I am quite often asked what inspired me to start this business (which has deviated somewhat from my engineering career) and I always come back to these three things… recurring dreams, Shark Tank and Big Magic. Children are of course the main reason, but the other three come in a close second.
The idea first came to me as summer approached and I was looking for the perfect beach bag online. I would spend hours on my mobile phone scrolling through the internet (often while breastfeeding or lying next to my toddler while he drifted off to sleep) looking for the ideal bag, which I soon found out didn’t exist. It was an exasperated comment to my husband, something like ‘I’ve been looking everywhere for a beach backpack nappy bag and can’t find one’ and his offhand reply of ‘why don’t you make it?’ that had me really considering that question. Why couldn’t I? Well I knew I couldn’t make ‘make’ it as I’m not the best at sewing, but why couldn’t I design it? It was this persistent idea that then crept into my subconscious and made its home there, until I’d find myself packing and repacking this ideal bag in my dreams. In this recurring dream, I would see the end of the world approaching as and I would sit with crowds of people in stadium-like seats on a large cliff face watching enormous waves roll onto the shore and start to rapidly rise up the steps on the cliff. Everyone around me would run up the hill and drive away in their cars while I would casually stroll up the hill to a building and proceed to calmly pack, unpack and repack my bag with all the things I’d need for the apocalypse. That was my dream pretty much every night for about two weeks. I interpreted this dream (as you do, or is this just me?) to mean that I needed to design this nappy bag ASAP, because hey, the apocalypse was coming, and I needed a bag that could carry all the things I could possibly need. Those with kids would know that packing a nappy bag can seem apocalyptic at times. They. Need. So. Much. Stuff. The idea for Mama Qucha was born.
There was also a sense of urgency in the dream, and the same thought aligned with articles I came across at the time. I.e. there’s no better time to start a business, a company, a project as right now. As the cliff face in my dreams was very like the cliffs in Peru, the waves in my dream were what influenced our company’s name ‘Mama Qucha’. Mama Qucha means Mother Ocean, Mother Sea, or Sea Goddess in Quechuan, the indigenous language of the Incans. Soon after we had begun the process of starting a business, we set off for a little family holiday to Byron Bay. It was there that another serendipitous moment struck. The owner of the holiday cottage we stayed at had left two books for guests to read. One of them was Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love). It was this book, and the recurring dream that gave me a feeling that it was all meant to be. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. There’s even a short snippet in a Ted Talk 'Your elusive creative genius' if you’d like the summarised version. Basically, the book’s message is that everyone is creative. We just have to be open to ideas that come to us and be ready to read the signs the world sends us. And when an idea is ready to be born, it comes at us like a light-bulb moment. If we’re not ready, and shrug off these light-bulb moments, then the idea will go along to the next person until someone follows through with the idea and it is born through them. Reading Big Magic gave meaning to the sense of urgency in my dream and gave me further confidence to go ahead and know it was meant to be.
I am also a massive fan of Shark Tank and love clever gadgets designed by clever people. I like that most entrepreneurs are everyday people with great ideas and the determination to go through with them. In searching for my ideal beach nappy bag, I came across numerous bags designed by mums and dads that were inspired by children and the changes to life that children bring. I had greater confidence knowing many parents had set out in a similar path before me. If they could do it, why couldn’t I?
I’ve been meaning to put this little blog post up for a few weeks now, but life got in the way – with a move to Ireland and all the stuff that goes along with moving a family overseas. I hope you’ve enjoyed the read, and that my journey gives you the confidence to follow your dreams (sometimes literally) and bring your creations to life.