Since having a daughter almost a year ago now, I have been thinking very actively on the topic of entrepreneurship, wrecking my brains for the next big business idea. Since I don’t want to be a consultant ever again, looking at my expertise it is most likely that if I set up a new business it will be in the personal finance/wealth management space, and I think I would enjoy it a lot. I feel like a few more years experience in trading is going to be very useful though.
A lot of women who leave their jobs after having children (or who return to their jobs but are looking for an exit that doesn’t involve becoming a 24/7 housewife) start fiddling with the idea of entrepreneurship. As the new life revolves around other mums and babies, the most common business ideas involve baby products. This has become so common that tech writer Jolie O’Dell caused a stir this week by tweeting: “Women: Stop making startups about fashion, shopping, & babies. At least for the next few years. You’re embarrassing me.” from the technology conference DEMO 2011.
I’ve had similar thoughts when screening business ideas sometimes, and dismissing mumpreneurial ideas with the argument that “all mums are trying to do the same thing, but I think I was wrong. When I told my business school friend (by now a working mum of two young children) I don’t want to set up a baby related business because “all mums are trying to do the same thing”, she was surprised and asked “really? I don’t know any mum who is actually setting up a business”. It got me thinking. You hear a lot on the internet about mums setting up mum-businesses, but I had to admit of all the mums I know in the neighbourhood, NOBODY has actually set up anything or is thinking about it, and they are all educated women. Everybody is either going back to work or planning to take a few years off.
In addition, any informed business person should know that FASHION and BABIES are BIG business. Before my daughter was born, I used to say I would NEVER spend more than $200 on a piece of plastic that is a stroller, only to purchase the BUGABOO BEE before her birth as nothing else was good enough. I was a complete tomboy as a child and NEVER wore dresses, and yet there I was going crazy shopping for baby clothes in the HARRODS sale. Something about loving your child makes you think nothing is good enough and only the very best will do. If I remember correctly from my MBA, I think in microeconomics this is called price inelasticity and that is every business owner’s dream!
I’m all for women thinking big and broad and building businesses in any field they have expertise in, but I am convinced babies and fashion are about the most lucrative niches you can find. Bring on the mumpreneurs!