MAY #MAMACRUSH: RENSKE
April, 30 2018
This month's #MamaCrush is Renske. She's one you'll definitely want to know (psst, if you know her, you get something free). Having a baby comes with a slew of challenges. In a sea of baby and new mama products, one of those challenges is figuring out which ones work for you. Sure, Mommy Groups and reviews are helpful but sometimes you just want to try something...for free.
While free new mom & baby sampling boxes are a staple in many European countries (yours truly had it when my babies were born in the UK!), nothing like it seemed to exist in America. Read Renske's interview about what she did to change that.
Where are you from?
I was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Currently living in Brooklyn. My husband and I moved from Amsterdam to New York 4.5 years ago.
What is your child’s name and age?
Can you describe her in a few words?
Curious, easy-going, lately pretty bold though...
Tell us a little bit about the work you do.
I am the co founder of Noobie Box, a free gift box for pregnant women, filled with samples & goodies for mom and baby, as well as a Noobie Guide with information & offers to prepare them for the next phase. We help women transition into motherhood by connecting them to the products & information they need.
(This photo of a Noobie Box mom features our Allette Donna Midi Nursing Dress in Marine Stripes and is curtesy of Stylish and Hip Kids Photography).
How did you get into this?
Coming from The Netherlands my co-founders & I were amazed that there wasn’t a similar concept in the US yet. While in The Netherlands, and many other countries in Europe, this is a tradition for years. We decided to do a test run to see if there was any need. The test was a huge success, and shortly after we had our first brand partners on board.
Why do you think this long-standing European tradition hadn’t been established in America yet?
America is 3x as big as Europe, so logistics is a huge challenge. To “conquer” America needs dedication: how can you reach all these expecting moms? We’ve been working for years to get our concept where we are right now. Our brand recognition is going up fast (this year 1.5% of all moms in the US will receive our box), but it will take at least another 1-2 years to become a household name among pregnant women.
What do you love most about you do?
Connecting brands with moms, and vice versa. We’re creating a win-win for both sides, which is very fulfilling.
On a daily basis I love meeting and connecting with a lot of new people. What I also love about starting and running my own business is the constant evaluation of what I'm doing, finding new opportunities, solutions and pivoting if necessary.
What are some business goals you still have for the brand?
Growth in terms of customer acquisition. Last year we sent 2,000 boxes on a monthly basis. Currently we have 5,000 moms in the US signing up monthly. Next year we want to grow this number to 15,000/month.
How do you manage your work and managing being a mom; this so-called “work/life balance”?
We’re in a nanny share with a friend - a female entrepreneur as well - who had her baby around the same time. Living a couple of blocks from each other, it made sense to do a nanny share. And it still does! The kids are best buddies now, and our nanny is the best. After Kiki goes to sleep I always try to get some work done, which doesn’t always work. Sometimes you need a break as well… That’s the hardest part about work/life balance - you’re thinking about work a lot, it’s not easy to turn off, but having the flexibility to work whenever you want is no longer an option.
What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
Watching my child grow up so fast. She's learning new skills every day.
What is the toughest part about being a mom?
Losing the flexibility to do whatever whenever you want. As a parent you’re constantly ‘on’.
How has motherhood changed you?
Not so much as a person (or I hope not, at least), but I learned to prioritize more, because of that same reason of being less flexible and having less time.
Since we are a nursing fashion brand... first: can you tell us a little about your breastfeeding journey?
Luckily the first days were successful, my milk came in pretty quick, it wasn’t too painful, and the latching went well after some practice. The hard thing about the first couple of weeks, or even months, was the time each feeding took. It took my daughter often 45 minutes to finish. (Luckily I had some nice Allette sweaters & dresses, so I could nurse basically everywhere without wearing sloppy clothes all day! ;)) Luckily she started drinking much quicker after 3 months. Then it got so much easier.
What do you wish someone had told you about breastfeeding beforehand?
That it takes so much energy in the early days & weeks to breastfeed. I wish that I was a little bit more prepared about what influences your production, and what to eat & drink throughout the day to stay energized.
Tell us a little bit about your style. How important is fashion to you and what are some of your must-haves?
A good pair of jeans, blouse or sweater with loafers or sneakers. Sometimes dressing it up with heels. Simple, but always with a twist - special color, fabric or detail. I like fashion a lot. Not necessarily following all trends every season. But I love beautiful, classic clothing.
Finally, being from NYC ourselves, we love hearing about what other mamas love about living in NYC with little ones. What are some your favorite things?
Music classes! There are so many great ones!
We also love taking her to coffee places and restaurants. Most are very kid friendly, and it’s great to see how many people in the city love seeing children.
Fun stuff: one word answers
What do you want more of? Time
What do you want less of? Emails
Favorite food? Japanese
Favorite time of day? Morning
Most attractive thing in a person? Interest in other people
Least attractive thing in a person? Self-centered
Thanks, Renske! We're not fans of self-centered people either (boo!). Mamas, if you haven't yet checked out Noobie Box, now's the time!