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Monday, March 17, 2014

Bambiano - Aderonke Abiona #inthespiritofenterprise

For all my weeks of being MIA, let me bribe you with two entrepreneur showcases today! hehe. Let me also add ..... Engineers rock! #dazall *sticks tongue out*

Tell us about yourself

My name is Aderonke Abiona. I’m a Telecoms Engineer and Mumpreneur. I have a B.Eng. in Computer Engineering from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and an MSc. in Wireless Communication Systems from Brunel University, West London. I own and run Bambiano; Nigeria’s Pioneer and only Silicone Teething Jewellery brand. I’m married to an amazing man and we are blessed with two children who rock our world.

Tell us about your business

Bambiano is a fun new line of Modern, Practical and Safe products inspired by children for all age groups. Our goal is to make the lives of parents more convenient in a fun and innovative way.
Our first set of products include a range of soft, non-toxic Silicone Jewellery made for moms to wear and babies to chew on for relieve especially during their teething phase. It is the most functional jewellery any mother will ever own. As a mum, you won’t have to struggle to keep your baby’s hands off your jewellery, you’ll actually encourage it.

Some features of our Jewellery include;
  • Made with 100% food grade silicone (same material as pacifiers and bottle teats), 
  • Free from BPA (Bisphenol A), PVC, phthalates, cadmium and lead. 
  • Babies can hold it to maintain focus and comfort when breastfeeding. 
  • It’s a fun distraction for your baby when you are out and about
  • Great for Tactile sense development
  • Necklaces and bracelets will not break, scratch or harm babies. 
  • Beads are extremely light weight
  • They are waterproof, odourless, heat resistant and will not support the growth of mould or bacteria 
  • The necklaces have a breakaway clasp designed to separate easily when there is excessive tug and pull, so there is no choking hazard. 
  • Because the beads are around your neck, there’s no need to worry about them dropping on the ground and getting dirty. When dirty, simply wash them using regular washing liquid or put them in the dishwasher.

What is the idea behind the name Bambiano?

Bambiano is a name I sort of stumbled upon. Whilst brainstorming on a brand name, I thought of choosing the name “Bambino” which is Italian for “Baby” or “Infant”. I kept saying Bambino! Bambino! Bambino! But the name didn’t seat well with me as I felt it was restricted to babies and I wanted my product line to be available for all age groups. My daughter happened to be with me during that particular brainstorming session and she said “Mummy, why are you saying Bambiano over and over again?” I laughed at her mistaking “Bambino” for “Bambiano” but then I said to myself “Hey! Bambiano sounds good”. I gave her a Hi-5 and said “Bambiano it is!”

How did you get into this line of business?

Bambiano was founded based on necessity. Last year, 2013, I attended a family event with my Husband and children. The plan I had for my newborn son was to feed him and encourage him to sleep but as most mothers know, babies sometimes have a mind of their own. After his feed, he became restless and my layered pearls caught his attention. He tugged, gnawed and attempted to chew on them. I thought to myself “This is not safe! If the beads fall apart, he could choke!

With each attempt to withdraw the jewellery from him, he protested thereby drawing attention from those sitting close to us. I decided to take off the jewellery altogether and I handed him over to his dad. At that moment I thought to myself “I need to find something that will serve a dual purpose of being fashionable, yet safe for my baby to chew on”. I mentioned the idea to my husband and he agreed it was a good idea. Immediately after the service, I got into the car, took out my mobile phone and began my research. When I got home, I went into my closet, brought out all my jewellery and used them as inspiration for a line of soft, non- toxic jewellery that were attractive, trendy and most importantly, safe.

What are the main challenges you face and how have you overcome them.

The Challenges we have faced in this line of business range from Design to Production and Branding.

Designing the Products was a bit of a challenge because I had to put a lot of things into consideration such as material, cost, safety and functionality. Getting a refutable manufacturer to produce the products to specification was also quite tasking as I had to monitor each step of production, inspect them and ensure that quality was not compromised. At a point in time, I got so frustrated that on a particular day, I almost gave up the venture. At my breaking point, I received encouragement from the sales manager at the Manufacturing Company who said to me “The road to success is paved with setbacks”. I held on to that quote and that’s what has kept me going till date. I embrace challenges and use them as stepping stones.

Acceptance of the product was also and is still a bit of a challenge. Silicone Teething Jewellery is new to the Nigerian Market. We are Nigeria’s Pioneer provider of Silicone Teething Jewellery and with any new venture, it’s expected that people will be quite skeptical. Some people will ask me “Ahn Ahn why is it costing this amount, isn’t it just rubber? Or “why should I even allow my baby to chew on any piece of jewellery? We have had to address these issues by educating the buyer/user via our website. We have also included Instruction Manuals and Product Information in our Packages. Testimonials and referrals have gone a long way to shed light on the products. Those who have used the products can testify to its quality and benefits.

Another challenge has been manpower. I’m currently juggling the business alongside my 9 to 5 job as an engineer, being a wife and a mother. It hasn’t been the easiest thing to do but I find my way around it. I am also lucky to have a very supportive and encouraging husband who steps in when I’m at my wits end. He knows all about the business and helps with design approval and branding.

How will you summarize your journey so far?

Bambiano is a family affair. Setting up and running the business has been interesting, frustrating and fulfilling. My husband is my business partner and He is my biggest motivator and supporter. Seeing my children appreciate the products also gives me a feeling of great joy. Testimonials and appreciation from other users make it all worth it.

Where do you see Bambiano in the future?

I see Bambiano as a global brand known for the production of Modern, Practical and Safe products inspired by children.

Given another chance, will you do this again?

Oh Yes! I will surely do this again and again. 

Facebook: @bambiano
Twitter: @bambiano
Instagram: @bambianojewellery
Mobile: 08103076522 or 07080199235
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