Monday, June 13, 2011

Cara Sayer a Mum-preneur

Cara Sayer from the UK says the inspiration for the SnoozeShade came about while she was trying to keep her daughter, Holly, asleep in her pram (stroller) when they went out. She also felt Mums should not be forced into being housebound because of their baby's sleeping patterns.

How the SnoozeShade® was born

It's a clich̩ but it happens. I left my career in marketing to look after my lovely daughter. One day, I had an idea for a product that would help make my life as a mum easier and now over a year later, here I am, a mumpreneur with a baby product РSnoozeShade.

My daughter always needed her sleep and I needed to go out. When she was tiny, a walk to the shops in her buggy was easy as she slept deeply and often. As she got older and became more alert, it became harder for her to switch off and snooze in her buggy – or, once asleep, she would be woken by lights, the sun or by whatever activity was going on nearby.

Meeting friends for a coffee or bite to eat involved a lot of time attaching muslins with clothes pegs or draping blankets over buggy hoods and even resorting to hanging coats over the sun canopy – with varying degrees of success. Manoeuvring up and down kerbs could be treacherous too with things sliding off randomly – resulting in a wide-awake and grumpy baby.

How nice it would have been to pop into a shop and try on something new while baby slept peacefully in her pram, undisturbed by mummy twirling in front of the mirror.

Sayer searched the internet believing there must be something she can buy. She looked at mosquito, cat and insect nets, but they allowed too much light into the stroller. The current Sun shades were all big and bulky and not very portable. Plus the baby could still see out and get woken up or distracted. She couldn't find a simple answer that blocked out light and was small enough to carry with you in the stroller or diaper bag.

"One day, I rather foolishly said to a few friends that someone should invent something – so they said 'go on then'."

She spent a number of months working on the design of a blackout blind and how she would be able to sell it.

"It was either Dragons Den (BBC TV Show featuring entrepreneurs pitching their ideas) or a trade show. Of the two I thought if I went to the trade show, even if they laughed at me, at least I wouldn't be embarrassed on national television. I got everything ready and went to the show at the beginning of October, and it turned out to be really useful, I got some good feedback, and some companies were interested."

She has invested her life savings into SnoozeShade, and is hoping that not only is it a success, but it will open the door for more inventions.

Her company, Really Simple Ideas has seen profits after only a year of trading.

"It has been difficult and very busy at times. But it’s amazing how fast everything's happened.

I do most of my work when Holly is asleep or at nursery. When my husband comes home from work he is on bedtime duty so I can work.

Antonia Chitty, of the BusinessMums Conference, says Cara Sayer is proof that mothers can make it in business while bringing up children.

Antonia Chitty says "Mothers can sometimes see themselves as being stuck at home"
"But being at home can also be about taking the time to think up ideas – something creative and new."

Shop for the SnoozeShade at The Pump Station

Information complied from:

SnoozeShade: Background
DayBreak: Meet mum-trepreneur Cara SayerDec 10, 2010
Surrey Herald: Mum-turned-inventor creates new pram product, Nov 9 2009 By Rupert Basham
Mail Online: Sleeping on the job: Invention to help babies sleep in buggies could make mummy a millionaire, Oct 6 2010 By Paul Bentley