Maternity concierges have emerged as the latest new mum must-have as outsourcing businesses for busy parents continue to flourish.
From organising Pinterest-worthy baby showers to researching the best value prams, maternity concierges aim to take the load off time-poor pregnant women and mums.
Although the concept is little known, businesses in this niche say it’s only going to get busier.
“We’re seeing large growth,” explains Natalie Kilburn, founder of Sydney’s Belle Vie Concierge.
“Last year turnover was just under the $160,000 mark and we're projected this year to be just under $200,000. It's a real booming industry at the moment.”
Kilburn started her concierge business in 2015 and a year later, added maternity concierge services to her offering. It started when she began helping a friend whose husband was in the military and often away from home.
“They had a newborn and she was from the UK, and she didn't have a support network around her,” Kilburn explains. “I ended up gifting her my time to help with things at home. There are a lot of mums and women in the same position. And that's where the idea came from.”
Business surged once Kilburn began advertising at a private maternity hospital. She estimates 40 per cent of her work is performed for her clients before they have their babies and 60 per cent after babies arrive. The work includes decluttering, preparing nurseries and researching baby products.
Demand from grandparents
There is also strong demand from grandparents-to-be buying vouchers for their daughters or daughters-in-law.
“Grandparents tend to feature quite a lot actually, especially if they’re overseas,” Kilburn explains. “I guess we kind of step in their shoes and we're at the end of the phone if the mums need us to go and pick anything up, or they need more projects in the house being completed and errands run.”
Kilburn says a large part of her business success is owed to the fact that people, especially new mums, are increasingly shirking the taboo of asking for help.
“I think there's a real sort of perception attached to being a mum and that you wouldn't ask for help because you should be superwoman and doing it all yourself,” she says.
“I think as it becomes more of a familiar industry to people that perception that you don't ask for help and don’t outsource, will break down. To ask for help, especially for your home life, is actually quite a good management of your time and money really.”
Belle Vie Concierge services start from $130 for two hours. Kilburn currently employs two part-time "lifestyle assistants" and plans to hire a third later this year.
New mum Vanessa Fritz is set to launch her maternity concierge service, Bedrest Solutions, next week.
The business idea was sparked by personal experience after doctors advised Fritz to spend the remaining 12 weeks of her first pregnancy in bed. Diagnosed with mild pre-eclampsia, she spent her days feeling frustrated by her inability to prepare for her baby’s arrival.
“It is hard to ask for help, or accept help,” she says. “So my idea behind this was to help, not only women that were in my experience of having a difficult pregnancy, but also women who are working right up until the end of their pregnancy.
“My three target markets are busy women, first-time mums and women that are having difficult pregnancies.”
Fritz has spent $5000 setting up her business, including $3000 for a stand at the Sydney Pregnancy Babies and Children's Expo. Her concierge services will cost $50 an hour.
Although it’s new, Fritz says hiring a maternity concierge won’t be a short-lived trend.
“It's not like we're going to get any less busy,” she says. “And with women having pregnancies later on, there's a lot more risk, so they're more likely to have conditions where they might need to be on bed rest.”
If there’s ever a time when women need help, Fritz says it’s during pregnancy when fatigue is often overwhelming.
“Everyone I tell about the business always says, ‘I wish I had something like that when I was pregnant’,” she says. “I think people that haven't been pregnant might think that it's all about being glowing, having nice hair and being excited for the baby.
"But pregnancy is difficult even with a very easy pregnancy, so I plan to give people a helping hand when they need it most.”