Dhannya Sreekumar Reviews Baby Products To Show The World Mommy Power
- IWB Post
- December 14, 2017
A 10-year-old friendship has now turned into a business partnership. #bffgoals
Dhannya Sreekumar and Deepa Kamath met through a mutual friend, this friendship continued through storms and pleasant days. They both happened to become mothers and sought each other’s help during sleepless nights and through baby shopping maze. Arjun (Deep’s son) was born six weeks before Simran (Dhannya’s daughter), and while they were looking after their children, they also thought of starting a new venture to help other moms, as well.
Mommy Power was born when the new mothers saw the absence of a platform where valid information can be shared by parents, and be mutually useful to a whole community of moms. Products and services definitely made their lives easier but looking for the best ones is quite a task. So, we got Dhannya to share with us some quick hacks to get best for babies.
Being a mommy must have got you to do a lot of research for your baby. What did you find out?
I like to generally be prepared for everything. In the last months, I wanted to shop for all the essentials since I wouldn’t be able to go out once I had the baby. I started talking to my friends and creating a list of things I needed like clothes for her and for me as well. I always trusted the opinion of a mother. I was curious to know what they tried with their babies and whether or not it worked. That’s when I realized it is important to have a platform and know that there are other mothers out there using these products. Along with the products also come stories that help other parents.
Now we even have artificial intelligence, forget about getting natural products. In this synthetic world, how does one select the best for their babies?
Especially in India, there are no guidelines for the product manufacturers. If you go to the US or Europe, they have pretty strict rules about what should be used in child care products. So, I rely a lot on what has worked for other mothers. I also try and use natural stuff as much as possible.
How involved are fathers in such decisions?
From what I have seen, all the research is done by the mother since she is the primary caregiver in the Indian context in most of the cases. She knows the baby’s schedule, and that has an impact on what products she will be buying. Once the mother does her research, the father then comes in to speak about the financial aspect and what budget works for them.
Isn’t it time to change?
It has to be a very fundamental and structural change. What happens is, during their crucial pregnancy phase the woman is sent to her maternal home, and the father is not at all involved in the phases of sleeplessness, initial breastfeeding and things like that. There definitely needs to be a cultural shift if we have to get fathers more involved. In the generation before us, most of them were housewives, but that’s not the case anymore. Both husband and wife are working, so fathers should be involved very early-on, they should accompany their wives to all the appointments.
What did this decision to become an entrepreneur after being a mother entail for you?
I had a very complicated pregnancy. So, after my daughter was born, I couldn’t think of taking a 9-5 job easily. I had about 10 years of corporate experience, and I was trying to sort out how my career should move ahead. This led me to do something on my own. I thought there might be moms like me struggling to do their research as well and since I have the time and skill, I should put it to use.
It might have got really tough to do both.
It is tough. When you are setting out, you must have control over your day, but when you have a child, not everything can be planned. You need to plan things way ahead of time if you have to do justice to both. I have this awesome community of moms. We travel together with our kids and do few activities. I am also part of the women entrepreneur community that helps me out. So, these two communities have brought a little ease to my days.
How did you get moms trust a digital website like yours?
In the initial two years after having a child, it is challenging to commute and get good contacts to look after your child’s needs, so the digital medium is a better option. Also, other mothers are evolving in this digital world and being open to the idea of virtual communities. You know there are others like you who face similar problems, so trust is built. I have met a lot of mothers online whom I am now friends with outside the virtual world.
What are the perks of entrepreneurship that you think are not found in the corporate life?
I have definitely learned more in one and a half years in Mommy Power than in my 10-year long corporate journey. In the corporate world, you are working with big teams, and your work is very focused, but here I get to do everything. The growth rate is tremendous, I must say. I like learning things, and that is something the entrepreneurial journey has given me a chance to do every single day.
Do you miss something from pre-pregnancy times?
Oh, I used to be a planner. Now I have accepted that my day is going to be free flowing. You are doing most of it in ambiguity.
All right, let’s do a bit of planning now. Give us the list of your most trusted products for the first month of the baby.
Mother Care baby wash, shampoo, and all their aligned products. Baby body suits by Carters and Mother Care. I think these two have got a lot of good reviews from other mothers as well. I would vouch for them any day.
Share with us some tips while shopping for babies.
It’s essential to ask around and see what other moms are using. Secondly, look for products that can be used for longer durations. For example, if you are buying a cot or rocker chair, see if that can be used up to 3-4 years for the child. If someone is on a tight budget, they can look for yearly discounts. Many of the shops like Shopper’s Stop and First Cry have a sale every six months.
What is one mommy power you never knew you had?
Being comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty.
How different is your parenting style compared to your mother’s?
My parenting style is more research driven since it’s possible in today’s world. In my mother’s generation, they were relying more on the information passed on to them by their mothers which may or may not be right.