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Interview with successful 'mumpreneurs' of ClevaMama

These mamas are quite literally 'Cleva' Mamas as the name denotes. We spoke with two entrepreneurial mums, and sisters, Suzanne Browne and Martina Craine who are owners of the international, award winning nursery and baby products brand ClevaMama. They gave a refreshingly honest account of their journey to creating their nursery brand, "ClevaMama" and 'wow' what an inspiration their story is.

Born in Dublin into a working-class family, throughout their childhoods Suzanne and Martina had many jobs- everything from selling vegetables door to door to waiting tables in restaurants. Their careers have been diverse with Martina’s being based in HR and Recruitment to the finance sector and Suzanne’s career background is based in IT and Banking. In 2002 Suzanne married and her first child arrived a year later in July 2003.

After struggling to source products for her daughter Suzanne and her sister, Martina Craine, decided to set up their own online nursery store where they sold third party branded products. Within two years the sisters recognised the massive potential for export and started to develop their own products, hence ClevaMama was born in late 2005 at the same time her son was born.

Known for their innovation, ClevaMama is now seen as a leader within the industry and is now exported to over 35 countries and 6 continents.

Why did you originally set up the ClevaMama - what was your inspiration?

"How ClevaMama came about isn’t too fancy nor was it very planned or thought through at the time, the fact is like a lot of companies our company started with an idea and casual conversations with my sister Martina & I at the kitchen table in Sept 2003 over a cup of tea and a few Jaffa Cakes. At which stage we seemed to be constantly surrounded by a relentless conveyor belt made up of babies, bottles, bibs, nappy/outfit changes and very little sleep.

This conveyor belt was occupied by my then 6 week old daughter, Lara, and Martina’s two babies, Hannah & Ben, who were both under the age of two years at the time (commonly known as Irish twins).

Like most new mums everything about my life changed with the arrival of my first baby and whilst I didn’t know too much about baby things I quickly began learning what the difference was between good and bad baby products.

At the time online shopping was growing in Ireland however options and choices were limited so, we decided it would be a great idea to setup our own online baby shop – how hard could it really be…..boy were we in for a shock.

Despite having many ups and downs within the first two years we quickly realised that if we were serious about baby products and growing our business we had to develop our own brand and unique range of products rather than selling other people’s products. Hence the birth of our very own Irish baby brand ClevaMama - designed by mums for mums in late 2005.

Today we are very proud to say that ClevaMama is now a global and trusted brand in over 40+ countries internationally. "

Do you have a vision for where you are taking the business in future?

"From day one we have always been very ambitious about our brand and future. Our constant commitment to investment and growth has meant we are now a well-established and trusted international baby brand.

Part of our immediate future is to expand more into wellness and wellbeing categories hence the launch of our new Air Purifier in the latter half of this year. Going forward our ambition is to make ClevaMama a household name and become the number one brand of choice for parents."

Awards are flowing...

And the two have strived to achieve over the last 15 years, as both Suzanne and Martina have won numerous awards in the nursery industry and Suzanne has won the Female Entrepreneur of the Year.

Both have gathered significant knowledge and respect within business networks and are regular motivational speakers at both business events and schools throughout Ireland.

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