Bottles and formula are out! So are playpens, baby swings, pacifiers, harnesses or any other mass-produced product that interferes with the parent-child relationship.
Born to Love was begun in 1982 in Downsview, Ontario and is now based just outside of Toronto, Ontario. Successful e-commerce business owner and work-at-home mom, Catherine McDiarmid-Watt, only carries and accepts banner advertising for products she would recommend as a parent, and post-nursing mother. In her unique online catalogue, she carries supportive, family-oriented Canadian products like cloth diapers and all the important accessories, fabric baby carriers and slings, nursing bras and other important nursing needs, patterns to make your own mom and baby items, environmentally-safe baby skin care and cleaning products, child-safety products and much more!
Catherine admits that this narrow focus has sometimes meant lost sales and even ad accounts - something a small business with occasional cash flow problems could ill afford.
But adhering to this ethic through thick and thin, over the course of 29+ years, has helped build considerable customer and advertiser loyalty. People from all over the world have sent for their free Born to Love catalogue, while 130,000 visitors stop by her web site each month - and most follow up with order after order!
The business was born, like so many others have before, out of Catherine's frustration. When her first sons were born, Jason in 1974, and Michael in 1977, Catherine had difficulty finding suitable products for her babies. She heard similar complaints from other parents at drop-in centres, toy lending libraries, and La Leche League meetings that she attended with her young sons.
A few months after her first husband left her in 1978, Catherine was on a single parent's outing in the Scenic Caves in Collingwood, Ontario. She had 18-month old Michael on her back, in a frame backpack. So uncomfortable from this ill-fitting baby carrier, she thought there had to be a better way. By the time she arrived home, Catherine had designed a fabric baby carrier, the Cuddle Carrier. This product went on to become the top-rated baby carrier by a Canadian Consumer magazine!
In 1982, with several years of success behind her in the Cuddle Carrier business, Catherine decided to expand into a print catalogue of her own designs. Having determined there was a great need for quality products, she also began researching Canadian manufacturers and contacting other home businesses, trying to find more of what she wanted. Aside from being family-supportive, the products she was looking for were not generally available through the majority of children's stores.
Catherine had virtually no start-up capital.
The business was started on a real shoe-string, she laughs. By selling advertising in the second half of her print catalogue to other home-based Canadian companies, Catherine covered the printing costs of the first issue of her catalogue.
Using her Visa card and grocery money, Catherine purchased fabric and began stitching up some of her original designs. After selling these products for a modest profit, she returned all the money made straight back into the business and slowly it began snowballing.
Catherine recalls with a smile,
In 1982, the catalogue's first year, I sent out roughly 3,000 16-page catalogues in which 14 brave souls advertised. She continues,
Now I maintain a 18,000 page award-winning web site, that has become the 'mecca' of diapering information on the web! Advertisers are scrambling to get their banners on her World-wide Diapering Resources pages.
This work-at-home businesswoman's dedication to her cause is obvious.
I figure I must be on the right track, Catherine says.
I wouldn't be growing so rapidly without lots of like-minded parents out there with similar priorities.
This article was printed in it's original form in the
Let's Talk Success column of The Home Business Advocate in 1987. The article has been updated for this forum.
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Born to Love articles are written by Catherine McDiarmid-Watt
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Last updated - February 8, 2017