Coast mum’s clever solution to ‘crappy’ issue
A "CRAPPY" problem had Gold Coast mum-of-three and manager Kristy Ahrens searching for a solution, which turned into a growing business.
Ms Ahrens, who works as general manager of the not-for-profit Australian Amusements, Leisure And Recreation Association (AALARA), said she kept getting caught out away from home without nappies or wipes when she needed them for her children.
She consulted her friends and acquaintances who reported they had the same issue. Five years ago she began developing the concept that would become GoNap nappy travel packs.
Ms Ahrens, who participated at Pitch@Palace at Bond University on Friday, said the product is the world's first environmentally-conscious all-in-one nappy change pack, designed to fit into your back pocket.
Each unit has one biodegradable unisex disposable nappy, five-pack of biodegradable wipes and one plastic change mat/disposable bag. They come in three sizes: GoNap Infants (up to four months); GoNap Crawler (four months to two years) and GoNap Walker (two years plus)
"Five years ago I searched worldwide for an all-in-one nappy change pack and couldn't find one," she said.
"I patented my idea and spent countless hours exploring how I might go about doing this."
Ms Ahrens said she took a break from the business for two years before returning to the idea in 2017.
She planned to launch GoNap last November when she received her first product shipment from her manufacturer in China. However, her maternity leave replacement at AALARA resigned suddenly and she went back to work. Now, after a warm reception at the Pitch@Palace competition at Bond University on Friday, for which she has made it through to the boot camp phase in October, Ms Ahrens is finally ready for the official launch this September. She has lined up baby expos and advertising to give the product a big push.
Ms Ahrens said the opportunity is vast.
"The market is huge. About 3.75 disposable nappies are used across New Zealand and Australia each day," she said.
"There are 330,000 babies born each year in Australia."
The product is more expensive than single-use eco-friendly nappies, which retail for about $1 in larger packs with a subscription. A pack of 10 GoNap Walkers retails for $49.50 (inclusive of GST).
However, Ms Ahrens said, her product is cost effective because it contains everything needed for a nappy change rather than customers having to buy the wipes and change mat. Consumers also have the knowledge that profits go towards supporting charities.
"We have in-built our 'charity buddies' into the business so when you buy Go Nap you know you are supporting these charities such as Bravehearts and Young Care."
There are currently 23 stockists for GoNap including Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Australia Zoo, BIG4 Holiday Parks and Gonap.com.au.
Ms Ahrens said Pitch@Palace has given her a fresh boost of confidence in the business, which she believes can turn into a sustainable and viable business.
"The hope for any small business is to be your own boss."
Pitch@Palace was founded in 2014 by Prince Andrew, Duke of York, to provide a platform to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.