“What do mothers want?” is a question whose answer is worth at least one million dollars. Probably even more, if we trust the statistics on the high growth of the market for baby and children’s goods and services for parents.
INKwoodReasearch data from 2016, this market is expected to expand by 4.7%
annually in the period 2017-2025. According to a research of Grand View
Research, Inc., the increase is even 5.5% with the prospect of profits from
this market to reach USD 16.78 billion in 2025. Supermarkets, drugstores and
pharmacies are the main channels for distribution of goods of the top four
companies in the sector, but the Internet culture, e-commerce and innovation
are changing the market. There, the driving force is the parents who are representatives
of the Millennial generation (born between 1981 and 2000). They are active online
users of information and commerce, they want to live green, despite the
urbanization and easily adopt innovations that can enable them to be more
mobile and successful as parents and as professionals. They have significant requirements
to the products and services related to children and spend more on the family.
Last but not least, they are in constant search for something new or a long
forgotten old one because the familiar patterns of parenthood are exhausted.
I met the
founders of four Bulgarian businesses set up by and for mothers in order to
find out how they know what their consumers want, how their companies are
developing and what is their competition.
Hadzhiivanova and Elisaveta Belobradova founded the “Mayko Mila!” media
platform about 3 years ago. It was the first in the information niche of the
online media that speaks the tongue of the mothers “without shaking a finger.”
They support a community of about 82,000 people, they have published two books,
they have established themselves as leaders of opinion and are ambassadors of
products, business and social campaigns. They also develop sustainably the “Ole
Male” platform in favour of mothers of children with disabilities.
Krasimira Hadzhiivanova and Elisaveta Belobradova - Photo: Kiril Stanoev
Denitsa Gospodinova and Tsvetelina Daskalova created one of the first sites in Bulgaria for places and events for children – “Sofia Igrae” (Sofia plays). Architects by education, but also mothers in Sofia, they have developed a media – information portal for suggestions, events, courses and activities for children, where children-related businesses present their initiatives.
Denitsa Gospodinova (right) and Tsveti Daskalova - Photo: Krasimir Svrakov
Hristina Lisnik is probably one of the most well-known influencers, involved in the development of the so-called “Attachment Parenting.” She created a library for renting slings, “Slingoteka” (Slingrary), 2 years ago. She gives advice on the topic of baby-wearing and baby care for future mothers; she is an ambassador of different brands and social causes.
Iva Dyankova is
the owner of one of the two Bulgarian online platforms for baby and children’s
goods rental – “Babyrental”. She started her project three years ago and has helped
many parents, including foreign tourists, to travel with less baggage.
Iva Dyankova - Photo: Krasimir Svrakov
All four projects are first of their kind and are created because of the immediate need of the mothers who stand behind them.
“When we made “Mayko
Mila!”, the niche of the online media for parents was empty and was waiting for
someone to appear and write on the topic with a sense of humour, and focus on
the mother without reproaching her,” Krasimira says.
Deni adds that
Tsveti and she have been driven by their own needs as mothers to find all
places and events for children in one place on the Internet. “We did not have a
business plan. I think that if we had spent too much time and effort in marketing
research and strategies, we would not have created the site at all.”
Iva learnt from the
experience of platforms for children’s goods rental in the United States to
create her own business. She based it on her needs as a mother of twins.
Hristina shared her “love for baby-wearing and so the circle was expanding more
In the “from
mothers for mothers” business, the online space is probably the most
appropriate but also the most difficult for development of entrepreneurship.
Social networks and communications, mostly by telephone and messages, save
everyone’s time, but the choice of the user is also more difficult because of
the strong competition. The answer to the question, “What do mothers want?” may
be “the best for their children” but it is not complete. “Every parent has
access to the Internet, respectively to information that gives them an idea of
what is happening in and outside of Bulgaria. Many people have relatives abroad
who share what services, goods and entertainment for children can be found
there, so a demand is created, and from there - the supply,” Iva says. But
“with all sources of goods, services and information, one has to be able to
sift through what is really needed and useful,” Krasimira adds.
Deni, who works
with both end-users – parents, and businesses, partners and advertisers, says
that they have sent direct mails to different businesses asking: “What do you
need? How can we help your business?” “To a great extent what we offer as a
business service is based on suggestions, questions and comments from the
people we work with. So, it turned out we are selling to a targeted audience,
and advertisers have a great interest in it. But the process always includes
three parties – the readers, us and the advertisers. If we forget the first
ones, if we do not treat them with respect and understanding, we will lose the
that the specifics of the content and the way they present it on the online
media are their key advantages when dealing with advertisers. The connection
with their business partners happens “on a conceptual level – with
responsibility both to the business and themselves and to their
that she would become a face of a brand, only after she, as a mother, has trust
in it. For her, trust is particularly important because in about 80% of the
orders she processes, the clients come on a recommendation. “For 2 years, I
have had dozens of events and more than 500 individual consultations only in
Sofia,” she adds.
For her, as well
as for my other interlocutors, their business is inevitably bound to a social
mission because it is targeted at the most vulnerable – the children. She
provides free counselling for parents of pre-term babies or parents in a
Krasimira says that the social cause “Ole Male” fully corresponds to the philosophy of their business project – to give women confidence. “Social engagements help the business a lot, even if there is no immediate financial return,” Deni adds. The main benefits are the access to larger advertisers and international business partners, better image and trust among end users.
And they, the
end-users, sometimes seem over-satisfied,” Iva says. There is everything, yet
the question, “What do mothers still need?” remains open. “Every mother knows
what the empty market niches are; she just has to ask
herself: ‘What do I need?’” And then it’s a matter of organization,”
Deni says. Iva needs an online platform targeted at travelling parents to
advertise. Krasimira responds almost seriously: “Mothers need to go on a
vacation without blaming themselves that the father has remained at home to
look after the child for four days. Or at least that’s what we want.”
Повече четете в бр. 89 на сп. "Икономика"