The Essential Parent Company

It happens quite a lot, some products that get tested for the Mother & Baby awards get nail-bitingly close to winning and then lose out  on the recognition they deserve. My gripe with the process is that each category is currently restricted to one Gold, one Silver and one Bronze winner. If the category is highly competitive, products can miss out on an award by the merest ‘nought point’ of a score.

In the Most Innovative Award, because historically it was picked by the editor, there is only one winner . Inevitably there are many products, that ‘mum’ testers have really raved about and say that they would definitely recommend it to win a GOLD but who lose out to another product that has been raved about just that little bit more. The reality is that anything that it gets onto the final shortlist could easily be a winner. What wins one time might lose in another occasion, just because one or two mums are a little more generous or critical, than some other mums in another year.

Here’s one product that came close to winning in three categories and judging by the rave reviews that tester gave it this year it would be a crying shame if it disappeared under the radar by not getting the recognition  it deserves.

This Essential Parent Company entered their ‘Baby Care Guide’s, 4 DVDs  focusing on Feeding, Sleeping, Everyday Care & Development and First Aid & Accident Prevention.

Screen Shot 2012-12-02 at 20.47.49

This was what some of the Mother & Baby testers said:

Nathalie: “Every mum should have one. It answered all my questions. I wish I had it with my first baby 2 years ago .”  

Rhiannon: “I already have a basic knowledge of first aid but this dvd reminded me of things I had forgotten and things they have updated since I did my first aid training. I think it offers a good knowledge of what to do if, god forbid, something was to happen to your baby or child.”

Michele: “I have this DVD in my laptop and have referred to it over and over in the past few weeks. Clearly indexed I can quickly look at the clips that are relevant to my query. Baby books are great but being able to ‘see’ how to breast feed etc is a huge help, like having someone there to show you what on earth you are doing wrong. I would say this is a must for any new mum and should be available on the NHS.”

Rebecca Chicot is one of the founders of The Essential Parent Company.

She has a doctorate in child development and parenting from Cambridge University.  Rebecca worked for many years at BBC Television in London making science documentaries for BBC1.  She was part of the team that made Professor Robert Winston’s landmark series “Human Instinct” which was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2002.  She is a mother of three lovely children and from her struggles with breastfeeding and baby care is passionate about giving new mums and dads the confidence to be relaxed and happy parents, and to enjoy the wonderful first few years with their baby.

This is her story:

As an expectant mum in 2002 I vividly remember browsing magazines and nursery shops looking for the Mother & Baby Gold Awards as a guide of what other mums in the UK recommended to the new mums on the block. Little did I know what went on behind the scenes to find out which products would receive the coveted Gold, Silver or Bronze Awards…..well not until 2012.

In 2006 my dear friend and colleague in the BBC Science Television department, Diana Hill had a baby boy, as did I.  She had struggled with being a new mum and had no family in the UK.  She saw first hand the need for visual baby care guides and realised that we had exactly the right background to make them!  We are fantastically honoured to have Professor Robert Winston work with us on the content and he kindly offered to narrate the DVDs for us as he believes that The Essential Baby Care Guide DVDs fulfil an important role to help support new parents and their babies.

It took a few years to get off the ground – juggling work and babies, and trying to find the time to work out how to make the DVDs.  We knew that to make something beautiful and watchable we would need a BBC sized budget.  A big break came when we won the South Cambridgeshire District Council’s “Step Up” Award for aspiring small businesses. Beating tough competition, including biotech companies and the like, the win gave us access to local accountants, offices, and lawyers. Soon after the win, the company finally found four fantastic investors, and production of the DVDs followed soon after.

We wanted to get the best experts and organisations involved.  We were used to this at the BBC but it was a very different ball game approaching the likes of UNICEF and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health as a mumpreneur.  Luckily for us they saw the value of what we were trying to do and slowly but surely we got on board.

We had the money to make the product and the people to make it with us but then we had to convince retailers to take the product.  Again, we were pleasantly surprised that John Lewis, Mamas & Papas and the NCT were impressed with our Essential Baby Care Guide DVDs and we were thrilled to be available in such fantastic stores.

However, at the back of my mind the Mother & Baby Awards were something that I was desperate to apply for.  We had no advertising budget, no PR budget but knew that a Mother & Baby Award would give new mums in the UK the confidence to try our unique product.

The process was intense, posting our DVDs all round the UK, full of trepidation as to what the tester mums would think.  When we found out we had been shortlisted we were thrilled, despite getting great reviews from mums, baby magazines and health care professionals we still knew that the vast majority of new and expectant parents still hadn’t heard about The Essential Parent Company or The Essential Baby Care Guide.  

The Mother & Baby Awards had the power to change all that.

We felt very excited to be at the Park Lane Hilton on the Awards night and we tried not to be too optimistic but had so much riding on the awards.  The rest is history, we didn’t win an award in the Best Breastfeeding Product or Best Innovation and I had to depart into the night and dash for the last train to Cambridge feeling honoured to have been shortlisted but gutted for the company and our future that we didn’t manage to win.

On the way home we discussed whether we could ever afford to try to enter again…the postage, the entrants fee, the awards ceremony…it really adds up, especially for a little company.  However, my mind was made up to try again once I received the glowing comments from the mums who tested our product. It’s a great endorsement to have managed to make a product that can have such a positive impact of many mums and their little ones.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s