This year on International Women’s Day we announced the inaugural launch of the Empow/HER scholarship grant. Alongside Saben and powered by The Icehouse, we invited female founded businesses to apply for a $10,000 grant alongside money-can’t-buy mentoring within the Saben and Dermalogica NZ head offices.
We are excited to share that after reviewing the applications of so many deserving businesses, and public voting, we are delighted to announce the first recipient of the Empow/Her Scholarship is Anna Barlow, founder of Mom Store.
Founded in January 2021, Mom Store has been an absolute labour of love for Anna. Personally curating the best of the best, the most trusted, loved + functional mum and baby products out there.
Whilst on Maternity Leave with her first child, Hugo, she found a gap in the market for a beautifully curated store stocking all of her favourite things - and so, Mom Store was born.
As well as business founder Anna is a Registered Nurse, Registered Marriage Celebrant, Reformer Pilates Instructor and of course a wife + mother! She wears a few hats to say the least!
We sat down with Anna, getting all the details about her business, why she started it and where she wants to take it.
Read Anna's Q+A below to find out what's next for the winner of the Empow/HER Scholarship.
For those people who aren’t familiar, can you tell us who you are, what you do and the business you own/run.
Hi, I'm Anna, mum to Hugo and Lucia and founder of Mom Store.
Mom Store is for the conscious parent. We stock a range of essential + luxury items for every parent from pregnancy, through to postpartum + the years beyond. Our focus is on products that are kind to the earth, sustainably + ethically made and that are of the highest quality. Our business has been founded on products that I've used and loved myself through two pregnancies + postpartum journeys and takes inspiration from my own children + the mothers and children around me.
What inspired you to start your own business? Did you always know this was the path you would go down?
Yes, I always knew I wanted to own my own business one day. Being raised by a mother + father who were self employed in their own respective businesses, I knew that I wanted to be my own boss one day. However, it wasn't until I had my own children that the path I wanted to take became more obvious. On my own parenting journey, I struggled to find a store that provided everything I needed, not just in products, but in connection and community as well. Our aim here at Mom has always been to connect with mothers who are like minded and also care for quality, kind-to-the-earth products. We take inspiration from the mothers who shop with us, and are proud to have grown to where we are today because of these incredible women.
Is there anything you know now that you wish you knew at the start of your journey as a business owner?
It's OK to start small. When I first started Mom Store I wanted to be the best + biggest brand in our industry [who doesn't!] and for a long time felt like that would never happen. However, over time I have realised that we need to walk before we can run and that organic + sustainable growth is important and more manageable in the long run.
Who is one person that has been influential in your journey that you would like to thank?
My mother. Although she passed away when I was just 12 years old. Seeing her lead the way as a passionate business owner of three businesses, as well as being a local district councillor and mother, proved to me that you can *almost* do it all. She taught me about being compassionate, driven and a fierce female leader who can absolutely do it as well as, if not better, than the men in your industry.
What do you see as the characteristics, strengths and/or skills that enable you to own and run a successful business?
I am a fully qualified registered nurse. I believe that this has put me in good stead for running a successful business as I am level-headed, empathetic, organised and mostly don't sweat the small stuff. I am also a mother to two kids under 3, which is challenging from a time-management perspective, but is where my purpose and inspiration comes from and has made me the strong and resilient woman that I am today.
Winning will mean that you receive a scholarship to an Icehouse workshop. Can you share what this learning opportunity would mean to you and the difference it will make and why?
This is such an exciting opportunity. The skills for me that I would learn through these workshops would be invaluable. I am a registered nurse with no formal business or management qualifications. As our business grows in all aspects, I am excited to up-skill in financial literacy, management and leadership in particular. We have a growing staff now and being able to deliver for them, as well as our customers is something that is especially important to me. We are also developing our own brand currently, so this workshop will be incredible for learning more about every aspect of our business as we develop this brand.
What's next? World domination? A new business plan? We wanna know!
We’ve been quietly working away on our own range of products for the last 6 months and we are so excited to take this to the next phase of development. The cash grant will be incredibly beneficial to help us with producing this range. We can’t giveaway too much yet, but if you’re a pregnant or breastfeeding mother - watch this space!