Keira O'Mara is the genius inventor behind the fab Mamascarf. A scarf designed to shield yourself and baby whilst breastfeeding in public or just generally out and about. Keira has recently been awarded the Alumni of the Year Award from Birmingham City University and she's going to tell us all about her brilliant product. Please take a minute to check out her website too: www.mamascarf.co.uk.
So first things first, tell me a little bit about yourself and your family?
I am 34, a mum of two (Sam nearly 5 and Lily nearly 2) and live in Birmingham with my husband Dan. I run Mama Designs Ltd from home around the family.
What's the story behind the genius Mamascarf?
I came up with the idea for Mamascarf following my own experiences of breastfeeding my baby as I was quite self conscious and always trying to cover up whilst breastfeeding but nothing was effective; blankets overheated him, scarves and muslins blocked my view of him and could fall or be pulled off. When I looked for a product that provided both discretion and support for breastfeeding and couldnt find one, I thought about doing it myself and Mamascarf was born!
Where there any struggles along the way?
There have been lots of struggles. I had no experience, a small budget and it has been a steep learning curve. I have been the victim of Intellectual Property theft with one company even illegally using my name. I have learnt a lot along the way!
Looking back is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
I would have launched Mamascarf at a trade show. I have seen other brands do this and I think that it is a great way to start big whereas I took a while to build up.
Are there any other brilliant inventions in the pipeline?
I am just about to launch Babasac a 2-in-1 multi tog baby sleeping bag with removable inner panels, so that it can be used all year round. I came up with the idea after having to buy yet another sleeping bag to take on holiday for my baby girl. I also have other ideas that I am developing.
A lot of mums would love to work for themselves or design their own baby product, what advice can you give them?
Setting up a business and launching a new product can be a extremely hard work but it is also very rewarding. You get to see your business grow and can have a great work life balance. I would recommend starting your business while still being employed, as this way you will still have a regular salary and aren't risking as much. It's hard work as in the beginning you will be doing two jobs, but longer term it is a sensible way to do it. It might be scary but it is the best thing that you will ever do!