It’s a frustration that parents of infants know well. You’re out and about, and it’s time to change the baby. Now what? You never know what you’re going to find in a public restroom. Maybe, if you’re lucky (and a woman, because there’s almost never a changing table in the men’s room), you’ll find one of those Koala Kare changing tables. But do you really want to use that?
Those well-used tables are teeming with nasty bacteria, and in one study conducted in the UK, 92 out of 100 public changing tables had cocaine residue. There are verified reports of used hypodermic needles and push pins in and around public changing stations. You could use your changing pad, but then you’ve got to put it back in your diaper bag. Ugh.
There are other options. But the floor, your lap and the car all have drawbacks. But thanks to two RVA mompreneurs–and a little help from their Thrive mentors–an innovative product, Baby Change-n-Go (BCnG) is putting a lot of minds (and bottoms!) at ease.
“We were so frustrated, trying to find a safe, sanitary place to change our twin boys or a product that we could fit in a diaper bag that wouldn’t force us to place them somewhere we felt uncomfortable. But there was nothing out there” says Mahnaz Moosa, BCnG co-founder and chief executive officer. “So, we just sketched out a concept–on a napkin–of a hammock that would fit over the door or side of a bathroom stall. Then we began to develop it.”
She and her wife Brenda talked with safety experts, design engineers, child development experts and other parents to develop a unique product that fills a widespread, existing need.
“We were just shy of the product launch when I came across an email from ChamberRVA that mentioned Thrive,” Brenda says. As the company’s co-founder and chief operations officer, it was she who met with Thrive mentors and worked out the kinks in the production process. “The timing was perfect because they offered just what we needed, expertise in branding, marketing and helped us solve a range of other issues.”
Like many clients, the Moosa’s worked with several mentors on different aspects of the business. We caught up with two of them–Sarah Choi and Lauren Boynton–who helped the young company extend their reach and message.
“Baby Change-n-Go is a unique item without a comparable competitor in the marketplace and people really appreciate its benefits,” says Thrive mentor, Sarah Choi. “It’s been gathering national media attention and acquiring sales channels such as Amazon and Zulilly. I think it will become a household name and a recognizable brand in the US in the next two to three years, and be able to expand to other markets fast.”
Sarah audited their website, suggested a different platform and some content changes. She believed that an evolvement of branding would be helpful in enhancing the user experience and increasing sales, so she referred them to Lauren Boynton, a branding strategist mentor.
Lauren, the mother of a two-year-old boy, immediately understood the benefits of BCnG. More importantly, she understood that the initial brand identity was hampering their growth.
“They came to me with a specific problem,” says Lauren. “They had an innovative product but the brand did not meet the price point. A competitive analysis of touch points and benchmarking with other brands revealed that a new logo and a redesigned panel for the front of the box would give it a niche boutique, lighthearted (we are talking about changing diapers here!) and fun brand identity.” According to Lauren, BCnG has the potential to become a highly appreciated baby shower gift. “It’s new, hip, clean and fun!”
The brand continues to grow as more people become aware of the product. The mompreneurs are getting feedback from parents of special needs kids who need a product to fit their needs and from travelers looking for a streamlined version that works on a plane. Knock-offs are a possible threat, as they are with all in-demand products, but a utility patent pending should provide some protection as they consider expanding the product line.
“We were very fortunate to have found Thrive and worked with outstanding mentors,” says Mahnaz. “We wouldn’t have had such a smooth process without them,” Brenda adds.
But don’t for one moment think that all the benefits flowed in one direction. Every Thrive mentor who worked in any capacity with the Moosa’s feels like Lauren does. “They are just so cool, and easy to work with,” she says. “I had the best time. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!”