After years of assisting small to large businesses with strategy, accounting and tax matters, Russell and Amelia had a light-bulb moment and realised they had the energy, passion, knowledge and experience required to run their own show. They affirm the main motivation behind their decision was their dream “of being able to spend more time with our young children. They are only little a short time and we wanted to be able to be involved in their lives more, from school to all extra curriculars. The look on our kids’ faces when we rock up at school to do home reading, homework help et cetera is priceless!”, Amelia declares. The reality of their arrangement in action is “like any other family with two young children – busy (but fun!)”. While juggling the demands of children and responsibilities to the business is hectic, they are lucky to work near home and have flexible working hours. They are also fortunate that while Amelia’s parents live overseas, Russell’s family and Amelia’s brother live close by and are very helpful with the kids.
“To be honest work life balance is a funny thing. With the world being more connected than ever, I am not sure if one can fully detach from business outside of working hours but because we can share the workload or do some of the work after hours we believe we are better at achieving work life balance”, says Amelia. The best test is whether they would change anything and when asked, Russell is quick to proclaim “Nope – no regrets – should have done this sooner!”
We found some time in Russell and Amelia’s busy schedules to get them to share their experiences with you
WE ARE AT A BBQ AND I ASK YOU WHAT YOU DO…
‘We run UrbanBaby which is the online destination for stylish, practical and innovative parenting solutions. Our range covers beautiful essentials, hand selected gifts and designer furniture all conveniently delivered to your door with our fast dispatch service.’
WHAT DREW YOU TO URBANBABY?
‘UrbanBaby has been around for over 15 years and in that time established and maintained a great reputation with its customers, suppliers and partners. In fact, we were customers when our children were babies! When we began our search for a business to purchase, UrbanBaby was presented to us and really struck us as a business which had genuinely strived to find solutions to so many parenting dilemmas. On closer inspection, the business had been well run and everything neatly documented making the changeover much easier. On a personal level, babies are such joy for families and we loved the idea that people would be coming to us to find items to assist their precious little person grow!’
WHAT MAKES URBANBABY STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD?
‘UrbanBaby is often the first store to introduce new products to Australia, so our unique selection of products really is a great selling point. By catering for both parenting essentials and beautiful gifts, we give customers a destination for all their baby needs. Matched with our next business day dispatch service
we believe we provide the ultimate customer journey.’
WHAT GETS YOU EXCITED ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS?
‘Our customers! We are so lucky to have customers saying they have a wonderful experience with us and will tell their friends about us. We must be doing something right because they say they’ll come back and they do! Can’t beat that feeling! We also find keeping ahead of the competition and being the brand ambassador for many new and innovative products for the Australian market a super fun aspect of the business.’
WORKING WITH YOUR SPOUSE IS A CHALLENGE MANY COUPLES WOULDN’T EVEN ATTEMPT SO HOW DO YOU MAKE IT WORK?
‘We can discuss business quickly, make decisions quickly and have ultimate trust in each other therefore can segregate tasks faster. While we have similar skillsets gained from our business advisory background, with UrbanBaby, Amelia does more of the creative side of the business (with our socials and photos) and Russell focuses more on the business, financial, strategy and operational side of things. The most difficult thing is keeping work conversations to a minimum during family time.’
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES?
‘As with many other business owners who have young children, juggling family and work is the biggest hurdle and one that needs constant recalibration. It has been a steep learning curve when it comes to building relationships with our media partners and influencers to ensure that we work with people who share our values because in our previous roles this type of networking was not required yet it is critical to the success of UrbanBaby. OMG probably the other thing is making sure our kids don’t take too many toys home from the warehouse! Thankfully, they are getting better as they get older but earlier on it took much vigilance to keep the pilfering to a minimum.’
WHAT ARE SOME KEY CHANGES YOU HAVE MADE TO THE BUSINESS?
‘We started using Instagram in October 2016 to showcase our beautiful products to a wider market and we have invested in a larger warehouse with a fantastic layout and floor-plan to increase our efficiency in getting orders out to our customers.’
WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS FOR URBANBABY?
‘We would love for UrbanBaby to be the first store that comes to mind when parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents are buying for babies and children. We would like our customers to be excited about the products we offer and always enjoy a wonderful customer experience from browsing our site through to when their chosen goods arrive at their door. We would like our customers to encourage others to shop with us and be comfortable that the person they recommend us to has the same wonderful experience as they do – every time.’