Monday, June 21, 2010

Maple Ridge mompreneur makes it to Dragon's Den!

I had a chance to have a conversation with Maple Ridge mom and enterpreneur, Andrea Gregg-Aylott, the brain behind Nursery Naturals Baby Wipes, after she pitched her business idea to the fiery personalities on the popular series, Dragon's Den. To find out more about her business and if she won the dragons over, read on. (PS. Scroll all the way to the end of the story for a special offer!)

What is your invention?
ag: My product is a unique all natural baby wipe system! Our baby wipe sets come with an all natural Wipe Wetter Solution (chemical free), all natural plant fibre wipe tablets and a travel wipe case that makes using our wipe system convenient.
ubt: Dragon's Den hosts always ask how a product is "proprietary". How is your product proprietary, or is it?
ag: Nursery Naturals Baby Wipes is a proprietary product because there is no other product that we are aware of that combines a natural wipe solution with a compressed wipe tablet to form the perfect wipe! Not only is the wipe solution completely gentle for your baby, but the wipes are biodegradable and compostable as well.
ubt: When did you start your business?
ag: I officially was in business in September 2009 while I attended Douglas College’s Self Employment Program, with my product ready for retail in November 2010. It has been quite a journey of research and development, sourcing supplies and hiring graphics designers to achieve my vision for Nursery Naturals Baby Wipes.
ubt: How did you start it?
ag: My passion for natural products for babies began when I was pregnant with my third child. I had experienced some skin conditions with my daughters (eczema and more recently psoriasis) as well as my mother has battled cancer for the past 14 years, so I have always been concerned about the potential harm the products we use could be causing to ours and our childrens immune systems. The toxicity and carcinogen concerns come up again and again when you look at the packaging of baby products. That really scared me. I knew I had to use the gentlest and safest products I could with my little guy who was on the way. Through much experimentation for a wipe I was originally just going to use for my baby and my neice, I felt I had a product idea that could benefit other families.
ubt: Did you win Canada's best Greenvention?
ag: Nursery Naturals Baby Wipes was selected as one of three finalists out of around 600 entries for the Greenvention title, so in my eyes, that’s a win! But no, we were third place. Brett Wilson did comment that “for your impact on the environment, you are a winner” when he let me know I was eliminated. The response we have had since the show airing has been amazing, more than I could have ever hoped for, so that is a win as well. The exposure has been priceless for us.
ubt: What advice would you give to other moms who may have business ideas that haven't come to fruition yet? What are the top 3 pieces of advice you would give?
ag: The advice I would give to other Moms who have an idea on their mind is to ask friends and family for their input, do a small scale market research to see if there is a need and a market for your product or business. Then the next step would be to do a little self assessment: Can I commit to this idea, am I willing to work EXTREMELY long hours for my business, do I have the support I need to do this? After qualifying yourself, get connected with a strong business development team, whether it be former colleagues or formal college courses and seminars.
Top three pieces of advice:
1. When you are discouraged and down, think of your latest accomplishment to maintain your positivity.
2. Remember to take the time to take care of yourself so you don’t burn out!
3. Make family time your top priority!

ubt: Ultimately you didn't get buy-in from the Dragon's Den hosts. But did you find your experience on the show helpful? What was the experience like?
ag: Wow, what can I say! Actually, it’s a relief, because I am able to talk more about the experience now! Until the show aired, everything was top secret, I had agreed to not talk about the results of the show. The experience was definitely a once in a lifetime scenario: standing in front of 5 multi-millionaires to pitch my business! It was the most intensely stressful and intimidating experience I have ever had. As I waited to walk down the stairs, my heart pounded and grew more rapid as I walked closer to the dragons.

It was also exciting, exhilarating, emotional and fun! I would do it again I a heart beat, but I would probably do a few things differently. I would have answered a few questions better and I would have spoken up when Robert Herjavec wiped his shoe with our baby wipes during my pitch!

SPECIAL OFFER: Get $2 off a Nursery Naturals Baby Wipes Starter Set! Just input the coupon code "urbanbabydeal" at checkout. Expires July 31, 2010.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but I am not clear on how this Mompreneur did on Dragon's Den. Could you please clarify for me?

Emma said...

Don't apologize! It was my omission. She didn't ultimately get any investment from the Dragon's Den hosts. I've made it clearer in the blog post. Thanks!