Rahul was working for a pharmaceutical MNC when he realised that little was being done to address a woman’s basic needs during maternity. He started Mommy Cuddle along with Rohit Mourya and Soma Chakraborty in 2018. Based in Kolkata, their aim is to make the lives of pregnant women and new mothers easier.
“When a woman is pregnant, she is faced with the dilemma of choosing what size will fit her and for how long. Moreover, since a majority of Indian brands do not cater to this segment, women are left with no choice but to buy expensive imported maternity clothes and goods. We resolved to solve this lacuna by creating the most basic essentials that they would need during this crucial journey,” he says.
Affordability and comfort a priority
Mommy Cuddle offers a range of utility-focused, comfortable maternity essentials for moms that are light on the pocket. The objective is not only to put their mind at ease, but also lend a hand in the overwhelming journey of motherhood. The core focus is to be of service to pregnant women and mothers of babies less than a year old.
Mommy Cuddle started with its flagship product–an innovative wearable baby carrier–and has been adding products to their portfolio as per market demand and requirements. Its other products include over-the-belly stretchable maternity leggings, nursing tops, and kurtis, swaddles, diaper bags, and nursing pillows. “Our premium cotton spandex fabric expands as per the changing body requirement and features a wide range of innovative designs,” says Rahul.
It also has quality control right from the sourcing of the yarns to the final packaging until it reaches the customers. The fact that it manufactures its products in its own facility enables the startup to offer premium products at an optimum price point. “Mommy Cuddle focuses on a niche and small number of products and we aspire to be a market leader in the maternity and new mother product range,” he adds.
WhatsApp to the rescue
Rahul says that maternity is a period where women have lots of doubts and are not always comfortable in discussing it with their relatives or friends. “Google is an ocean where anyone can get lost. Under these circumstances, we want them to stop stressing and connect to us instantly for any query that they may have,” he says.
Although their customers were happy with the level of personalisation and communication that they provide, the urge to constantly improve their services remained. They started using WhatsApp for Business in November 2018 for both supply chain management within the organisation and to communicate with customers.
“We wanted to be available to our customers in real-time but not be intrusive. There is no channel faster and more accessible than WhatsApp for this purpose” says Rahul.
They use WhatsApp to get quality specifications of their fabric approved between suppliers and the quality assurance team, update the end of stock with the team, print labels for final packaging, and so on. Also, women can use Mommy Cuddle’s WhatsApp integration to solve their queries. Their average response time through WhatsApp is 30 seconds.
The startup finds the groups and PDF sharing capability helpful.
“We have seen tremendous improvement in our systems and increased efficiency in our supply chain post WhatsApp adoption,” says Rahul.
Creating positive customer experiences
Their lead time for packaging has improved by almost 30 percent. Earlier, in spite of continuous training, their packaging boy wasn’t well versed with loops, and it used to take him a considerable amount of time to just download packaging labels and get it printed. With WhatsApp, the labels are readily available on the phone and the printout is ready within seconds. “This is just a small example and we have found tremendous improvements in systems and processes because everything happens instantly and nothing is held up for any approval,” says Rahul.
On how WhatsApp helped them create memorable customer experiences, Rahul talks about their wearable baby carrier, where size determination is important. Most pregnant women choose to order the carriers before giving birth so that it is ready when they come home with the baby. The problem here is that they don’t know what size will be ideal post maternity, and it is at this stage that Mommy Cuddle’s customer service comes to the rescue. Through WhatsApp, they reach out to customers and help them out with the sizing. “Close to 40 percent of people who order choose to reach us first through WhatsApp to confirm the size they are ordering.
“This creates a personal relationship between the brand and the customer, and we are always happy to do this because this reduces our replacement rates,” says Rahul.
Since 2018, Mommy Cuddle has been growing close to 20 percent month on month. Also, two percent of whatever customers pay goes towards the treatment of children affected by Thalassemia.
The road ahead
Mommy Cuddle expanded into Europe and the US at the end of 2019. Being a small business with a zeal to expand internationally comes with its own set of supply chain challenges. The fact that they offer premium quality products enabled them to gain the market share quickly and gave them the confidence to keep launching new products in these markets.
The startup plans to launch newborn kidswear by the end of 2020.
Soma, the chief designer for Mommy Cuddle products, says, “All our products solve a particular pain point for the consumers.” Keeping this in mind, it would be interesting to see what innovation they’ve got in store for newborn wear, which has been pretty much the same for several generations.