Anyone parent and parent-to-be is likely to know what it is like to prepare for a new baby. The preparation alone can be tiring but the cost isn’t much better. Babies tend to be expensive but, thanks to a website called BabySteals.com, new parents and parents-to-be simply need to visit the website at 9am every weekday for the lastest “steal”. Why 9am? Because that is the moment the virtual doors open and sometimes the products, especially the best deals, can sell out fast.
If you thought the steals would stop at just babies, you’re wrong. Jana Francis, the founder of BabySteals.com, has some other niche deal of the day websites in the works. Anyone who enjoys scrapbooking should keep their eye on ScrapbookSteals.com, while parents of children between the ages of 2-8 can expect their own steals in the future.
Would you mind telling us a little about BabySteals.com?
BabySteals.com is the first deal of the day website offering daily deals on baby and maternity products, and has become a 9am MST internet obsession for tens of thousands of moms in the US and Canada! BabySteals.com lists one item per day until it sells out. Each item is listed at 9am MST.
What was your inspiration?
I am an obsessive deal-hunter. I very rarely pay full price for anything except True Religion Jeans and Bobbi Brown foundation. I know when and where to get the best deals, but I despise brick-and mortar shopping. Who has the time! I’m a complete Internet nerd and I have always hunted relentlessly online for screaming deals. There wasn’t many deal-shopping websites out there I could find that really targeted and focused solely on moms and the products they love buying! I knew there was a place in the market for a website focused on products for babies and kids at big discounts. My profession has always been sales, marketing and advertising, with a true online and social media marketing focus. So BabySteals.com was born as a way to combine my obsession with my profession!
What is it about BabySteals.com that you feel helps separate you from the competition?
To start, all orders are shipped the same day and very often within an hour of purchasing if not sooner. Also, we’re always “live” behind the site. This means we answer emails and questions extremely fast if not immediately.
Do you ever “recycle” old deals on a different day so people who might have missed it once can catch it later?
Yes, that is what “Second Chance Saturday” or “Second Chance Sunday” is all about! Normally items from the past that we still have remaining stock in are featured on the weekend. Most of the time because I purchased enough to fill a weekend date.
Do you have a purchase limit on the daily deals you offer?
Yes, we limit the per-item purchase to three per user. This makes enough ‘stealing’ to go around for everyone. Assuming they show up when the e-doors open at 9am.
Have you always had an interest in starting your own business?
Not necessarily, I just wanted to find something that allowed me to work-at-home so I could be with my children more, and have the flexibility I needed to be present for them. I was not able to find this in the corporate world, so I created it.
How long did it take for you to build BabySteals.com from idea to launch?
I started researching seriously at the end of 2006, and thought about it daily for about 6 months until the “BabySteals” name came in to my head at 3am one night. That spurred additional planning and research until our launch in April 2008. Such a big project was daunting for me given that I had a family and a full-time career. So I broke it down into small steps, each day getting me strategically closer to the end goal.
When you had a question, whether it was while you were building your business or after you launched, where did you go to get your answers? (any specific people, websites, books, etc. that might have proved to be invaluable to you…) Good question, fortunately or unfortunately there really wasn’t a ‘manual’ for starting your own ecommerce site in the way that I did. Luckily, I have an amazing business partner that has a tremendous skillset in ecommerce and online marketing and seems to always have the answer to anything I can’t answer myself!
What were some of the things you learned?
It’s truly incredible how much I’ve learned since starting this business. You really do need to be a jack-of-all-trades of sorts and have various experience and skills in many facets from marketing, online marketing, buying, sales, ecommerce, website design, customer service, fulfillment, etc.
Do you have any advice that you’d like to pass on to those who are just getting started in business?
Wow, where do I start? I would most definitely say focus. Stay true to what you’re trying to accomplish with your business model, and with continued hard work, it can happen!