Hi, Dave here,
If you read the About S-Dev page on the site, you will know one of “my things”, is that I like buisnesses that are either unusual, against all odds or borne out of adversity. Today, I am going to talk about a business that probably just about qualifies for all three categories.
To be honest it’s one of those things that you don’t think about, or indeed would probably never know about until it happens to you. And, it’s also one of those things that, when you do hear something about it, you think “oh, that will never happen to me”.
Facts and Figures
I am talking about premature babies. Now, before I got involved in this business I had no idea that circa 15 million babies are born prematurely each year. I was actually staggered when I read that figure, but the fact is 1 in 10 babies are pre term to some degree. That means there is a huge market for premature baby clothes, but more of that in a minute.
It is reported that the numbers are on the increase too. The probably causes are thought to be mothers leaving it later to have children and the increase in the use of fertility drugs which tends to lead to multiple births more often. There is a much higher tendancy to pre-term birth when multiples are involved apparently.
So, back to the “that will never happen to me” part!
This was Ngaire Cockerill three and a half years ago. It was her first baby and everything seemed to be going along fine. All the pre-natal checks and scans were looking good, she felt good, and planning for a normal term birth were well under way. The nursery was almost ready and a whole host of clothes and accessroies had been purchased, now all they had to do was wait.
Rushed Into Hospital
Then all of a sudden, without any warning the wait was over, cut short by 8 weeks and Ngaire was rushed into hospital. Clarke duly arrived, in a bit of a rush and two months early.
Personally I cannot imagine the shock of that situation, but in talking to Ngaire it was clearly a very emotional time for her and her husband. She still looks visibly upset when she talks about it.
But, once the shock has subsided, she was left with having to deal with the situation.
A Stressful Situation
“The SCBU staff were amazing”, she recalls, “and they did everything they possibly could to help us. But, there was Clarke, in an incubator with PICC lines everywhere and we couldn;t even have proper cuddles. It was hugely stressful”.
Thankfully Clarke was never in danger, but, it was the difficulty in finidng very small baby clothes that drove Ngaire to start Dinki Dreams – her premature baby clothing website.
“It was just one more thing we had to deal with”, she remembers. “If it wasn’t bad enough anyway, I sent hubby off to get stuff from home and he came back with clothes, but of course they were for 7-8lb babies, Clarke was under 4lb! So, I went shopping and found I couldn’t get more than one or two babygro’s at any one store. Then I tried online and hit the same problem. There was just nowhere with a good supply”.
And, in that instant the idea hit her. She needed to put together a range of specialist pre-term and small baby clothing to at least take one of the pains away from suddenly becoming the parents of a premature baby.
Help From Dad
“Dad is an experienced business man, he’d run his own show all of his life. So I talked to him about the idea and he loved it. With his help I put a plan together and within two months I had a French designer and a quality manufacturer in the U.K on board. Three months later I had the first samples through and a website being built. I was on a mission.” she laughed.
Fast-forward to late 2014 and Dinki Dreams at the Premature Baby Boutique is now the premier online store for this type of baby clothing. It is thriving business and one that is going from strength to stregnth. I for one am delighted about that and every time I see Ngaire I just see that absolute burn in her eyes. That desire to provide quality products, at good prices and to save people time and trouble.
Gaps in the Market
You see, it was her desire that came out of that adverse situation that has been on of the major contributing factors to the success of Dinki Dreams. She saw a situation that was tough for people and she did something to address that out of her own adversity. I just love stories like this and it also demonstrates that there are still huge gaps in many markets.
Gaps that are there to be exploited if you have the right view of the situation and the drive and enthusiasm to “make something happen”.
You can find the website here:- http://www.prematurebabyboutique.co.uk Please do go and have a look.
This video shows some of the complications involved when you have a premature baby to clothe! I hopeyou find it useful.