Interview with Mamahen, a gift registry company
Based in Hong Kong, Mamahen is an online platform designed to help all mothers to manage their bespoke gift registries, and allow friends and families from all over the world to send gifts with a few simple clicks.
We aim to to become a resource center for all soon-to-be parents, a new parenthood consultancy where they can get advice on what they need, how many they need and which one to get. We have a comprehensive product range, from baby carriers to activity gyms to nursery decorations to baby massages to newborn photography packages; new parents would also be able to “add your own” item(s) plus description to the gift registry if it is not in our existing product catalog. Our goal is to help new parents.
Tell us about the history of your company and how you’ve got to this point?
The company was founded by Cassie Mak in February 2014 and the website was officially launched in August 2014.
The idea came about when Cassie was organizing a baby shower for her goddaughter, Adelaide. As a frequent event organizer in her personal life, Cassie has many experiences in coordinating bridal tea parties and baby showers; to her surprise, she found a market gap in this specific area in Hong Kong - a comprehensive baby gift registry service that caters to tech savvy, fast-paced and busy Hongkongers.
Since then, Cassie began her journey as an entrepreneur; first refining the business concept, conducting a market survey, then searching for a fitting web developer and back to refining the business model, site map, web design and its wire frames. It underwent multiple revisions in terms of the website user interface and features and it is continuously improving upon customer feedback.
Currently Mamahen has 32 strategic partnering brands; altogether approximately 350 products ranging from feeding and bathing needs to baby and mother services. We continuously scout for value-added products and brands to bring in front of new parents in Hong Kong.
Tell us about your team. Did you have all the expertise you needed to launch this product or did you have to outsource any of the components?
Mamahen is currently partnering with KOBO design as our web developer and design team. KOBO design specialized in entrepreneurial companies and startups; Sean Okihiro, the founder and managing director of KOBO design saw mamahen and the industry of new parenthood’s potential and decided to invest in us.
Although Cassie does not have any previous expertise in baby products, she has a very diversified business background. On top of her MBA degree from HKUST, she was able to combine her previous professional experience in mamahen as an electronic trading platform. She has separately worked as a merchandising / management trainee at Li & Fung, equity sales and sales trading at UBS and Citigroup, and marketing & public relations at Burson Marsteller.
What was the development process like? How long did it take?
It is a continuous development process. It took us one year from idea conception to market research to web development to business partner acquisitions to user acceptance testing to website official launch; and it is still being fine-tuned and adjusted to market needs.
What are some of the biggest challenges you encountered so far?
This whole entrepreneurial project is one big challenge. The only job description is to solve problems and adapt and adjust to the market. Given that gift registries are not very popular and known in Hong Kong, one of the biggest challenges is to introduce and educate people about how gift registries are beneficial to both gift givers and receivers; and to popularize the practice.
Did you raise funds to launch Mamahen or was it self-funded?
Mamahen is currently self-funded, however, it is potentially looking for government grants or seed funding for market expansion.
What’s next for Mamahen?
What’s next is obvious: marketing, marketing, marketing. We shall put most of our effort on the marketing front, including but not limited to pop up events, as we hope to get up close and personal with the Hong Kong community.