This week, we catch up with Bambino Mio’s head of marketing Joreen Singh to learn all about how she grew a marketing team of two into a department of thirty. Learn all about how Joreen helps Bambino Mio campaign for change, overcome internal challenges over the years, and helped build a brand that puts women and mums at the heart of all they do.
Joreen Singh: Bambino Mio are the reusable nappy experts. Our vision is to be the voice of purpose and sustainability in the baby category. The brand has been going for just over 20 years, and we’re best known for manufacturing reusable nappies, baby accessories, swimwear, and potty-training essentials. And ultimately, the aim is to help parents reduce their single use plastic waste.
JS: My role at Bambino Mio is Head of Marketing. I’m responsible for managing the day to day team of around 30 team members and driving the strategy across all of our markets and all of our channels.
JS: So Bambino Mio started just over 20 years ago, byGuy and Jo, who are husband and wife and they were travelling through India at the time and they met a guy at the Taj Mahal. Guy and Jo always knew they wanted to start their own business, so they got talking and this idea of reusable nappies came up, and about a laundry service. So when they got back home toNorthamptonshire, they set up a reusable nappy laundry service. And basically, they were dropping off and collecting nappies from people’s homes. That kind of evolved, and they thought there’s something here and there seems to be a bit of an interest. So then they move forward to start manufacturing their own reusable nappies, and that’s how Bambino Mio was born.
JS: When Bambino Mio started, it’s fair to say that we were ahead of the curve. No one was really talking about single use plastic, no one was talking about the importance of reusing products, so reusing products is a really effective way to reduce your consumption and reduce the amount of waste that you produce. And reusing really is in Bambino Mio’s DNA.
In recent years, the narrative around single use plastics has really heightened, we’re all talking about plastic bags, bottles, and straws, but actually, we don’t talk about nappies. So our mission really is to campaign for change, change the conversation and make sure that single use nappies are also bought into that debate.
JS: I never really had a clear vision or idea of where I wanted to be in 5, 10 or even 15 years and I think it was when I started working and I started seeing what I liked, what I didn’t like, what I was good at and what my passion points were, was when it started to become clear the direction I wanted to go into.
JS: I studied European Literature. That was kind of a whole breadth of things, obviously, as it sounds, European Literature acrossEurope but also philosophy, film, art, and it was quite a varied course.
I never knew that I wanted to go into marketing. That wasn’t something that I thought ‘I’ll go and study marketing’, but I always knew thatI was quite creative, and I always really loved the arts so it seemed like the perfect fit to bring business and creative together.
JS: Balancing work and home life is a really interesting question. And to be honest, at the moment, I would probably say I don’t do it very effectively. I think it is all about balancing and getting it right. I think during the time when we’re all at home a little bit more, you start to realise which way that balance should probably tip. I don’t have a family at the moment, I don’t have children, but I’m sure at that point, when that does happen, the balance will change and things would have to give.
JS: Having worked at Bambino Mio for 10 years, there were lots of different challenges that have arisen over that time. But for me,I would say most of the challenges have been more internal ones than based on external factors.
They’d be things like understanding that things aren’t ever that serious. You don’t necessarily need to take things too seriously or too much to heart. The other thing I would say is about just trusting your gut in terms of the decisions that you make. There’s been instances where you don’t always trust your guy and then it soon transpires it’s not the right decision, so I’d say that’s super important as well.
JS: From a technology point of view, where Bambino Mio are at the moment, is all about making use of some of the technology that we know works so well in terms of getting our brand in front of consumers, but conversations we have been having recently internally are things around AI, voice search, things that are around but brands aren’t tapping into as much at the moment, especially smaller SME brands like ourselves, so that will come as it rolls out. It’ll be interesting to see how things like that change the shopping landscape.
One of the things for our brand is consumers really need to be able to touch and feel and see the product. To make it tangible, they don’t always understand what a reusable nappy is. So is there something that would be really beneficial for our brand, from an AI perspective, to make shoppers seethe product, feel it in a figurative sense, and really understand the product before purchase because that’s a really big barrier for us.
JS: At Bambino Mio, there’s a large percentage of our team that are female, especially in the senior team, and that extends all the way through to the marketing department which I manage.
It’s interesting, because as you say, Jo, who is our co-founder is female, and I think with the nature of our products being kind of baby-focused, women really are an asset to our business, and mums in particular. They bring and add lots of value to our business because they use the product, they test the product, they understand the journey that our consumer goes through and I think that’s a really important point we consider when looking at hiring new team members.
JS: I’ve thought about this a lot, and in all honesty, no, there’s not really any women or men that inspire me. I think I’m more inspired by things that I see, or things that are created or happening. It’s not really people.
JS: I’m so proud of lots of things that myself, and the wider team have achieved over the past 10 years. If you look at where the brand was 10 years ago to where we sit now, it’s an incredible growth story.
I would say my biggest achievement is creating a marketing department from two people to sitting under just thirty team members, which is incredible. Being able to drive that forward and being responsible for that growth is really incredible.
The other thing I’m super proud of at Bambino Mio is the work I’ve done more recently. Over the last 18 months, my role has expanded slightly, looking at more business wide projects. So, working on things in the purpose space, in our charitable giving space. One of the projects I’ve been involved in is our global citizenship project where we’ve done some work out in Vanuatu. Vanuatu is an island in the Pacific, just off the coast of Australia, and they are the first country in the world who have said they’re going to ban disposable nappies, which is incredible. It’s very forward-thinking, it’s quite bold. We heard about this and we wanted to see how we could help so we’ve been working with a social enterprise, locally in Vanuatu, to help them manufacture their own reusable nappies locally so they can be a solution to a disposable nappy ban.
JS: The advice I would give anyone who’s starting out, or who isn’t, is don’t take yourself too seriously, and don’t take situations too seriously. There’s not much in business or in life in general that requires that level of anxiety or deep thought. I think that’s definitely the advice I would give someone.
JS: I love to travel and that’s obviously something that’s been hit really hard throughout the pandemic, so on a personal level, I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of great trips that I had planned. That’s definitely something I’m personally looking forward to doing.
To link that into Bambino Mio, we sell our products into over 50 countries around the world. Our team, anywhere that we travel whether it’s for business or for pleasure, we tie it in to try and understand markets a bit more, see what opportunities we can tie up with those trips, which is how our Vanuatu trip came about.
The other thing I’m most looking forward to is getting the team back in the office. By that I don’t mean, ‘let’s all get back in’ but, the team have worked incredibly hard and incredibly well during these challenging times and working remotely. We’ve proved as a business we can do it but there is something to be said for bouncing off each other and being in person and having those ideation sessions and collaborating in that way. So I’m looking forward to having some more of those sessions face to face with the team.