quality baby wraps for Kiwi parents. We are passionate about baby wearing and wantto make it accessible to all parents and caregivers.

Snuggle Bug was started in 2010 not long after the birth of our second child, who was a very unsettled baby that wanted to be held almost all the time. I knew about the benefits of baby wearing from using a sling with our first child but found that this put too much strain on my back. So I did a bit of research into other carriers and discovered that baby wraps better distributed the weight of a baby, meaning they were ideal for all-day baby wearing. After locating the right material, I made what I guess could be considered the very first Snuggle Bug wrap.

My son practically lived in this wrap for the first few months of his life. He loved being carried in the wrap and I certainly loved being able to get on with my daily activities. When we were out and about, people would often come up to me and ask questions about the wrap and where they could purchase one. I started making baby wraps just as gifts for my friends but soon had requests from all sorts of people that I didn’t even know who wanted them too. It was at this point that I realised there was a real need for the need for someone to produce affordable high-quality baby wraps in New Zealand. The strong demand for our wraps has seen Snuggle Bug Carriers grow from humble beginnings to the company that it is today.


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Benefits of carrying your baby...
Carrying your baby using a Snuggle Bug Wrap is one of the best, most natural things that you can do as a parent or caregiver. Babies thrive when they feel loved, secure and supported. Baby carrying allows you to provide the perfect nurturing environment for your baby as you continue with your everyday activities.

Baby carrying in the early days is also known as the 4th Trimester. This is the idea that the first 3 months of life outside of the womb are very much an extension of life in the womb for baby. Baby has spent 40 weeks hearing mums heart beat, being rocked, and having their every need attended for inside the womb. This is why newborn babies settle so well in a wrap, as they are snuggled up close to mum where they feel secure in a similar environment to being in mums tummy.

Baby carrying is a traditional style of parenting that has been practiced for centuries around the world. The popularity of baby carrying in New Zealand and other Western cultures has risen dramatically in the last decade with a better understanding of attachment parenting.

Benefits for babies:
Baby feels more secure, which reduces crying
Promotes strong attachment
Helps to ease the symptoms of reflux and colic
Enhances emotional development
Provides ideal spine support
Reduces risk of developing flat head syndrome
Stimulates brain development
Improves development of regular sleep patterns
Reduces levels of stress hormones


Benefits for parents/caregivers:
Frees your arms for other activities
Allows you to interact with other children
More economical and easier to use than a pram or stroller
Makes breastfeeding easier
Reduces the risk of postnatal depression
Very portable, ideal for travelling with infants

You can also visit the Snuggle Bug website for this information ~  http://www.snuggle-bug.co.nz/why-wrap.html



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Love your business name...
Thank you. I have to admit that we didn’t really deliberately choose a name, it just kind of happened. I used to call our second son “my little snuggle bug” when he was being carried in a wrap as he looked so snuggled up and settled in the wrap. The name grew on me and we started calling our wraps Snuggle Bug wraps. I think it fits well with our product as babies really do just snuggle up in the wraps, appearing so snug and content next to their parent or caregiver.



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Daily... 
My daily routine...well with three small kids every day is different!

The day begins with checking email/Facebook to see what orders and messages have come in over night. I’m always amazed by the number of orders that we get in the wee small hours of the night. Then it’s time to get the kids ready for school and kindy.

As we live rural, our courier pickup happens first thing in the morning so all orders need to be put out for pickup the night before. This means that I have the freedom to process orders throughout the day whenever I get a chance. I try to do this while my oldest kids are at school and kindy but often it doesn’t happen until the evening when they are tucked up in bed.

Most of my day is spent trying to entertain our youngest child until the older kids get home. After that it’s the usual mad scramble to get dinner on the table, kids clean and then into bed. Evenings are spent processing any remaining orders and working on marketing opportunities or researching new products to offer.



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Love about owning your own business...
I love that work (mostly) fits around family needs. It’s a great privilege to be able to work and not have the kids in care.

Owning my own business has also allowed me to support some much needed community organisations around New Zealand. We have donated a lot of time and products to various not-for-profit organisations – I love that I am able to indirectly support mums through these amazing organisations.



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Motivation...
In all honesty, as with most businesses, there have been times when I just wanted to give up. But what keeps me going is the fantastic positive feedback that we receive on an almost daily basis from our customers. It gives me so much joy knowing that our baby wraps are making a real difference to parents and caregivers throughout New Zealand.




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Advice...
I have two thoughts. First, make sure that you are totally passionate about whatever product or service that your business is about. Starting a business is a lot of hard work and unless you believe whole-heartedly about your product you’re unlikely to get through the inevitable difficulties.

Second, sort out some form of work/life balance early on. It’s very easy to get caught up effectively working 24/7 even if it’s just responding to emails/Facebook messages. Try to set specific times of the day and week when you will “do work” and other times when you will not. Remember the reason that most people start small businesses is to make work fit around life, not for it to totally take over their lives.



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Relaxing...
Relaxing - what is that :) When I get a moment I like to bake, hang out with friends and family or get creative.

I am the craft coordinator for our local Mums of Preschoolers (MOPs) and love browsing Pinterest for new craft ideas.

I find it very relaxing catching up with other mums and having a coffee and a good laugh. The house might get trashed from the kids playing but a good laugh and good company does great things for the mind and helps me unwind.



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From here... 
Well we’ve recently completed a redesign of our wraps using a thicker, more supportive material. It took a long time/effort to find material with the right balance of stretch and support and in the end we had to get it specifically manufactured. We made this change in response to some feedback from customers and babywearing groups. Our sales have picked up noticeably since the change, which is great and indicates that our wraps are even more loved than before.

We’ve also just completed a redesign of our website to make it mobile friendly. We get a lot of orders from mums in the small hours of the night and wanted to make it easier for them to order from their phones.

After completing these two major projects, the rest of the year will be a chance to take a breath before we launch some exciting new products early next year.


Connecting & buying...
Website: www.snugglebug.co.nz
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SnuggleBugCarriers
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/SnuggleBugWrap/

Or feel free to email us at info@snugglebug.co.nz We love to hear from our customers or potential customers and answer any questions you may have.




Giveaway...
Andrea has given me a Snuggle Bug Retro flowers Designer Wrap to giveaway to a very lucky winner! Please head to my Liked. by Becky Facebook Page to find out how to enter. Thank you very much Andrea.

'Our Designer Snuggle Bug Wraps are ergonomically designed to distribute baby's weight across your entire back and shoulders. This makes it convenient and comfortable to carry your baby even for extended periods of time.

Made from 100% natural cotton with a panel of patterned material at the front for a more unique, contemporary look. The natural cotton fibres breathe, keeping you and baby cool even in the warmer months. Designer Snuggle Bug Wraps are a generous 5.5 meters in length, allowing them to be easily and comfortably used by caregivers of all sizes. Suitable from Prem until 15kg. RRP $60.




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