StartUp Spotlight: Chrissy of Ara and Obi on Building a Baby Linen Company

Business

StartUp Spotlight: Chrissy of Ara and Obi on Building a Baby Linen Company

building a baby linen company

What does it take to build a baby linen company? In this feature, Chrissy shares her journey to building a baby linen company, her big vision and top tips to guide other founders. 


Why did you decide to start your business and how did you get your idea or concept for Ara & Obi?

Both of my children suffer from eczema and I found it really difficult to find bedding, sheets in particular that did not irritate their skin further. They were both really big dribblers and possiters. I wasted so much money on trying to find the perfect sheets and I really never found them.

What is your big vision for your brand?

For Ara and Obi to be an all encompassing home brand synonymous with sustainability, luxury, and value, with our customers at the heart of everything we do.

Please share the must have tools you use to make running your business easier and your favourite business resources?

The notes section on my phone, Google drive (everything to do with my business is there from products, to pricing, budgets, planning and invoices), I really like to keep everything organised so it’s easy to find. Google analytics is also a must have. I check this daily as it really helps with understanding interest and intent.

What has been your best business purchase or investment?

Joining a business network!

What’s a mistake you made in starting your business that you’d like others to avoid?

Thinking that I could do everything by myself. I can’t, if you try you will never be able to do something 100%. It’s best to outsource if you can. Alternatively plan your time in such a way that you can dedicate time to working on different aspects of your business, on different days or at different points in the day .

How did you approach finding suppliers and finding the right price for your product?

I was fortunate to know quite a few people with buying experience that I was able to ask when getting started. I was also connected with an agent I could ask questions from. However I had to also do my own due diligence. I spent lots of time (maybe too much) researching suppliers, their credentials, making sure they had the correct certifications and that these were still valid. When it came to pricing this was a mixture of benchmarking, assessing the product quality (after I received samples) and negotiations. However I was also realistic about how much I could afford to spend in the first place.

What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?

I love that I am working for myself on something that I truly believe can make a difference to so many families, as it has for mine.

What’s hardest about it?

Switching off and finding the balance with home life. I love what I do, and I love working which means that I find it really difficult to ‘switch off’. This may not necessarily be a bad thing, but I could definitely get better at it.

Comparing your business from when you started to now, what has been the main thing that allowed you to expand your business?

Being really focused on what it is exactly that I want to achieve. The route to getting there may change, but having laser focus on my objectives is really helpful for planning and strategy.

Looking back, what could you have done sooner to have got to that point quicker?

Stop overthinking everything.

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting, what would it be?

Just do it, do not overthink everything or you will become overwhelmed and may never start. Also reach out to people and ask questions. If you see something another brand has done and want to learn or know more about it, just reach out to them and ask. The worst that can happen is you don’t get a response and then you are no worse off anyway.

What’s your favourite money advice for entrepreneurs?

Forecasting and making sure you manage your cashflow. I always plan as if the money I have is the only money that I will have, this helps with prioritising your spend and time. When more money does come in, you have a clearer idea of your areas of focus.

How impactful or not has several communities or your network been to the growth of your business?

Very! No man is an island, and there is a wealth of advice and information out there. I have found more often than not people are always willing to share, and it’s a great opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others, so you don’t have to make them.


Thank you so much Chrissy for sharing with us! Check out Ara and Obi website to shop.

Good news: The UpWomen members get 10% off non gift set items. Sign in and access the discount code. Not yet a member? Go to theupwomen.com/join to see more about our community for ambitious women professionals and entrepreneurs!

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