To jumpstart the edition of ‘What’s your story?’, our very first guest is the lovely Pauline Lombaard, mum of two boys and newbie entrepreneur of baby care products under the name R&O With Love. I discovered Pauline while researching online and there was something about her merchandise that caught my immediate attention. This was followed by a one-on-one meeting on a weekday morning over a glass of chilled ice-tea to get to know her better.
Over to her.
So Pauline, what is your story?
Up until a couple of months ago, I worked as a General Manager at an elite Sports Club in Dubai. It was a monotonous life with my day comprising 70% work, 20% travel-eat-sleep and a meager 10% family time. I knew I had to replace the 70% work with 70% family time, just that I did not know how to do it. What followed this realization was a brief yet much-needed period of ‘soul-searching’. During those days, I remember reading a quote by the prolific author James Patterson.
Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you’re keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls…are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.
It was a life-changing message for me. Almost immediately, I decided to quit my job and become a full-time mommy to my gorgeous boys –Rhys (5) and Owen (1). However, as much as I was enjoying this new lease of life, it was not long before I realized I needed some form of income. This was for the little ‘treats’ I love giving myself from time to time; and I was (definitely) not in favor of running to my husband each time I received a payment SMS from the bank! It was this dilemma that prompted me to consider the idea of my very own business.
The Business idea
‘But what do I do?’ was the one, big question that haunted me for the next couple of days. I started by listing my strengths and skills:
- People’s person – so working with people was on my priority list.
- Pretty good with sales – although, I can only sell things I am passionate about.
- Self-taught designer– with a keen eye for everything beautiful.
For more guidance on this, I decided to visit my mum in South Africa – after all, she’s the one person who knows me inside-out! From then on, it was a matter of time before inspiration started flowing in. The law of attraction had begun working on my side.
During my visit, my cousin – the founder, owner and designer of the hugely-popular My Nesi brand of baby products introduced me to some vendors in South Africa. From dingle dangles, huggable elephants and swaddle blankies to baby planners, silicon teething beads and play pouches, their products were so unique and interesting; the minute I laid eyes on them, I was determined to share them with the rest of the world. And that’s when R&O With Love was born.
The mystery behind the name
My babies, – Rhys & Owen! R&O stands for bro’s, bru’s, china’s or in simple terms BROTHERS. And ‘with love’ is basically a guarantee that our products are of the highest quality ♥♥
Back on home turf, the next couple of days were spent in converting my business idea into reality – getting licenses, importing stock and most importantly, procuring customers.
As of now, R&O With Love has launched its initial range of unique and affordable baby care products. These include our signature cotton cuddle sheets in various prints, dingle dangle frames, cuddle animals such as the elephant and sheep, teethers and play pouches. To view and purchase these products, customers can log into our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/randowithlove/ from where they are re-directed to our online shopping portal r-o-with-love.myshopify.com.
Going forward, we hope to come with up with funky designs and curvy lines for toddlers up to teenagers. For a sneak peak of what’s to come, click here https://www.facebook.com/randowithlove/videos/1018340944902296/.
The popularity of R&O With Love products is not restricted to its uniqueness only. There are a lot of aspects that make us what we are. For example, our cotton cuddles are made of the softest cotton muslin besides being of a very generous size making them useful and multi-purpose. Our play pouches are activity mats which double up as shoulder pouches should the need be. The lovable chewy hippo is a 100% safe, attachable, sensory teething toy that will NEVER flake and peel. Last but not the least, our food-grade silicone beads are not only a perfect teether for young ones but a pretty necklace for the mum’s as well 😉
Honestly, I consider myself fortunate to be in a position to dole out advice to prospective businesses. However, for anybody who is inching to make a start, these would be my top-3 tips:
- Let your passion drive you.
- Set a solid business plan.
- NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK.
My favorite question: what makes you a geek?
I’m obsessed with designing – be it kid’s clothes, room décor or serious fashion designing. All this, without any professional degree whatsoever!
To contact Pauline or know more about R&O With Love, please feel free to email her or access any of her social media channels. Please be kind enough to shower some likes as you pass by!