When MumsVillage launched five years ago, its founder, Isis Nyong’ o Madison, had just become a mother herself. Like most entrepreneurs, she quickly observed that something was missing. A gap so to speak. In her case, the strategist in her witnessed the absence of resources in the form of information available to young mothers. Hence, MumsVillage, a platform that started as a resource website, was birthed. She transcended the typical blog inviting mothers, both expectant and existing, populating her space with the resources she had struggled to find. Now, MumsVillage has grown into a robust community and entity, having ventured into e-commerce with MumsVillageShop almost precisely a year ago in 2019.
“We started MumsVillage because we found a gap in locally relevant parenting information and access to baby products online not only in Kenya but in other parts of Africa. We dreamed of building something that could scale beyond Kenya and have found the right partner to make that happen now,” says Isis.
It was against this backdrop that when MumsVillage announced their merger with BabyBliss, Nigeria, the two powerhouses and their dynamo founders would be expected to lead the mum and baby market. They have, as a result, established a PanAfrican double-whammy of an enterprise called Bliss Group Africa. The pair now offer unparalleled omnichannel commerce, community and content offering focused on mother and child care. Jika Nwobi, Founder, recognises that BabyBliss Nigeria brings deep retail and e-commerce experience in Africa’s largest economy and MumsVillage Kenya has proven strengths in building online communities and content for pregnant women and mothers.
“I’m excited to lead this new entity into meeting the changing needs of African women and showing that they are indeed a market that cannot be ignored. Bliss Group will leverage on our networks, learnings and reach to convert the financial opportunity that exists into reality by delivering not just greater shareholder value for our investors but looking to build a real powerhouse with women at the helm.”
Isis reiterates that “I’m excited to lead this new entity into meeting the changing needs of African women and showing that they are indeed a market that cannot be ignored. Bliss Group will leverage on our networks, learnings and reach to convert the financial opportunity that exists into reality by delivering not just greater shareholder value for our investors but looking to build a real powerhouse with women at the helm.”
The pair share the same values and mission: to become the choice mother and child care company in Africa. This they do by improving accessibility to relevant products and solutions, pairing parents with the best possible solutions for their beloved little ones. This stride elevates MumsVillage into a real e-commerce contender, leaving similar platforms to play catch-up. What started out being labelled as an industry of mumpreneurs over a decade ago – a term now flagged as cynical and patronising because they should simply be entrepreneurs – has helped grow the mum and baby market exponentially.
The global baby products market, for instance, as predicted by Inkwood Research, is “anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 5.09 per cent during the forecast period to reach a revenue of $25.82 billion by 2027.” Why is that, I hear you ask. Because babies are born every single day. Inkwood Research lists down the reasons as “soaring birth rates across developing countries, increased awareness of child hygiene, a rise in the number of working parents, especially women, increased spending power of individuals and growing urbanisation and changing lifestyles. Also, mothers will always want the absolute best for their children.
The mum and baby e-commerce opportunity currently stands at an estimated $2 billion in Kenya and $5 billion in Nigeria. Thanks to COVID-19, the e-commerce market has experienced explosive growth. What began as a trend has now become a behemoth estimated to grow at over 60 per cent in both markets. Jika further adds that, “they have recorded an even higher rate of 100 per cent growth in the past year.” This merger “presents a significant opportunity for synergies which will result in digitising the parenting journey and increased investment in innovation.” There is an existing audience across both multi-media platforms of approximately 300,000 pregnant women and mothers, buying online at extraordinary rates. The merger will connect choice and convenience to women on their motherhood journey.
“The global baby products market, for instance, as predicted by Inkwood Research, is “anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 5.09 per cent during the forecast period to reach a revenue of $25.82 billion by 2027.”
The Bliss Group will be co-headquartered in Kenya and Nigeria. Understanding the need to preserve both BabyBliss Nigeria’s and MumsVillage Kenyan heritage and presence at home, The Bliss Group commits to supporting each other’s online community and relationships created as a result. The agreement states that the duo will combine “Kenya and Nigeria operations, forming an outfit that creates a much larger distribution network, a strategic brand presence, enhanced scale and efficiency, thereby increasing the range and quality of baby products and service offerings in the markets.”
Millicent Muigai, Ag. CEO, Kenya, adds, “MumsVillage has been on a mission to empower women to make informed decisions through quality information and products they discover online. It is exciting that through this merger, the reach and combined experience both entities provide will enable us to provide a great Pan-African experience to African pregnant women and mothers to make informed choices for their family’s well-being.”
Meanwhile, MumsVillage solidly assures their community that, “The last five years have been an incredible journey for MumsVillage for our amazing team who have focused on serving our growing community of parents and partners without whom we wouldn’t have made it this far.”
“We are excited to share more about what we’ll be working on together in the coming months as we do have more up our sleeves. The possibilities are immense, and we are only just getting started.”
In their statement, ascending BabyBliss and its burgeoning team describe what each partner brings to the table. BabyBliss is all about “deep retail and eCommerce experience in Africa’s largest economy. What with their vast omnichannel experience, while MumsVillage complements their “strength in building communities and content online,” qualities that have thrust MumsVillage to the forefront of the mum and baby business locally. BabyBliss pledges, “While you may not notice any immediate changes apart from our collective exuberance, we will soon increase the range of quality baby products in the MumsVillageShop.” This will no doubt turn heads in the industry by illustrating just what is possible if you start as a one-woman army feeding the needs of the market.
MumsVillage concludes thus. “We are excited to share more about what we’ll be working on together in the coming months as we do have more up our sleeves. The possibilities are immense, and we are only just getting started.” They then proceed to invite their audience to join them on Instagram Live, 20 July, 3 pm they can engage with this trio comprising an all-African female leadership team.
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