Name: Jo Schanschieff
Husband: Co-Founder of Bambino Mio, Guy Schanschieff.
Children: Florence, 16, Charlie, 13 and Hannah, 7.
Previous Career: n/a
What is the name and nature of your business?
Bambino Mio are one of the market leaders in the reusable nappy industry, committed to developing products which are better for you, your baby and your environment. Having won over 50 awards since the company began in 1997; Bambino Mio is a popular choice for parents, available in over 70 countries worldwide. Bambino Mio has an award-winning range of products including two reusable nappy systems, accessories, swim and potty training essentials.
What inspired you to start it?
It all started in 1991; my husband Guy and I were travelling through India where we met an American at the Taj Mahal. We just got talking about a reusable nappy laundry service that was offered in New York and that was it; the seed of an idea was sown.
Also, once you become a parent you suddenly reassess the way you look at the world and how you impact upon it and when raising a child, your impact on the environment suddenly becomes more important as you look to the next generation so manufacturing environmentally friendly products which make a significant contribution to waste reduction and one’s overall environmental impact is a perfect fit.
How did you get everything up and running?
We started small, in a back bedroom at home, and it grew slowly. Most of our initial business was mail order which gave us a greater financial and operational control. As the customer base grew and we started selling more to independent and national stores, we were then able to move into premises and start employing staff.
How does it fit in with family life?
I am very lucky; having your own business allows you the flexibility which most parents desire. I am still able to attend school plays, concerts and matches and am able to make the hours work around me and my children. However, I have had to improvise many times, having often worked with a baby monitor on my desk during the early years of the business.
Biggest learning curve so far?
Learning to separate work from home life. Because I work every day with my husband, Guy there is always the temptation to continue talking about work things even when we get home. Discussing staffing issues or the budget for the next quarter, for example, is not good at the dinner table.
Most positive experience?
It has never changed from the beginning and that is seeing a baby in a Bambino Mio nappy and being told by their mum how fab they are. Knowing that you have done something good for that person and that you have also contributed to reducing waste going into landfill is a great experience.
Where would you like to be in five years time?
I would like to see the business continue to flourish and would like to continue to be part of that. There are lots of exciting new opportunities for the Bambino Mio brand in UK and around the world, so who knows where we’ll be, but I’m looking forward to it.
What advice would you give to other mothers hoping to combine motherhood with a new business idea?
You have to be adaptable. There can’t be any hard and fast rules, otherwise you feel like you’re failing at everything all of the time. You have to make it work; even if that means squeezing a few hours in once the children are in bed!