It is frustrating when you are looking for products and you can’t get exactly what you ‘need’. Omo Yemi Stanley-Njoku is a mum and CEO of Tobi Baby Carriers who, being unsatisfied with the baby carriers in the local market, decided to make her own! In this interview, she gives us insight into her brand.
Tell us about yourself and what you do.
I’m Omoyemi Stanley-Njoku; an entrepreneur, a wife and a mother. I’m good at thinking, analysing, planning, organizing and executing. I am creative, with interests in colours, fashion, arts, crafts and writing.
There’s usually a unique story behind every brand. What inspired Tobi Baby Carriers, when did you officially start and what does your brand stand for?
When I had my first baby, I couldn’t find a suitable baby carrier in the local market. All I could see were crutch danglers with flimsy straps and uncomfortable padding. I needed an ergonomic carrier that would allow the baby to sit in an M position, like the wrapper, with strong straps and buckles and good, comfortable padding. Long story short, I decided to make my own. That’s how I started Tobi Baby Carriers. It took about 6 months to develop the product. I launched it unofficially on social media in May 2016, operating under my business name. In January 2017 I got investors and we registered a limited liability company. TOBI stands for Totally Outstanding Baby Ideas. We’re here to make parents fall in love with our products!
Tell us about the primary product of Tobi Baby Carriers and it’s various ranges/categories and what problem your product is solving in the community.
Our primary product is the baby carrier. We have it in the full buckle, the regular tying and the Mei-tai tying version. It’s comfortable for baby and parent, safe and very reliable. Additional features are the head support for infants or sleeping babies, adjustable from newborn to 3 years. With our carriers you have no fear for your baby’s safety. If you’re home and your baby needs to be carried but you need your hands free to work, our carrier is the answer. We also have an edge over the conventional wrapper: easy head support, hands free and discreet breastfeeding and longer hours of carrying with no back pain. Other products are diaper bags, breastfeeding covers, play mats and baby clothes.
What is the vision of Tobi Baby Carriers?
To be the preferred and trusted choice for millions of parents the world over!
Where are the raw materials and man power for Tobi Baby Carriers sourced?
All are sourced locally. We make the carriers here in Nigeria. The only item we import are our labels.
There’s a saying that goes “A tree does not make a forest”. Please tell us about your team and where they work from.
We have our factory in Lagos where we produce. I’m blessed with dedicated staff and partners who help to make the vision work.
In as much as we’d love to cater for everybody in business, we really can’t. This brings me to the question: Who is your target audience, and how do you reach out to them?
Urban dwelling parents of babies and toddlers who are image-conscious and want the best for their children. They’re active on social media, have a smart phone, run businesses or work in corporations. Our major medium for reaching them is social media and the internet.
No matter how ‘small scale’ a brand is, a lot goes into planning and production of its products. What is the concept behind the choice of packaging for your products? What does it take to produce and maintain this packaging?
Actually, our packaging is a work in progress. Our current packaging is based on market survey and feedback from customers. Soon we’re taking it a step further; details will be revealed when we’re done!
I saw some of your products and I must say I’m quite impressed an African, as a matter of fact a Nigerian, is treading the uncommon path. However, there are always challenges on our paths. What are yours and how have you been able to overcome or manage them?
They are challenges that are common to businesses in Nigeria; high cost of production due to power issues, availability of modern equipment, access to funding, sourcing materials, distribution, exchange rate etc. We do the best we can with the available resources.
When people see Tobi Baby Carriers, what reactions do you hope they will have?
We expect customers to love what they see and be compelled to get it for their babies.
What is the price range of your product?
Our baby carriers are priced from N7,500 to N15,000. On top of that we have accessories like the breastfeeding cover and diaper changing mat that go for as little as N1,500.
Is your product readily available or is it made based on request?
It’s readily available though we’re yet to hit our distribution objectives. We have a few higher priced designs that we make on orders.
Does the current exchange rate have an effect on your pricing?
Oh, it does. Although we source our materials locally, the exchange rate affects their prices too, probably because they import some of their own raw materials. Their end products are our raw materials! Also some of the accessories we use, like the buckles, are imported by the local traders.
Do you plan any promotions for your product? If so, how is the promotion of Tobi Baby Carriers done?
We do giveaways, discount sales and freebies. Mostly for special occasions like World Breastfeeding Week, Children’s Day etc. Aside from that we run adverts.
What are your future plans and how will it impact the society you live in?
We want to create jobs, especially for women in the local areas, foster healthy family relationships and reduce infant mortality.
Contact the Brand
You can contact Tobi Baby Carriers via their various social media sites: www.tobicarriers.com.ng
Twitter handle: www.twitter.com/Tobi carriers