Meet Lena Martin..
I am a mum to two teenagers and have been working with babies and children for over 20 years. I work as a Postnantal Doula, which is where the idea of Positive Playboxes started. The Playboxes are perfect to purchase as a one-off gift or for parents who don’t have the time to research a good selection of toys for their growing baby.
1.Can you explain to us how the idea for your business came to you and how the whole process kicked off?
I’ve worked for many years as a maternity nurse for premature and sick babies and postnatal doula, supporting mums and baby after birth with postnatal recovery, breastfeeding, baby care, and baby development. This means that I work directly with parents and babies, learning about what mums need to support their babies, to engage them and help them learn. I found that mums would ask me about toys to help their premature or full term baby develop and that I was able to recommend the best toy for their age or stage.
Using my experience, I was able to research, age and categorise a selection of toys for each development stage to create the perfect development play pack for babies. The toys are not just about play, but also about supporting developmental areas, which is the reason why I include an age appropriate information card to explain the developmental areas mums should be starting to see from their baby.
2.What were the biggest challenges you faced when bringing the idea to market?
My biggest challenges were the time and money required to put the idea into practice. As with all new ideas, research is required into similar products available in the market, and this research took time. I was clear on how I wanted the boxes to look and feel, but I needed to curate the perfect toys for each developmental stage, in a way that hadn’t been done before. As I still work as a Postnatal Doula, I have to research, design and curate the boxes, around my job, using all the time I had available. Luckily I found that the idea is novel, and so despite the set up requiring resources, I was really able to be creative and put my own stamp on curating the playboxes for each stage. It’s been a real learning curve and still is.
3.Where do you think good ideas come from and what inspires you?
I think most ideas come from experience, as through this, you can see what’s required in the given situation. Here I was able to see a gap in the market, using my experience of recommending toys based on the stimulation required as baby develops, to curate the playboxes. What helped me learn, and inspired me further, was the feed back received from parents who trialled or bought the playboxes. It was amazing to hear about how the babies were learning whilst having fun, and the mum’s feeling encouraged by the process. I realised that these boxes were not only supporting mum and baby, but also making a real different to the baby’s learning.
4.What are your company’s values and why are these things important to the business?
I am passionate about the playboxes inspiring parents and babies to learn, through play. I hear day in day out, how the playboxes inspire mums to play more with their babies, helping them engage further with the learning process. I really want to show parents that babies can benefit from the right toys at the right age, allowing them to be challenged.
I am also a huge supported of local business, and try and source the products in the playboxes from small, local businesses who put real care and attention into their unique products. This sets me apart from competitors but also attracts parents who care about shopping local for quality.
5.What is next for your brand?
Positive playboxes is expanding to offer a range of bespoke boxes alongside the standard boxes for the different age ranges. The bespoke boxes are great if the parents have a particular want for the toys, for example, wooden toys, or a certain theme, such as animals. This means that I am receiving more and more playboxes gifted to others, where a family member or friend, can choose certain items to be including for their loved one. I love working on these bespoke boxes as it lets me work more directly with the person purchasing the box, as well as allowing me to be more creative in curating the toys!
6.What one piece of advice would you have for someone just starting out on their business journey or currently going through a setback?
As for advice, I’d say if you have a unique idea, then pursue it. I’m so pleased that on realising this gap in the market, that I didn’t let fear stop me, and that I went on to create the playboxes. The world needs new ideas, and as feedback shows, these ideas can make a real difference to the people engaging with the product. It can be hard, but once you receive orders and positive feedback, it makes it all worthwhile!
7.What resources and tools do you use to remain productive or up-to-date on industry trends etc?
I spend a lot of time researching and furthering my learning on baby development through up to date studies, parent dyad analysis and new theories behind how babies develop. This is as well as keeping up to date with toys, development of materials and technological advances.
More info on Lena Martin…
Brand Name: Positive Playboxes
Facebook handle: https://www.facebook.com/positiveplayboxes/
Instagram handle: https://www.instagram.com/positiveplayboxes/