Maternity business scoops three top awards

Published: Thu 30 Oct 2014 09:46 AM
Maternity business scoops three top awards
Cambridge-based maternity retailer Breastmates has had a stellar fortnight, having been recognised in three prestigious business awards.
First, Breastmates was named winner of the Online category in the 2014 TOP SHOP Retail Excellence Awards for the Waikato/Central North Island region, a well-regarded award focused on customer experience and service which is judged via a series of mystery shoppers. Next, the Clip-On Cami, a popular breastfeeding garment designed by Breastmates founder and director Franny McInnes, was named a Top 10 Most Recommended Product in the Oh Baby Awards. Finally, Breastmates has been named a Finalist for Retail Business of the Year in the Westpac Waikato Business Excellence Awards.
Breastmates founder and director Franny McInnes says she is “surprised, delighted, and honoured” by the acknowledgements, adding, “But I may need to work on giving better acceptance speeches!”
Franny is particularly proud of the TOP SHOP Retail Excellence Awards win, as its focus on customer experience and service reflects her commitment to her clients. “As an online retailer with customers all over New Zealand and Australia, Breastmates doesn’t have the physical presence of a store for my customers to visit, so I work very hard on creating a virtual environment at that is welcoming, user-friendly, and committed to giving my customers a good experience, showing them that they are valued and appreciated.
“My team and I endeavour to give the best service possible to each and every customer. So we didn’t make any special effort during the time I knew Breastmates might be judged by the TOP SHOP mystery shoppers. We simply continued to treat all of our customers, who are usually pregnant women and new mums, as if they were queens. I think that this is what sets Breastmates apart – I really believe that customer satisfaction is the most important aspect of my business success.”
The Oh Baby Awards, which acknowledged Franny’s Clip-On Cami as a Top 10 Most Recommended Product, are an annual awards programme presented by pregnancy and parenting title Oh Baby Magazine. Franny says, “I design my own maternity clothing range, with two collections each year, and therefore it is hugely important to me that my own product invention, the Clip-On Cami, has won an accolade from this prestigious publication. I knew that people loved it because it is a Breastmates best-seller and has received great customer feedback, but I am extremely humbled and gratified that it has been recognised by an industry magazine as well.”
The Westpac Waikato Business Excellence Awards holds their gala awards dinner on 7 November, and Franny says she was “very surprised” to be announced as a Finalist for Retail Business of the Year alongside Pak ‘n Save Te Awamutu and Waiere Nurseries. “I actually just wanted to attend the business workshops and have a day of mentoring provided by the Waikato Chamber of Commerce. I wasn’t actually going to submit the application – I was just doing it for the benefit of internal growth,” she explains. “They were very supportive, and I got so invested in the process, documenting all my systems, and working on the huge awards entry application that I decided to enter for the experience of it. It was such a surprise to be named a Finalist.”
Although Franny is thrilled by the honours, it’s her desire to support mothers that continues to motivate her. “I started Breastmates in 2004 with just $50 and one product on Trade Me, and now it’s a recognised maternity brand. With these three awards, I feel like Breastmates has been recognised as a credible business,” Franny explains. “As a mum of two boys, I know that pregnant mums and new mothers are often tired, time-poor, and in need of some TLC. I want them to know that they can count on Breastmates, and that I value their experience, both as mothers and as customers. I aim to make their interaction with Breastmates stand out as a highlight in their day.
“I’m passionate about motherhood and helping mums, and Breastmates is a resource and a community of advice, articles, and great products, and top service. I have so many plans, it’s hard to sit still!”

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