Olga Imbriano: The Accidental Mum-preneur
Have you ever grieved over that much-loved body suit once your baby outgrew it? Well, you’re not alone. Whether you are scooting from 000 to 00 or baby to toddler size, one thing is for sure, your baby will outgrow up to 40 body suits in its first year alone.
This was the driving force behind Snap & Extend, a clever designer extender for the crouch of your baby’s body suit and the brainchild of Olga Imbriano.
Imbriano, a self-titled “Accidental Mum-preneur”, says the idea came to her during a challenging period after relocating from Czech Republic to Australia in 2015. “I was struggling to adjust to a different culture, and having a toddler and a primary-school-aged daughter meant they kept me on my toes from early to late, plus unfortunately much of the night, too. I also wanted to talk with other mums to build a support network.”
Cultural clashes aside, as her baby grew rapidly Imbriano also found herself pining for the baby bodysuit extenders that were readily available in her native country. “I could not find them anywhere,” she recalls.
But this got her thinking. “Baby-extenders are an economic and environmentally friendly solution, and I was sure I could find what I needed to make these here in Australia. Well, this proved a little more difficult than I thought, but once I found the right size press buttons, I fashioned a few for my own use.”
“Problem was, the buttons came in bulk and I had hundreds of them now. This was when the idea popped into my head to make more extenders, thinking that it would help other parents as well.”
And thus, Snap and Extend was born. It’s a baby-suit extender brand that helps hold onto your favorite baby-suits for longer, by snapping a stretchable piece of fabric at the crotch of the baby-suit.
It didn’t take long for Imbriano’s unique baby business to take-off — she needed to buy more buttons, hire help for sewing, packaging and event outsource some of her marketing. She was even nominated for a variety of awards including the 40under40 Young Entrepreneurs Award, the Telstra Businesswoman of the Year Award, as well as being just announced as a finalist in the national AusMumpreneur Awards.
“If there is one thing that I enjoy most in doing this business, it is the idea that what I am doing is helping other mothers and saving money on their clothing too.”
Snap and Extend is environmentally-friendly, too, and matches to all common brands such as Bonds, Next, Boody, Seed, Country Road, Jamie Kay, H&M, and all the big retailers – simply extending the crouch and with it the life of your favourite body suit.
Imbriano says while running a business is empowering and rewarding, it was difficult initially. “However, what I have learned is that with persistence and effort, it is possible to overcome all obstacles.”
Here are Imbriano’s tips to succeed in business while being a mum too.
Follow Your instinct
“Trusting the flow of things and my instincts led me in the right direction. I knew that the concept brought value to other mums and was kind to the environment, and as such, I innately knew that turning it into a business would be successful. It was just like a mother’s intuition.”
Plan and Proceed
“Organic progression is good but planning and putting your thoughts into action is essential to reaching your goals. Being a busy mum meant I actually had to make time to focus on the business while being a devoted mum and wife too. They say, ‘Fail to plan and you plan to fail’. So, plan your business tasks and carve out time for your business as well as your family.“
Ask for Help
“No matter what your expertise are, you cannot know and do everything in your business— especially if you are a busy mum like me. So, ask for advice, help, hire support and delegate. Whether that means giving repetitive tasks to a VA or hiring a PR agency —simply concentrate on what you are good at.”
Share the Love
“My product came from a place of need and passion, so sharing it with others came naturally to me. Sharing my vision, my hopes, successes and challenges helped other mums connect with me and the product, and it was that relatability that helped spread the word, brought in followers, likes and sales.”
Celebrate Your Wins
“This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to pat yourself on the shoulder and recognise how far you have come in your business. This also means acknowledging the support from your family, helpers and everyone. It’s not just about popping a bottle of champagne (it helps though) but about giving recognition to others and yourself. Celebrating little wins will help fuel the bigger ones.”
Snap and Extend is available from all good baby stores and online at www.bellelis.com.au.