Believe it or not, the Joonya brand actually began its journey as a social network connecting parents in 2014! With around 10,000 members at its peak, the birth of our second child slowed things down just as Facebook Groups was taking the attention of parents away from our site. We decided to relaunch as a baby products brand, and in September 2016 we went live with our first orders from the database of contacts we had built up in the preceding couple of years. Family and friends kept the wheels turning as we wondered whether we had made the biggest mistake of our lives.
We decided to start off in baby wipes, something that had become quite a talking point around the pros and cons of various brands. We knew what we wanted in a wipe because we had found existing options to be quite ordinary. Both our boys had quite severe nappy rash from using questionable wipes, and after speaking with various manufacturers, we knew we could design an effective wipe that had safe, non-irritating ingredients. After much research and testing various options, we finalized an ingredients list and turned our attention to the packaging. With the help of a fantastic designer, we settled on a style that would deliberately avoid pictures of babies and instead focus on appealing to the customers who actually bought our product – mainly mothers! We asked around and most friends agreed that having a pretty object lying around their house would be a real plus, and encourage the sharing of photos on Instagram which we knew would be our secret weapon against some of the older and more traditional brands.
As orders slowly trickled in during the first couple of months, we were still a long way off having a sustainable business – one that could you know, feed the family and that kind of thing. As 2017 turned into 2018 we noticed a sudden change – a couple of famous bloggers in the USA and Australia had picked up on our product and had posted about it to their communities – woo hoo! As the orders flooded in, we breathed a sigh of relief and thought to ourselves maybe this dream could actually become a reality.
Juggling two young toddler boys who were not lacking in the spirit department while launching a new business from the home is not the recipe for a calm household. We had moved back from living in Bali, Indonesia to launch our business and the pressure was on. Attempts to ease our boys into day care were not working, and we found ourselves taking turns at doing work while the other looked after the boys and tried to keep the house in order (fail). Something always has to give, and we can honestly say we probably did a poor job at everything, but we certainly tried our best. It was actually one of the hardest periods of our lives, as we felt rather isolated in our living arrangement, and we still had a lot of work to do to convince some of those who know us that we knew what we were doing.
As the business steadily grew throughout 2017 the trend was clear – our sales charts were moving up and to the right – the direction most business owners prefer to see. We knew with more time and attention we could easily accelerate that growth even further, so we made the dramatic decision to move back to Bali where we knew we had the help and support of the beautiful Balinese “pembantus” or housekeepers. It is now 6 months after moving back here and despite a lapse in focus due to Leanne’s father passing in January, a very sad period that saw us fly back to Australia for a couple of weeks, we are now back in the swing and looking at a big year ahead of us. Our focus is on perfecting our current offering (thanks for all your feedback), while extending it further to include Joonya nappies.
With the support of our engaging community, we are optimistic about the future and hope to be around for years to come. Small business is not easy, but its certainly rewarding when the customers are as friendly as ours. We love you all and look forward to serving you into the future!