For this week’s Really Real series, we want to introduce you all to the incredible Katie Hanton-Parr . Katie is the founder of Baboodle, the UK’s first subscription based rental company for baby equipment. Baboodle’s mission is to revolutionise the baby equipment industry, making it more sustainable, more affordable, and easier for parents to navigate. Katie studied Architecture at Newcastle University and worked in the field for 12 years before setting up Baboodle after having her first baby in 2021. She currently lives in South East London with her husband, their one-year-old daughter, and a badly behaved cocker spaniel.
Cleannest Really Real Questions :
1. Where’s your happy place?
Clichéd as it sounds, I think it’s got to be just a lazy weekend morning in bed with my daughter and my husband. But also, obviously, a hot white beach somewhere. Or, even better, a hot white beach with some good diving, which is my all time favourite thing to do.
2. Describe your business and how people can find out more info.
I set up Baboodle on my maternity leave after finding that I was spending huge amounts of time and money sourcing baby equipment that was either never used, or grown out of within a few weeks. Buying new was expensive and unsustainable, and buying secondhand was unreliable and riddled with hidden costs (Facebook marketplace + Uber is a lethal combination). Baboodle is the platform I was looking for. My mission is to take away any unnecessary hassle, expense, or waste, while giving parents the best for their baby.
3. What motivated you to pursue founding a business?
I’ve always loved the (slightly idealistic) vision of running my own business and the freedom that brings. My mind’s constantly ticking over, seeing problems and day-dreaming up businesses to fix those problems, which is exactly how Baboodle came about. Maternity leave then offered me the time and the headspace to actually action it, with an idea that I really believed in. It turns out I was wrong about the freedom (evenings and weekends are no longer a thing), but the fulfilment I get out of growing something that I’m truly passionate about is SUCH a good feeling, and I haven’t looked back!
4. What’s one thing you’ve learned building a business with a little one?
You can get more done in 30 minute increments than you ever would have thought possible.
5. Do you think entrepreneurship can be taught / learned or is it a character disposition someone is born with?
I think ‘entrepreneurship’ as a character trait is a sliding scale. There are some people who were absolutely made to be entrepreneurs, and were clearly never going to do anything else. I know a handful of people like this and it seems like their business skill is completely innate, and not something they ever had to learn (although that’s not to say there weren’t learnings along the way). Equally, there are some people who thrive in a more structured, stable environment with a predefined path, and have no interest in the uncertainty and risk that comes with being an entrepreneur. And then there is everyone else (including me), who falls somewhere in the middle. Those who can see the appeal of entrepreneurship enough to pursue it, but require some level of active learning to optimise their abilities.
6. What’s the greatest achievement of your life so far?
No question - my daughter. But I’m also very proud of what we’ve achieved so far with Baboodle.
7. What advice do you think your 18 year-old self would give you that your current self should listen to?
Don’t think too hard, just go with what feels right. Don’t set your alarm if you don’t have to. And have fun.
8. Do you have a role model?
I don’t have one specifically but (and I’ll never hear the end of this) I’d say my friends. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by some kind, ambitious, hard-working, confident, inspiring people, and for almost every situation I have a ‘what would x do?’ solution.
9.What have you learned during pregnancy (whether about yourself, your partner etc) that you didn’t expect?
I learned my husband has superhuman reflexes with a sick bag.
10. Live to work or work to live?
Depends on the day .
11. Latest binge?
Buying Beverly Hills. So good.