In the lead up to the Essential Baby and Toddler Show, we're putting the spotlight on some of the exhibitors.
We spoke to Shane Pepper about his family's business – Plum – and balancing family life with work (he's married to his business partner, Eugenie, and the dad of Tommy, 8, and Chloe, 7). Here's what he had to say.
Tell us a little about your business - what sets it apart from others?
Plum is a family business and has been designing and manufacturing baby and toddler fashion for three generations. The business was established by my grandparents, Bob and Nell Pepper, and for many years was run by my father Rob.
My wife and I took over running the business in September 2011. The first thing we did was introduce the Plum Sleepbags and kids' swimwear.
We initiated a partnership with SIDS and Kids, the Red Nose charity, who are dedicated to saving the lives of babies and children during pregnancy, birth, infancy and childhood and supporting bereaved families. A percentage of Plum sales support their Safe Sleeping educational campaign, and Red Nose endorses the Plum Sleepbag.
How does being a dad impact on your career/day to day work life?
Being a parent of young kids and employing designers who are also parents give us the edge, as we have a deep understanding of our customer needs – we what's required and desired by parents for their children. Having my own young children has helped to know practically what works and what does not.
After our first baby, Tommy, was born, my wife and I – like most parents – became concerned about our baby sleeping safely, so I decided to develop the Plum Sleepbag. I wanted to ensure it was the highest quality and best designed. We wanted something that was easy to put on the baby, safe, and looked great with loads of designs to choose from.
What advice would you give to couples thinking about going into business together?
I work closely with my wife, so my tip is to try to keep work and home separate. Once we are home together we try not to talk about work and just focus on our family.
What should visitors to the Essential Baby and Toddler Show look for at your stand?
We're excited to show off the new Plum Pod, a zip-up swaddle bag. It helps settle baby to sleep, then allows baby to sleep soundly as it keeps baby arm from waking them through their startle reflex. It helps them stay cozy and warm and keeps baby calm and ready for sleep. Swaddling also helps reduce the risk of SIDS by keeping babies on their back during sleep.
We will also have our range of sleepbags and baby and toddler fashion and kids swimwear available to buy.
Plum will be at the Essential Baby and Toddler Show from 23-25 September at the Royal Hall of Industries and Hordern Pavilion, Moore Park. Click here to get your tickets to the show.