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The journey so far – behind the scenes of MAMAKU Ethical Breastfeeding Fashion

MAMAKU came to life, albeit unnamed, early in 2018 when I finally jumped in the deep end and enrolled in a course ‘How to Start Your Fashion Business’ with consulting industry experts Fashion Equipped.

This course really did what it said on the tin and as I worked my way through the course I simultaneously researched and wrote a business plan. I conducted market research, SWOT analyses and competitor analyses. I created range plans, inventory plans and learnt about product development. I reverse engineered target costs, financial forecasts and cashflows.

At the end of the course I was invited along with the other course graduates to pitch my business plan for a scholarship. The judging panel was an impressive line up of industry experts and I knew had to put on my business cap and produce a professional business plan and a polished presentation.

I put my head down and tail up for about 2 months as I lived and breathed my business plan. I scrutinised every number. I planned for everything from fabric and prints, to where I would find you, my customer, and how I would make you feel like a part of our community. I left no stone unturned. It was hard work and at the end I was surprised my friends still remembered me. I was cranky and reclusive but I did it! The day came and I flew to Melbourne to present.

I rushed my words trying to fit in everything I had prepared, I mumbled and stumbled. I put my heart out there and waited for it to explode. I’m naturally an introvert – a social one, but still an introvert. The process to prepare and present was gruelling and a wee bit intimidating, but it was so worthwhile. Through my preparation I knew my business inside and out. I knew where my risks were and how to mitigate them. I knew where I wanted to be in 5 years and how I was going to get there.

Mostly, it was the first opportunity to talk about my business outside of friends and family, who are maybe bias in their support (I thank you all!). I had to convince a panel of senior level fashion industry veterans that I had a great idea and I knew how to make it successful. The competition was stiff! Some serious designers with far more knowledge, experience and charisma than I!

And I did! A month later I was awarded first place. I was so excited and so grateful that I cried my eyes out! My little idea to bring women some options in breastfeeding wear was chosen as being commercially sound, on trend and thoroughly planned out. I was so happy.

I was already cracking on with product development given that it was July and I was (still am!) so determined to get a product to you for December. I worked hard to finalise designs, sewing prototypes over and over and over. I am working with a consultant expert in product development from Fashion Equipped to stay on track.

Next steps are to negotiate costings, place an order and receive samples for design and fit tweaking. This can be a lengthy process with a lot of to and fro with the supplier, so I am prioritising moving forward on this at every opportunity.

At the same time I have been working hard building a website and working on other marketing ventures. Which, if you are reading this, I can only assume have been successful!

It’s been a busy year, especially in the last few months! I work from home whilst I care for our two boys Jack and Max. Some days I can get lots of work done and the boys play happily together. Some days I have no choice but to drop tools and spend the whole day being present with my kids.

I am working super hard, I really want to get pretty, affordable and ethical breastfeeding clothes to you as soon as possible – this summer!

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