Cecilia Crossley, Founder & CEO of From Babies with Love and nominee for the Veuve Clicquot Special Purpose Award tells us what inspires her in business.
What do you currently do?
I’m the founder of From Babies with Love; our Parental Leave Gift Service helps our clients engage and retain working parents.
For many companies attrition of working parents, an experienced talent pool, is costly. Not only the cost of replacement, but also the wider impact on gender imbalance at senior levels.
From Babies with Love is the Social Enterprise baby brand that donates 100% of its profits to orphaned and abandoned children.
We send beautiful, ethically sourced baby gifts to our clients’ employees when they take parental leave. As well as the products, our gift bundles tell the story of the vulnerable children the employer’s gift is helping, connecting with the powerful emotions of parenthood.
Employees receive a beautiful gift and enjoy knowing their company cares about them, and less fortunate children.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
My mum is from Brazil, and every few years we’d visit my Gran and family, so as a child myself, I saw children living on the streets of Rio.
This has always stayed with me, and ever since I began my career I’ve been drawn to working with or for charities. I moved from the City to International Development charities, where I worked all over the world and learned about what NGOs do to help address global issues. Through this work experience I learned about Social Enterprise, businesses that exist to help solve social or environmental problems.
In my early days of parenthood I remember watching a children’s charity tv advert and feeling deeply moved. Becoming a parent fuelled my belief that every baby should have a fair start in life, no matter where they are born.
And from there I’m rather a cliché because I had the idea for From Babies with Love on maternity leave. Pottering around with a pram trying to get my son to sleep, I was in a children’s shop and I had the thought: what if I could buy a beautiful baby gifts and enjoy knowing the profits help vulnerable children, that would speak to the emotions I experienced, reflect well on me as a thoughtful gift giver, and make me feel that I’d spent my Pounds in a really positive way.
Who do you admire?
Dame Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop. Her creation of a successful business that works to address human rights and environmental issues is an inspiration. The Body Shop was one of the first companies to bring ethical products to the mainstream, having a huge impact on corporate social responsibility and social enterprise as we know it today.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
I think we always knew our products would help our corporate clients congratulate and connect with their working parents. We’ve learned just how much impact the story behind the gift has; employee feedback about the ethical gift choice by their employer has created a far more emotional connection and appreciation than I think we ever thought possible.
Looking back I wonder if and how we should have gone faster; it’s easy to say in hindsight I guess, and now we’re working on activities and resource that will keep increasing our growth rate.
What defines your way of doing business?
We donate 100% of our profits to the children we support, to us the children are our shareholders. On hearing this I was once asked; “imagine what your AGM would be like!” I replied, “just like normal with hungry screaming people!”
So far we support over 4,000 children around the world; we’ve become experts in designing gifts that add meaning and emotional connection, for gift giver and gift recipient, because they also help someone less fortunate.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Describe how your business helps solve your customer’s problem, and make that message the core of your marketing and communications. I read Building A StoryBrand by Donald Miller recently and it helped me understand how important this is.