Lara-Anne Derbyshire is the brand strategist at Boomtown Advertising. She is also the brains behind Brainy Baby, a beautiful, visually stimulating cloth for babies. It is selling like hot cakes all over the world now with orders from Switzerland and Italy! This is her story.
What is your role at Boomtown and how many years have you been in this industry.
I have been in the advertising industry for 10 years.
I have been at Boomtown at Boomtown for 5 years.
At Boomtown I started off as a designer, then moved into the role of a creative group head managing a team of creatives and now I work as a brand/marketing strategist.
What did you study?
I have my BTech Degree in Graphic Design and my BA Honours and a Degree in Psychology. In-between, I have done a number of short courses and aim to do at least one each year as I really believe strongly in life-long education and continually up-skilling yourself. And of course, I do love learning new things.
How did you come up with brainy baby?
I find myself always trying to solve problems or challenges and having completed my psychology studies, which included early childhood development, and understanding the importance of developing your mind & ensuring you stimulate the mind and practise good mental health even as an adult, I further reaslied that many new moms were not fully aware of the importance of infant visual stimulation from birth and what they needed to expose their little ones to or how. So, naturally I wanted to use my knowledge and my skills to create something beautiful, practical and something that would educate and provide a platform for sharable knowledge. Brainy baby became the creative outlet for that problem solving and the desire to design something for good practical use. So, putting design, practicality and psychology together and the idea of brainy baby was born. I put the brainy baby logo into the design of the cloth as I love the idea that this simple name in itself would tell people that this is for your child’s brain development – and the education would take it’s own course from there.
Tell me about your journey with this business?
This journey has been rather unsuspecting yet wonderful in how it has just grown. I had just five brainy baby visual stimulation cloths made up in March 2018 and the only reason I made 5 was for cost effectiveness – I didn’t really think that I was going to make any more and I was just going to give them to friends that were having little ones at the time – I just needed to get the idea out if my system … but when I got that first cloth I just got so excited and a couple of my friends saw them and thought it was a really good idea and so I started designing packaging that would show and describe the benefits of this as a “real” product and I then created an instagram page and one by one people started enquiring and giving really positive feedback and before I really realised it I had a brand on my hands 😊 From there is has grown, as has the range of products that I have added as the ideas have come.
How do you manage this and a full time job?
This question comes up quite a lot. And I don’t quite know how to answer it… I just seem to find the time (evenings, weekends, what else are they for – just kidding) – don’t get me wrong it gets pretty busy at times but I have Brainy Baby set up in such a way that in the evenings I am able to pack any orders I may have received and then I have an awesome courier company that is extremely efficient in collecting and delivering door to door nationwide so I don’t have to worry. I really just am fortunate enough to enjoy my job as a strategist and have my own little brand that I can have fun with and create with. Another plus is moms are usually on Instagram late in the evening obviously while being up with their little ones and this is when I get most of my queries and orders. So the two really compliment one another.
What has been the feedback on brainy baby?
The feedback has been so amazing. My favourite is when moms send me photos or videos of their little ones engaging with and responding to the brainy baby products and when they tag friends in some of my more education posts and they genuinely weren’t aware visual stimulation and what it does for a new born baby’s brain while they are developing rapidly in those first few months. I have also had a shipment sent off to a company in Italy to business that focuses on childhood development and just this week have had another order from a similar company in Switzerland. I have a couple of lovely baby businesses in JHB and Durban that also stock Brainy Baby in their boutiques or online stores. All of these connections have been made through Instagram – it has been incredible.
What’s next for Lara?
I have just launched another little addition in the for Christmas and the new year – The Brainy Baby Mama Planner. You can go and have a look and get a sneak peak inside on the @Brainybaby instagram page or Facebook page.
Any advice for budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to just try and use the God-given talents you have been blessed with because they will give your life real purpose and joy.