To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to identify a gap in the market and pounce to fill it up.
Of course, you shouldn’t take my word for it – I can barely rub enough coins together to buy stuff from the McDonald’s spare change menu. But Australian-born mum-of-four, Raegan Moya-Jones? You should listen to her.
After relocating to the US with her husband in 1997, and falling pregnant with their first child Anais in 2003, Moya-Jones was hit with a peculiar reality: the muslin baby wraps which are wildly popular in Australia were nowhere to be seen in the States.
For an Aussie, the lightweight cotton cloth was a huge absentee from the bustling baby goods market.
This was the perfect opportunity for the mother who had always, on some small level, believed herself to have “be an entrepreneur”.
“I’ve always had a desire to do something on my own,” the businesswoman told interviewer Guy Raz on the most recent episode of NPR’s How I Built This podcast.
“I had lots of ideas [over many years], but none that I felt it was worth diving in the deep end for.
“It was mind blowing to me that when I went looking for [muslin blankets] in the US, they didn’t actually exist,” she said.
The many ways you can use muslin cloth – as a swaddle blanket, as a crib sheet, as a nursing cover – made the fabric a must-have for American women.
“I was 100 per cent that they would respond to it the same way us Aussies had,” Moya-Jones said.
But it wouldn’t be a straight-forward, easy road to business success. Quite the opposite, actually.
“I had no supply chain, or operational experience or knowledge. I’m a salesperson. I had to find out how I would even go about making this stuff, and that took a long time. So I had the idea in 2003 when Anais was born and it took until 2006 to actually work out how to make it and get it to market.”
Moya-Jones joined forces with then-close friend, Claudia Schwartz, who co-founded the business with her. The name they settled on? Aden + Anais, the names of their two children.
These blankets wouldn’t be exactly like the Australian variations, though. Moya-Jones was defiant their products would be aesthetically beautiful and softer than the muslin wraps back home.
After hiring a freelance artist to design the prints, and finding the perfect supplier at a design exhibition, Aden + Anais was born.
“There was a myriad of back and forth in terms of getting the quality to where I wanted it… I worked with the factories over the years on how to wash it, what to put in the wash to make it soft and, obviously as a mum, I wouldn’t let them use anything that was in anyway [dangerous on children’s skin],” Moya-Jones said.