Meet The Mumpreneur: Sarah Tobin Of Cool Irish Online Children's Store, YoungHearts.ie
Sarah Tobin and her younger sister Debbie had always dreamed of turning their imaginary childhood shop into a real life version. And sometimes, it seems, dreams really do come true, because in September this year, the design-obsessed duo launched YoungHearts.ie, an Irish-based online concept store with carefully curated babies and kids clothing, gifts, interiors, bits for style conscious mamas – and then some.
We recently caught up with Brighton-based Sarah to chat shop, design and what modern mamas really want.
From idea to reality
After the loss of my first baby, Alice, two years ago, I received an outpouring of love and support from an online community of mums, childrenswear designers and local Brighton-based creatives, who were all involved in designing creative and ethical products for children.
I ended up becoming great friends with these designers and had an opportunity as a photographer to start working with these brands to create shots for their look books and websites.
After extensive research myself and my sister Debbie, who is based in Kildare, realised that these products were not available in Ireland, and only a small group of parents even knew about these amazing brands. We really felt there was a gap in the Irish market for high quality, ethically produced, organic where possible, unisex clothing for babies and kids.
Young Hearts is a family-run mini online department store. We have some core values in which we benchmark all of our decisions against.
For starters, we want each and every product stocked in Young Hearts to be as unisex as possible. We want siblings to be able to share the products. We want to give parents confidence in what they are buying and how they are parenting, we want products to promote positivity and a sense of self-worth (we have affirmation cards which help to give kids and parents confidence). But as well as all of that we make sure we buy products that were produced ethically, in high-quality factories, using organic or superb quality cotton and dyes.
How we got started
Debbie and I had been chatting on the phone every day for years, often dreaming up new ideas. It was February this year, and I was on maternity leave after having my son, Casper.
One evening, Debbie texted me about this idea that we’d been mulling over and said ‘lets just do it’, I replied ‘ok’! And within a half hour we had our business name, Young Hearts, picked, a domain registered and we were on the journey! We instinctively knew this was a great idea, and just decided to go for it.
What’s it like starting a business with your sister
Debbie and I chat up to five times a day, not joking! We use every free tool possible. I’ve flown back to Ireland lots this year with Casper. Luckily Debbie and I get on really well, and we are on the same page with most things. We divide the business tasks between us so that we are using our core skills and strengths and we help each other all the time. It doesn’t feel like work!
Starting a business with a four-month-old is hard work, but manageable. Luckily, at that age, they still sleep a lot, and are not moving around too much either. Casper is nearly one now, and I don’t think I could put the same hours in as I did earlier in the year. I work when he sleeps and every night, so it is full-on. I don’t take much time off yet, and we’ve had to start enforcing social media bans for an hour in the evening! It is very easy to let it take over everything, so I am having to learn to put up walls and segment my day a bit better.
Time! Without question. We could always do with a few more hours in the day. Working towards finding a better work-life balance can be tricky too, and we do still find it hard to switch off.
What we have learned so far
The main thing we have learned so far is to stick to our guns and only invest in what we really love. We follow our gut instinct a lot and like to work with nice people – that is really important to us. We’ve also learned to be present all the time, with constant social media presence, engagement, and interaction with our followers – which we love! It is great to be in constant communication with your customers, and social media has really broken down the barriers between retailers and their customers.
So far things are going great, and we were so happy the day we launched over how well things went. We had done a lot of work on our social media for months prior, so we had a lot of people waiting to see what we were going to launch with. The feedback has been fantastic, with lots of five-star reviews and positive comments so far.
What is next for us
We are so excited to reveal we will be doing our first Pop-Up this week in The Library Project, Temple Bar.
It will be so amazing to meet some of our customers and let people touch and feel the clothes and other items we sell, and have a good nosy around.
We are also really excited about next season already, when we are bringing some new and exciting brands to Young Hearts, for instance, Whistle and Flute from Canada, and Munster Kids from Australia. We can’t wait to see what people think of them. There really are lots of great things to come, and we are very grateful to all the support we have had so far.
Young Hearts will be part of the Bag & Bones NEON POP-UP, a two day event coming to The Library Project, 4 Temple Bar, Dublin, on Friday 2nd December from 11am-5pm and Saturday 3rd December from 11am-6pm.