Back for Business after 17 years, the arrival of her child second signalled both the end of Grace Quinn’s 10-year career in oil and gas and the beginning of her journey as an entrepreneur dealing in high-end hospital bag bundles and gift sets for new and expectant mothers.
With the demands on her to travel internationally proving incompatible with her desire to remain near her family, Grace was already looking for a new venture when her experience in preparing for and having her first child started her down the road to forming The Classic Mother & Baby Company.
“I had worked in oil and gas for more than 10 years, starting in Australia and then in London. It got to the point where I was out of the country every week so I definitely wanted a change of career once I had kids,” says Grace, who moved back to Ireland after 17 years at the beginning of 2020.
“Covid provided a great platform for us and since then things have advanced a lot. Our products are now available to buy in Brown Thomas, Dublin and Cork”
“My idea for luxury hospital bag bundles gained legs when I was on maternity leave. It came out of my own desire for hospital bag items that were nice quality and functional – for the mother. I felt the focus was very much catered towards the baby with little available to support the mother at a time when she deserves to feel most comfortable and deserved of an experience, fitting for this chapter in life.”
Originally set up under the name Mama’s Hospital Bag, the company began by offering a full package of mother and baby hospital bag bundles, including toiletries and clothing, at various price tiers. Boosted by the development of an ‘unboxing experience’, centred around their popular keepsake hat-box, and the public’s increased desire to support Irish SMEs during the Covid-19 pandemic, the company has gone from strength to strength since its launch.
“Covid provided a great platform for us and since then things have advanced a lot. Our products are now available to buy in Brown Thomas, Dublin and Cork. The luxury end is where we position ourselves and from both a quality and aesthetic point of view, our product would be very much on brand for them.”
The recent rebrand to The Classic Mother & Baby Company was designed to better communicate the breadth of the business today and its refined vision for the future. It is a reflection of the business’s evolution and expansion beyond hospital bags.
“Over the last 18 months, the business has changed immensely. Our customers are people looking for something special for themselves or their loved ones. Due to demand, these days the business caters increasingly to the Mother & Baby gifting industry. We needed a rebrand that took account of that,” she says.
“Indeed, the most tangible external change arising from our participation in Back for Business is our rebrand, as the programme helped us formalise our refined vision. Internally, we’re much more efficient in terms of our processes, and that’s all from working with our mentors and meeting our goals across the six-month period of the programme.”
Are you thinking of coming Back for Business?
This is the sixth year of the Back for Business programme and there are up to 50 places available to support those have returned to Ireland – or are thinking about it – and have or want to start a business here.
The Back for Business developmental programme, which is funded from the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme, was created to foster and support entrepreneurial activity among emigrants returning to live in Ireland. The call for this year’s applications was launched by Colm Brophy TD, Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora.
Back for Business 6 will run from the end of January to June 2023. There is no charge for those selected to participate and the closing date for applications is Friday January 6th 2023.
Back for Business is aimed at those who have lived abroad for at least a year and have returned in the last three years or those planning to return in the near future. It addresses challenges that all early-stage entrepreneurs encounter, but also focuses on the additional barriers faced by those who have been living outside Ireland for some years
Participants on last year’s programme increased their combined workforce by 76% and more than doubled (107% ) their turnover during the cycle – despite the restrictions placed on businesses as a result of the Covid pandemic.
Those selected to join Back for Business 6 will take part in round table sessions, focused on goals and milestones, which are facilitated by voluntary Lead Entrepreneurs who have experience of successfully starting and growing a business.
This year’s Lead Entrepreneurs are: Hannah Wrixon, founder of WrkWrk, formerly known as Get the Shifts; Morgan Browne, CEO of Milner Browne and Enterpryze; Paul Duggan of The Gardiner Group; Seamus Reilly, co-founder and formerly of Critical Healthcare; and Thomas Ennis, founder of the Thomas Ennis Group.
A Back for Business Community is also being formed for previous participants, who will be offered workshops, review round tables and an annual Community Forum.
Those interested in learning more about applying for Back for Business 6 can download a brochure and register their interest in receiving an application form by visiting www.backforbusiness.com