Welcome to the 'My World' series where we interview an inspiring group of mothers, entrepreneurs and friends of Mamas Hospital Bag! We cover everything from motherhood, building businesses to the definition of success...

Kicking it off we interview co-founder of Mamas Hospital Bag & mother of two, Grace Quinn. 

Grace can you start off by telling us a little about yourself & your family. 

Sure. Home is a house in Dublin as of the start of lockdown 2020. I am from Kildare but have spent the past 16 years based between the UK and Australia. With a small business, two young children (3 and 1 years of age) and another on the way, it is an exciting but chaotic time in life! The pandemic has meant that my husband has been able to work from home, whereas usually he travels for work a few days a week, which has been terrific for us all, particularly with a newborn.

How would you describe yourself as a mother? Protective, loving and ever striving to be more patient!

What would you say are the greatest gifts you hope to give your children? The comfort of unconditional love, time and a healthy amount of resilience.

Motherhood isemotional, chaotic, overwhelmingly challenging on days and worth every minute! I am still very much enjoying the smallness of my children and their need for me as I know this phase won’t last for very long.

What is your memory of packing your first hospital bag? I remember feeling excited that it signified we were getting close to meeting our little one. The reality however was much more underwhelming! I had all these lovely new baby clothes and items I had long ticked off a list and yet packing for myself felt like a chore. I had made no effort to organise items which made me feel comfortable or good about myself and of all the times I needed some it was then! I remember thinking if I had come across a prepacked collection of quality hospital bag items I would have snapped it up. An idea was born!

What was your path prior to starting your own business and did you always want to be an entrepreneur? Not at all! Growing up with a father who was self-employed I saw first-hand the commitment, risk and potential reward associated with running your own business. Equally the satisfaction that could be gained from doing something which you were motivated by and the flexibility it could afford you when needed. Those factors started to call out to me more after I started my own family and had spent a number of years traveling extensively for work. For the 10 years prior to launching Mamas Hospital Bag I worked in the Oil & Gas industry .....a far cry from luxury retail!

What is the part of building a business you love best? As with every business, in the beginning you are doing a bit of everything from product development, IT, marketing, finance etc; and most of it a learning curve, which keeps it interesting on a daily basis. Seeing customers enjoy our product and the unboxing experience is obviously what keeps us going but for me it is the commercial side of the business and trying to develop opportunities which I get most enjoyment from. I would not classify myself as very creative and so areas like marketing come less naturally to me!  I also really love doing it all with one of my oldest friends and having her to share the highs and lows with is something I place a lot of value on. Besides the fact we both genuinely believe in the brand we are building and the need for our product in the market, it is without question a game changer working with someone who feels the success of every sale or piece of hard come by press as much as you and who you trust implicitly.

It has been an unexpected 12 months and particularly trying for younger businesses. What's next for Mamas Hospital Bag in the year ahead? For 2021 we are focused on continuing to build awareness of the brand both in Ireland and more further afield. Hopefully we will also continue to grow our corporate maternity gifts customer base, which started to gain a lot of momentum in 2020. We are also in discussions with some well known retailers - lots of exciting opportunities for the year ahead.

On a personal note can you tell us how you define success? Good question...I measure success by how happy and fulfilled myself and my family are. How to achieve this obviously changes over time but ultimately for me it comes down to liking what you do, liking yourself and having fulfilling relationships. But also sometimes success just means having time in the day to hang out with my husband and kids without trying to juggle something else at the same time.

Do you enjoy traveling and where are some of your favourite places to escape to? I love traveling and have been lucky enough to spend a lot of time abroad through work over the years and whilst living in Australia. France is always a favourite destination as we have very close friends there and it’s easy to get to last minute. Closer to home, Kinsale & Kenmare never fail for a long weekend and hopefully by the end of this year we will make it back to Australia to see my husbands family. Let's hope the world opens up soon!

Can you share an image which gives us a snapshot of life at the moment.

This room is the heart of our new home and centre of daily life at the moment. Since childhood, the kitchen has always been a multi-functional space for me, supporting many great conversations, celebrations, study sessions and late-night catch ups. Little did we know in the Covid-world, the practical functions of our kitchen would grow. Cupboards have become the backdrop of daily Zoom calls. Countertops have doubled as office desks. The floor, a site of unfinished jigsaw puzzles and crayon stains. It's early days, but already our kitchen has been at the heart of many new memories and achievements, not least the launching of Mamas Hospital Bag.  

March 15, 2021