Dear tiny baby…
Mumbai girl Krupa Shah opens up about her love for social work and her venture that deals in the import of clothes and accessories for tiny / pre-term babies.
Tell us about yourself.
I have always had inclination towards social work. I have worked for Advitya (a creative center for special kids). Post that I quit my job at Godrej and started teaching at a government school for 3 years. I was a full-time teacher at the Akanksha foundation for a while. My childhood has been blissful with loving parents and an extremely supportive elder brother. I lost my mother at the age of 17 and since then I have become closer to my family.
What is your venture all about?
I always had this urge to start something of my own. During that time I had a preemie baby in my family and also a close friend gave birth to one. This led to the inception of the idea of doing something in this area. Post a lot of research, meeting doctors and reading about premature babies, I decided to start importing clothes and accessories for preemie/ nicu/ early/ tiny babies. Thus, Dear Tiny Baby was born.
It is a first of its kind venture which caters to the need of these special babies. One interesting fact is that my elder brother was born a preemie. He weighed only 2.5 pounds when he was born. This gave me all the more drive to take my venture ahead with full gusto. My brother means the world to me. His story (it was difficult for preemies to survive 15-20 yrs ago) made me feel more connected to my venture.
Professionally, you have started your own venture but are you also involved in your family business? Can you tell us about that and what a typical day at work is like for you?
So since the past 3 and a half decades my family has been dealing with oil refineries and Indian Navy. We import sewage treatment plants, fire and gas detection system, push fit pipes and other engineering items. We used to initially only supply to our customers but now do installation, commissioning and after sales service too. We also provide AMC’s (annual maintenance contracts).
This business was started by my father and is now managed and run by my brother and me. I look after Admin, IT, HR and Accounts. He looks after Marketing, Sales and project execution. He increases business and gets in the money. I control expenses and save money. I leave my house at 8 am and get back by 6.30pm. I start my day with Hi- Point services work (the family business) and post lunch my time is reserved for DTB (Dear Tiny Baby). I do have a helper who does my inventory management. On days when I have to meet doctors or visit shops, I usually prefer to keep it in the second half. Basically first half for Hi- Point and second for DTB.
In the category of baby care and baby care products in India, what are the top 3 things you feel need more attention / development?
I would like to comment on the preemie section. As compared to the west, India is very conservative when it comes to preemie babies. It is almost considered a taboo to talk about them. Parents usually try to hide the fact that a preemie baby is born to them. Most of the time a mother feels guilty about it and blames herself. Being in the business the first thing a mother tells me is not to disclose her identity or put anything on Facebook.
Three things that need attention in my segment are:
1- awareness that now preemie clothes are available in India
2- not to blame oneself if you get a preemie baby. 60% of the reasons for delivering a preemie baby is still not known. Like the moms in the west who are ok about posting pictures and sharing stories, Indian moms should also come out in the open and not be ashamed of it. Remember, your story will inspire or help other moms.
3- preemie babies are the new normal. In the past people thought those who did not have access to good medical facilities or pregnancy care gave birth to preemies. But now a lot of affluent families also have preemies. Reasons involve - IVF treatments, late pregnancy, lifestyle factor- smoking & drinking, stress and early lifestyle diseases. These are some factors which are in our control and can be addressed.
What professional plans do you have for the future?
I am currently listed on Firstcry and sell via few shops in Mumbai. I plan to make DTB clothes available on other portals and sell on PAN India level. FirstCry has given me good exposure. I have been able to sell to several places across India.
What thoughts would you like to leave our readers with?
The whole idea of Dear Tiny Baby is to be a helping hand to preemie parents. As per a survey - 95% of preemie mothers did not like to see their babies floating in over sized clothes. Dressing up their babies in NICU gave them some sort of relief. The whole concept is not to increase business and wish for more preemie births but, to help those who are going through this difficult phase in their life. It would be great if preemie parents came forward and shared their story...