8 Inventions By Australian Mums That Make Parenting Easier
Posted on April 20 2020
Some of the best inventions in the baby industry have come from parents themselves who were looking for a product that didn't already exist or that needed to be improved.
Back in 1997, my mum was one of those parents who couldn't find a product to suit her needs (an organised & stylish nappy bag) which inspired her to design her own and launch a business.
As a little girl, I thought that my mum running her own business was the coolest thing ever. I loved helping out on the set of the photoshoots and putting my very basic Mandarin speaking skills to the test at international tradeshows at the ripe age of 15!
Now that I am older, I have grown to have a big appreciation for the hard work that goes into being a female entrepreneur and the persistence it requires to create a unique product that provides a solution.
I have had the privilege of meeting other women that have created a first-of-its-kind product in the traditional baby categories. From baby sleep solutions to cleaning innovations, I'd love to share a few of my favourite Australian small business stories with you.
1. Travel Change Mat – Lisa Bennetts, OiOi
When she was pregnant with me, my mum Lisa Bennetts was inspired to design a new generation of designer nappy bags that were not “patchwork, dotty and character-emblazoned” and would keep everything organised. Combining her experience as an Oroton fashion designer and Swarovski marketing manager, in 1998 she launched the brand OiOi.
Lisa’s first design was an “incognito” black microfibre baby bag that included accessories such as an insulated bottle holder, change mat kit, wipes case, dirties case and stroller clips – something that had never been done before in the nappy bag market. Lisa’s brand quickly grew internationally as a market leader and this led her to design more products that combined practicality, quality and style including the very first travel change mat:
“Back in 2003, we were asked for a travelling change mat to match our bags. This was not long after we launched OiOi in the USA through an Aussie friend living there. She needed a quick grab and go nappy/diaper mat when dashing out instead of taking her OiOi bag. We designed a fold away change mat with the same quality and size padded mat with compartment ‘wings’ attached on either side when open.
Each ‘wing’ provided easy access to wipes/cream and nappies/diapers. One side was a PVC zip compartment for creams and wipes, with other side for diapers/nappies x 3.
What else did we need? Keys and purse/wallet – where do we put these? We added a large zip back pocket. To hang off the stroller, we added the wrist handle attachment.
We designed about 6 prints to match our best-selling bags at the time!” – Lisa Bennetts
Use the code OIOIORIGINAL for 20% off any Change Mat Clutch. Cannot be used with any other offer.
2. Swaddle UP™ Baby Sleep Bag – Hana-Lia Krawchuk, Love To Dream
Like many new parents, Hana-Lia Krawchuk and her husband faced significant challenges in getting their newborn son to sleep. These challenges lead to 18 months of sleepless nights and hundreds of dollars spent on products that simply didn’t work.
Trial-and-error and a mother’s intuition lead Hana to discover that her son Elijah seemed to sleep better with his arms up rather than wrapped against his body. Hana went on to read and research medical science and found that babies really can sleep better is they have access to their hands for self-soothing. This led her to use the put her fashion & textile design skills to work and designed the very first version of the signature Swaddle UPTM.
In 2009, Hana launched her patented garment that helps babies achieve longer and better-quality sleep. The unique Swaddle UP™ range fast became the leader in the product category and has seen the company achieve exponential growth. Hana identified exports as a strategic business objective early on, which led to the present-day distribution of Love To Dream™ products in 30 countries across the globe.
3. Soaker Strainer Bucket – Kelly Lavery, Strucket
Every parent is familiar with the practice of soaking your child’s soiled clothes, grimy toys or grubby bibs in a bucket. After leaving these things to marinate for an afternoon (or sometimes a few days!), it is time to reach into the dreaded dirty water to pluck your items free!
Mum of 3, Kelly Lavery, looked high and low for a solution which would stop her from having to come into physical contact with the dirty water in the bottom. With no luck, she decided that is was up to her to create one and thus came The Strucket – the world’s first strainer meet bucket soaking solution.
“The Strucket is your all-in-one soaking solution. It allows you to soak, separate and drain without ever having to touch dirty, soiled, chemical-filled, unhygienic water again. It is the perfect solution for sensitive skin and supports sustainability through reduced landfill with items such as disposable nappies.
With over 100 uses noted already, The Strucket, takes the strain out of soaking giving you back more time to spend doing things that make you feel good... like playing with the kids or showering in peace (cause we all know this is what Mums really dream of)!” – Kelly Lavery.
4. Baby Nail Trimmer – Julia Christie, Nail Snail
When Julia Christie had her first child in 2013, she was one of the many parents around the world who were concerned about cutting their babies tiny, delicate nails. At the time, no change had been made to the design of traditional nail clipping methods in over 140 years.
After having an accident when cutting her newborn son’s nails, Julia started to really question the safety of available nail clippers and this inspired her to set about creating a better alternative: the Nail Snail.
Julia’s 3-in-1 baby nail trimmer for babies and children, from birth to 5 years, offers an easier, safer and faster option than traditional scissors or clippers. Her unique design has won numerous awards and is sold in many pharmacies and baby stores around the globe.
5. Quick-Detangling Hair Brush – Jen Harwood, Happy Hair Brush
After a year of battling with her four-year-old daughter’s hair, Jen Harwood had enough of the daily struggle and worked with manufacturers to create a hairbrush design that would glide through the hair with ease. Jen developed numerous prototypes until she got it right:
“It is a scalp shaped curved brush that has a combination of boar bridles and nylon pins that actually DOESN’T HURT while brushing. No kidding, it doesn’t hurt, and it brushes through and gets the knots out and it’s simply brilliant on all hair types.
I tried it on Rose and she would not only sit still, she said it didn’t hurt and she couldn’t feel it (game changer). My sister and her kids loved it too. My Dad wanted one, the rest of my family did as well and all the mothers at the school wanted in on the action because they were fed up with screaming and complaints. The business started because I wanted to make a difference to mothers everywhere. Well, now that’s expanded to men, older people, babies, sensory people, disabled people, people with depression as well as our furry friends such as dogs, cats and horses. Anyone / any being with hair… we make their experience with their hair HAPPY.” – Jen Harwood
Use the code OiOi for a discount on the Happy Hair Brush - valid until the end of June.
6. BellyBelt Maternity Accessory – Christine Kininmonth, Fertile Mind
A former journalist with Channel 7 and Sky News, Christine first came up with the idea of the Belly Belt while she was pregnant with her eldest daughter. Rather than go out and buy a whole new wardrobe of maternity wear, Christine devised a way to get more use out of her current wardrobe. Her unique belt invention simply buttons into your jeans or skirt and allows you to continue wearing them as your bump grows.
When Christine needed $10,000 to fund packaging her new Belly Belt maternity accessory, she decided to raise the money by selling her car. Peter Hooker, an equities analyst turned up to inspect her car, and ended up buying 50% of Christine’s newly formed company Fertile Mind, thus raising her packaging funds.
The Belly Belt is now sold in 26 countries and has grown to become one of Australia’s most innovative and respected maternity designs.
7. Maternity Ice Packs – Lydia Lassila, BodyICE
A few years ago when Australian mum Lydia Lassila was experiencing tenderness after childbirth, her midwife recommended to put a frozen condom ‘down there’ to minimise the swelling. Once she got home, her breasts began to be engorged which prompted her to get a pair of her BODYIce bags and put them on her for relief.
These two moments inspired her to create the BODYIce woman range which includes a range of designs that provide cooling or warming relief for all of the sensitive areas – whilst keeping you comfortable!
Use the code BIW20 for 20% OFF the BodyICE Woman range until 31st of May.
8. Snotty Boss, Laura Klein
Laura Klein's 2nd baby had a very congested nose that always needed wiping! One day, she discovered a snotty nose aspirator and after lots of success using it with her own family, she was inspired to start selling them so that other families like hers would find a solution to snotty noses!
In 2013, her business Snotty Noses was born and over the past seven years, Laura has sourced more unique products that help keep little ones healthy.
At the start of 2020, Laura has launched her new product 'Snotty Boss' which is packed with new features based on feedback from customers in addition to two years of research and development.
Use the code OIOI for 15% off your 1st purchase. Cannot be used with any other offer.
Thank you to these incredible mums for sharing their stories and discount codes with us.
If you run your own business, we would love to hear about it! Send us a direct message on Instagram @oioi_global and we will give a shout out on our stories.