When 25-year old corporate lawyer Jessie Jarvie and her husband Paul were expecting their first baby, Jess didn’t want to read all of the commentary about whether women could truly ‘have it all’, she just wanted practical support to help her understand things like childcare options and budget concerns. Her employer Orion Health was listing at the time, meaning long hours at the office, and with a large mortgage, Jess and Paul felt the pressures mounting.
“I guess we were surprised at the high cost of childcare, and the lack of services that existed to support busy parents like us.”
A long passion for making parents’ lives easier
At the suggestion of the CEO, Jess spearheaded the opening of a childcare centre for Orion Health staff when her firstborn was only nine months old. Jess worked alongside a private childcare group, who already had two existing centres in Auckland, to create the charter for the new Milky Way centre and then handed over the care of about 20 under-fives to their expert hands. This new venture, conveniently located next door to Orion Health’s offices, not only provided Jess with childcare, but meant the company’s littlies could more easily become part of the fabric of the business, giving its working parents some of the support that they needed.
Off the back of this project, Jessie then started a consultation service with the help of the NZ Law Society to assist other women returning to work. It was a basic offering, with Jessie mostly gathering information and sharing stories, but the demand for her service was high.
“Almost half of kiwi women with children under 12 months are either engaged in the workforce or actively looking for work,” says Jessie. This goes to show that if employers don’t nurture and encourage women with children, they’re eliminating a significant proportion of their potential workforce. New Zealand is too small to suffer loss like that without noticing. Female-inclusive workplaces are proven to be more innovative, more enduring, have more competitive advantages and use available resources more efficiently (Goldman Sachs, April 25th 2013). It’s better for businesses to employ mums. So we need to support women back into the workplace when they feel they’re ready to return.
Working alongside these women was pretty inspiring, but Jessie knew there was more she wanted to do – parents staying at home full time were often even more time poor and lacking support than those who had returned to work.
Making baby supplies easy
Getting essentials out to parents fast: that was the thinking behind Jessie’s next venture, thebabybag.co.nz. Avoiding those niggly trips to the supermarket for what seemed like a never ending need for supplies.
“Everything you and your baby need, delivered to your doorstep. No traffic. No trolleys. No tantrums!”
Launched by Jessie and her husband Paul in 2015, the couple’s motivation was simply to make the lives of families better, easier and brighter. The Baby Bag is not just a service for working mums, it’s a lifesaver for those at home too.
“Stay-at-home parents struggle with work/life balance as much, if not more, than working parents do and often don’t get five minutes to themselves. Baby items are required with such high frequency, yet there’s so little flexibility in our daily routines as parents”.
Jess believed that The Baby Bag could make things a lot easier for young families by helping to reduce the “mental load” of parenthood.
Moving with the times
At first, The Baby Bag was just a one-off store where you could select from New Zealand’s widest range of baby supplies, including nappies, wipes, formula, food and pharmaceutical items. As e-commerce developed, The Baby Bag developed too - they now also offer My Weekly Baby Bag, similar to My Food Bag – you can set up a weekly delivery then skip, change or pause your bag whenever you like, and add or drop items as necessary. Technology is used to track babies moving through food stages and nappy sizes, so the system can then make suggestions accordingly.
“We want to eliminate the potential of getting down to your last nappy,” says Jessie.
What parents say
Kiwi parents have been loving the convenience of The Baby Bag’s deliveries from the get-go, but during lockdown demand for their services soared as the health and safety of supermarket shopping was compromised. “It was a pretty humbling experience - being able to deliver to parents who couldn't otherwise get their hands on much needed formula and supplies” Jess said. Many of these one-off customers have now transitioned into the weekly service, which consistently offers them Huggies nappies at supermarket sale prices. But it’s not just the low prices that keep parents coming back – it’s the service.
Rebecca says the service has been life changing for her, her newborn and her busy toddler. “Milk and now mini meals, delivered by a friendly (quiet!) driver. We change Ari's meal flavours to suit and nothing is ever a problem for Jessie and her team.”
It’s a simple formula…
And you’re welcome to try it. Simply create your bag, schedule your first delivery, then edit, skip or cancel at any time.
Need something urgently? The Baby Bag delivers around Auckland on an overnight service.
Get you and your little family sorted at thebabybag.co.nz