When I first saw kiki moon’s blankets while browsing the Internet for baby products a while ago, I instantly fell in love!
What really caught my attention were the lovely bright colours and the fact that the company was based in Ireland. It’s always nice to support and connect with other local businesses (even more so when they are owned by another mum).
The fact that they use 100% organic cotton and a European manufacturer are definitely other things that speak to me.
When we were expecting our daughter, we didn’t want to know the sex of the baby and I chose to knit her a blanket that wasn’t pink or baby blue. (Yes you heard right, I knit! Well… I did.) The funny thing is that the colours I picked are nearly the exact same as kiki moon’s blue and green blanket (see a picture at the end of this page).
But this article isn’t about my (not-so-great) knitting skills, but about Keelin and her beautiful baby blankets. They are truly a great gift for new moms and look at the care which is placed in every order. I asked Keelin a few questions about her business and products and hope you enjoy it!
Keelin, I know you must have told this story over and over again, but could you tell us how and when kiki moon was born?
When I was expecting my first baby Ethan, 4 years ago, I was buying all of the different baby products that you need for your first baby when it came to the baby blanket purchase, which is a special purchase for a mom. It’s what you wrap your precious newborn up in when they’re first born and what you bring them home from hospital in. I wanted something fresh and vibrant and gender neutral. But I found the Irish and UK market majorly lacking in imagination for baby textiles.
My background is mainly in business but I’ve always been passionate about design and some years ago I went back to night school to complete a diploma in interior design. I loved it and knew that this was a road I wanted to travel further. The idea just came to me in a lightbulb moment and I knew that this was a brand I would create myself. A fresh, innovative beautiful fun textile label that offered something completely different!
Was it difficult to find the right manufacturer?
Actually, it wasn’t difficult. It did take time, though. I knew I wanted to keep the manufacturing close to home. I quickly realised I couldn’t manufacture at scale here in Ireland, so the next best place was Europe. Portugal is a country renowned for its high-quality textiles so it was a natural fit. I interviewed a few manufacturers and started sampling until I settled on the best manufacturers who could bring my designs to life. I have a great relationship with them and they are only a 2-hour hop away which is important to me with two small kids.
Tell us what makes your baby blankets different from what we can find in Irish shops today?
Our brand and products are all about colour, quality and beautiful packaging. I know when you’ve just had a new baby you want to be surrounded by beautiful things! At least I did. You’re almost in a perfect little bubble and everything is shiny and new! I made these blankets with this in mind. We use really breathtaking colour combinations that are completely different to anything else on the market. We only use the highest quality 100% organic cotton and our blankets have been highly recommended by the Dublin Doulas and many other midwives as being very safe for new babies. (Mom’s with babies who have eczema love them as they’re so soft and non-irritating). Our packaging is simply divine. We have different colour boxes which we match to the blanket you order, wrap up the blanket in matching coloured tissue paper and include a matching gift card. Everything is coordinated to perfection! I’m really particular about that and I want the receiver of a kiki moon product to have a magical experience when they open the box, to help them celebrate the most special moment in their lives, the birth of their baby!
Your son was the starting point of your business and your daughter’s arrival coincided with the launch of kiki moon. Do they still influence your business today?
Yes, they do. I think because I’m a mom of 2 little ones I can really relate to my customers. I know their pains and their frustrations and what makes them smile. Because I’m at the very same stage. I know we are all in the no sleep/need lots of coffee phase and it makes it very easy for people to relate to me. People also like to know the behind the scenes stories, how I balance young kids and a growing business. We’re all juggling busy lives so we can all relate to one another.
What are your plans for the future of the company & product?
I have big plans for kiki moon. At the moment I’m in the final stages of the AIB Start-Up Academy which is a business accelerator competition. It culminates on April 20th with a big pitch in front of 500 people and the prize is worth €200,000 so it’s a massive opportunity for us. All of my focus is on that at the moment. From May, we are looking at proto-typing new products. We’ve had huge demand from customers for an adult version of the baby blanket, believe it or not! So we will start sampling that soon and look at officially launching it as a kiki moon home product if all goes well. We are really looking at growing the online store and pushing into new markets internationally. The UK is a big market for us so we may look at attending some trade shows over there. All in all a busy 12 months ahead.
Thank you Keelin!
(My knitted blanket)
While looking for a picture for this article I realised that I didn’t take any proper photograph of it. Onto the TO DO list :)