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Be Bliss Baby: my first year in business

It was late 2018 when entrepreneur and new mum Tahli Watts was looking for cloth nappies for her daughter and was coming up empty-handed.

That’s when she decided to start her own business: Be Bliss Baby. Founded on an ethos of simplicity and sustainability, she’s put a modern twist on the traditional cloth nappy and combined them with eco-friendly materials.

The business has been such a success that, within just 18 months of launching, Watts decided to sell and move on to the next project. Here, she shares her journey building and selling a profitable business.

What was the inspiration behind Be Bliss Baby?

I wanted to use cloth nappies on my daughter, but after doing research on the Internet I was really confused about where to buy them and how to use them. The old cloth towelling nappies seemed to have disappeared and I found the new offerings were really overwhelming for a new parent. I just wanted plain, white reusable nappies and I couldn’t find them anywhere.

So the mission behind Be Bliss Baby was to be as simple and relatable to new parents as possible. It’s just a clean, modern version of cloth nappies – there was a gap for that in the market.

There’s a lot involved in turning a vision into a reality. How did you go about turning an idea into a viable business?

It started with sourcing the product. I spent a fair bit of time trying to find manufacturing solutions in Australia but I realised it’s just not viable and I didn’t have the cash to start manufacturing my own nappies. So I trawled the Internet looking for someone offshore who could help me make nappies, and who was also ethical and had fair work standards. That was my first port of call.

In terms of marketing the business, I did all the usual things like creating an Instagram and Facebook profile, but what I found really useful was engaging in Facebook groups. That’s something that’s becoming more and more handy for businesses – setting up your own group or being active in existing groups. For me, engaging in Mum communities was really great for getting the brand out there.

In addition to that, I set up at some local markets, which gave me the chance to show people the product face-to-face.

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As a new business owner, you’re really a jack of all trades. How busy were you in the first few months after launch?

I was a bit manic, to be honest. But I had such a burning desire to do it that I almost didn’t care. I’d work late into the night and every weekend, because I really wanted to get it going. It’s certainly not the healthiest way to start a business, but it was just pure adrenaline at the time.

What helped me is that I’d already started other businesses, so I could draw on past experiences. I knew everything about setting up a website, bookkeeping and marketing strategies – so I wasn’t having to spend time outsourcing or learning how to do these things. It was a different story for my earlier businesses though!

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in your first year?

It was the first time I was entering a market that already had players in it, so for me, it was about getting the message across about my point of difference. While I did have a unique offering, it wasn’t like my design was revolutionary. So I had to figure out how to communicate why someone should choose Be Bliss Baby.

Instead of going after people who were already cloth nappy users, I decided to hone in on expecting mums and new mums like me who wanted to use cloth nappies but didn’t know where to start.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?

The biggest lesson is new businesses take a lot of time, effort and resources. Unless you’re super lucky, a business isn’t something you can just set and forget. It’s rewarding and I love it, but it’s a lot of work.

You recently decided to sell the business. How did you come to that decision?

What happened was I’d started a few different businesses, and rather than doing one thing properly I was just doing a lot of things. At one stage there, I had four email addresses going every day! All you end up doing is diluting your energy and your skills.

So I sat back a few months ago and thought “Right, what is it I really want?” and decided to focus on my other business and give it all I’ve got. And the reason I decided to sell Be Bliss Baby is because I’d kept it profitable from the beginning – so from a financial point of view it was appetising to potential buyers.

How did COVID-19 impact the process of selling?

Fortunately, apart from the markets, I did in the early days, Be Bliss Baby is an e-Commerce business so it was quite easy to advertise and transition it all digitally. I listed it on the top ‘business for sale’ websites and waited for the inquiries to come in.

COVID-19 actually probably helped me a bit because a lot of people were looking for online businesses as they’d been put out of work. So it worked to my advantage in terms of the sale.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for business newcomers?

It’s a long game, so don’t expect instant results and don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get quick wins. Most people I know who are successful in business are either on their fifth-plus business, or they’ve been doing it for 10 years. So be eager, be keen and be as positive as you can, but don’t expect overnight success.

Are you starting out?

Starting a business is incredibly exciting, but there’s also a lot to get your head wrapped around. We can help you understand what you need in the beginning so you have the right tools at your disposal from the get-go.

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