Mumpreneur and CEO of Babeecard Gemma Johnson of launched her prepaid Mastercard business in 2007 to help families save money on their shopping.
She set up the business when she was five months pregnant with her first child and had to overcome many hurdles including when her contracted call centre company going into administration twice in the early days of the business.
Today, Babeecard is an award-winning business (it won the Best PrePaid MasterCard Award in 2009 and 2010) and is giving the industry a run for their money.
Gemma tells www.motherswhowork.co.uk what has made Babeecard so successful and her plans for the future.
When you launched BabeeCard did you expect it to last this long?
Yes I did, I never go into anything thinking it will be a short-term experience, I knew the product would likely evolve over time but I always knew it would be a long-lasting service.
BabeeCard has been cited as the best top-up credit card against big financial giants like Virgin. What do you think has helped it become so successful?
We address a need and that need is for families to save money. When I first started BabeeCard, people thought I was possibly bonkers choosing such a niche market as pregnant mums, but that was only ever one element of our market audience – saving families money is at the heart of our business.
When we first looked into setting up our business, most other companies were looking at the migrant market, student market or the under-banked. I saw an opportunity to wrap the benefits of a card with a discount scheme and provide a service to those that needed to save and ring-fence (budget) during a time of family expansion and decrease in income levels.
Where do you see BabeeCard in the next five years?
We are currently going through major plans for huge product expansion, bringing other elements of money-saving and time-saving for families. I hope that within the next five years (under our new brand) we will be the first point of call for families who need to save money, connect with other like-minded individuals and gain support through our range of services.
What tips do you have for mums who are thinking of starting a business but are afraid to take the leap?
Believe in your product. You’ve got to have complete faith in your product and know that it is worth fighting for. All along, I reminded myself that the BabeeCard would be helping families to save money, and that motivation kept me driven.
It’s also worth writing down a plan of where you want to be in one, three and five year’s time. Putting a vision book together really helps me tune into the different steps needed to achieve both my personal and business goals.
And don’t forget all the brilliant networking sites out there for budding mumpreneurs â€“ they are a great source of inspiration.
How do you manage a successful business with the demands of motherhood?
- Finding time to fit in work and family is hard, and it’s important to find the right balance for you.
- Look at childcare that suits you and your child. Identify the best times for you to work, find the right childcare for your child and look at each day as a fresh challenge.
- In the early days you may need to work during the day or evenings when your baby is asleep â€“ many mumpreneurs start off this way!
Find out more about Babeecard at www.babeecard.co.uk.