Interview: The Memo
If you ask most parents “have you heard of The Memo?” you’ll get a resounding “Yes!”. A parenting and baby destination that started online and now has a flagship store in Melbourne’s Armadale, Co Founders Kate Casey and Phoebe Simmonds have done something really special.
There’s a lot to learn from these powerhouses who have created an incredibly successful brand and business. Read on!
Had you previously owned a business before The Memo? What did your careers look like beforehand?
Phoebe: Yes! I also own a blow dry bar in Melbourne CBD, The Blow. Previous to that, I worked in brand and marketing for Benefit Cosmetics (LVMH).
Kate: The Memo is my first business, however my background and passion is retail, having worked as a buyer previously at Myer, David Jones and Mecca.
What is The Memo?
The Memo is the feel good parenting and baby destination to help make big decisions easy.
We offer a curation of the best baby brands on the planet from brands like Baby Bjorn, Leander, Stokke and more. You can literally get everything you need for parenting in one effortless shopping experience.
We’re known for our essential lists (which is how The Memo was born), guiding you through pregnancy, postpartum and parenting
You can find us online at www.thememo.com.au or visit us IRL at our flagship boutique on High Street, Armadale.
How did The Memo come to be? Why parenting and baby?
Kate: I had the idea for The Memo when I was on maternity leave with my first child. When I became pregnant, I was so excited! My experience at big box baby retail left me with a lot of questions, but not a lot of answers. Like many other parents, I turned to a friend who’d done it before, who I knew would have recommendations. More than that, she had a list. Everything you need, and nothing you don’t. She’d outlined line by line the products that worked, that you’d need, use and want daily. The ones that were worth the hype, the ones that weren’t, and the ones that you should borrow from a friend. It was incredibly helpful and made me feel so much more confident and prepared in the lead up to my child’s birth. The only problem? They weren’t all in one place. So it sparked an idea: what if a place existed that sold only the best and brightest brands for pregnancy, postpartum and parenting? A curated edit of only the essentials but with options to cater to price, lifestyle and taste. A feel good experience that would remove the clutter, judgment, the soap boxing, the assumed knowledge that I felt was way too prevalent in the baby industry.
I reached out to Phoebe who I’d worked with previously when I was a buyer at Myer and she was the marketing director for Benefit Cosmetics, and she’d since opened The BLOW, a beautiful blow dry boutique in the Melbourne CBD. We went for a walk around the tan and I pitched her the idea.
Phoebe: And it was an easy yes! It was interesting because I was single and didn’t have kids of my own at this stage, and so I’d never had much involvement with the baby industry (I had bought way too many cute but, let’s be honest, useless gifts for new mums) and when I started looking into it I was shocked! It felt like a really outdated space, heaving with heavy discounting, infantile language, too much choice, and not a lot of catering to the actual customer, considering who they are, what they need. I thought there was a huge opportunity to create a brand that would be a destination for parents, a place for inspiration, connection and education, that would help them feel good about this time in their lives, rather than overwhelmed and confused.
What’s something you wish you knew before starting the business?
That there’s no break, like, ever.
Hardest lesson learned in business ownership?
To be okay with the downs. Because in the end, those tough days or challenging experiences help you grow and lead you to the path you are always meant to be on.
How has Future Advisory helped you along the way?
Kate: We rely on Future Advisory as a supportive partner to manage our finances effectively. When faced with a challenge, they take it head on and provide commercial solutions within a timely manner.
What has been key to your success so far?
Both: Understanding our customer. Having a complete discipline to our brand positioning and DNA. Constantly innovating.
What’s next for The Memo?
Both: we are really excited to expand our retail store presence across Australia. It’s a great opportunity to bring our brand to life in a physical format, to engage and connect with our community, and for them to get the 1:1 expert advice they might need as they step into this whole new world of parenting.
Now one for the parents (or gift buyers)… what are the three essential baby/parent items everyone should be shopping for?
If you’re a gift giver and have a friend that can and wants to breastfeed, the best gift you can give them is Silverettes. They are a mother’s saviour and designed to take the pain out of breastfeeding.
For the baby, get things that the parent actually needs to support them in their day to day, or a little something that will help them bond with their baby! Things like:
- A thermometer for the bath to check the temperature of the water, like the Dreambaby Duck
- A book that they can read to their baby. We have a great collection here
- We love these reusable play mats from Hey Doodle. A super practical and fun activity to educate and bond with your child, sans mess.