A monthly spotlight on a small business owner in Essex
Each month, we highlight a small business owner in Essex and their journey of building a successful business. From overcoming challenges to identifying opportunities, these entrepreneurs share their insights and advice for anyone thinking of starting their own business. In this edition, we spoke with Samm Eason, founder of Poe Baby, an online store specialising in affordable and adorable baby clothing, accessories, and gifts. Read on to learn more about Samm’s entrepreneurial journey, the challenges she’s faced, and her advice for aspiring small business owners.
Samm’s journey to becoming the founder of Poe Baby was not a straightforward one but one that is likely to resonate with many of you because as her family started to grow Samm’s priorities started to change and this led her to re-evaluate her career. Her work background is diverse, including 10 years in hospitality and several years in recruitment. Originally from Canada, Samm moved to Basildon, Essex more than a decade ago after getting married. She has two children, and her experience as a mother was a key factor in starting her own business. Samm realized how hard it was to find affordable and adorable baby clothing and accessories during her pregnancy. She wanted to create a store that would provide mothers with a one-stop-shop for all the baby essentials they need.
How it started
Poe Baby was created during the Covid pandemic when Samm was pregnant with her daughter, Pippa. She was put on furlough before her maternity leave and wasn’t sure if she would have a job to go back to. She spent much of her time at home searching for cute baby clothes and realised how expensive shipping was when she shopped internationally, from there she realised there was a gap in the market for a website with a collection of affordable and adorable baby clothing and accessories sourced world-wide and available in one place without the expensive shipping for each piece.
Samm’s entrepreneurial spirit and determination led her to take the leap and start her own business. She spent many months researching and building her online store from scratch, including designing her own website, logo and handpicking and testing all the products for her store. She even had to teach herself how to manage inventory across multiple platforms and shipping, which was no small feat. But Samm’s hard work and dedication paid off, and the Poe Baby website is becoming a go-to destination for new mothers in Essex and beyond.
The Poe Baby Ethos
Poe Baby’s motto is “adorable and affordable” and everything is under £20. They specialise in clothing and accessories for babies 0 to 24 months but also offer options like a “build your own gift box” option – an idea that came during Covid lockdowns when her baby shower was cancelled. Their mama collection includes organic nipple balm, reusable breast pads, and other accessories for new moms. In addition, Poe Baby is constantly adding new products to their store, ensuring that their customers have access to the latest and greatest baby essentials. Identifying her price-point niche and sourcing items that aren’t available on the high street or amazon helped Samm build and differentiate her brand.
Challenges & Opportunity
Challenges are part and parcel of any small business, and Samm has had her fair share of them. Starting a business during a pandemic and relying solely on Instagram to promote her business was a big challenge. She had to be very creative about getting her name out there and driving traffic to her website. For Samm that involved a lot of networking locally to spread the word and a dedication to social media to help build her following. That networking has also led to her collaborating with other small businesses in Essex and working together to promote each others products and services.
One of the best ways Samm found to build and engage her audience was to have baby brand reps who would share her products on their social media channels. She introduced a programme where parents can apply to have their children be brand representatives and in return they receive discounts & special benefits. Not only did this create a great community of supporters but it has also been incredibly rewarding for Samm, making connections – yes – but also seeing the value and happiness her products bring her customers. Not to mention the great social content from some incredibly cute pictures.
The personal touch
Samm’s background in customer service and hospitality has been a great asset in running her business. She believes in going the extra mile for her customers, sometimes sourcing special items or alternative colours and providing excellent customer service by always responding promptly to requests or product issues. Samm is constantly looking for ways to improve her business and is open to feedback and suggestions from her customers.
Another of the things that sets Poe Baby apart from the competition is the quality of their products. Samm handpicks every item in her store and ensures that they are made from high-quality materials that are safe and comfortable for babies. She spent a lot of time sourcing products and now the site stocks lots of European brands that are themselves small parent-owned businesses, where many items are hand made by the business owner.
Growing the business
Continuing to build Poe baby is Samm’s main focus right now, this includes expanding her social media presence – growing her Facebook Group, starting on Pinterest and she has already started taking advice on SEO for her website. Tackling these one step at a time is the plan and it’s a big commitment, as Samm notes, there’s a lot of work that goes into maintaining and growing her Instagram already but she doesn’t want to be reliant on just one platform anymore. Experience has shown her that being reliant on one social media platform can be dangerous for your business if your account is suddenly shut down or algorithms change.
Proud Moments & Goals
Sticking with it. Through the tough moments but also showing up day after day and putting in the work because all those small efforts over the last 2.5yrs have gotten her to where she is now. She wants to show her children that with hard work and the right mindset you can achieve your dreams. That dream for her is now growing the business to the point where it can support her and the family so that once her children go to school this business becomes her full-time work.
Niche down on products. This was Samm’s biggest learning. When she started the website she thought that to look like a “real business” having 20+ products was the minimum she should have. In reality this left her with quite a lot of stock and a number of unsold products which were essentially filler products that weren’t selling. Her advice is spend time on research and only stock the best products that you find – that can be 5, if they’re 5 great ones that’s a perfect starting point.
She also advises finding a way to set yourself apart from the competition and being open to feedback and suggestions from customers. These are the foundations of what has made her business successful and keeps her customers returning to her website.
Samm built her business from the ground up and what started as a side hustle is becoming a sustainable business that brings her and her customers joy. She still has her moments, some weeks when orders are slow doubts slip in, but then there are the moments where she receives a great review or an email from a happy customer….As she can attest, the rewards of owning your own business are worth it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this month’s small business spotlight. We hope that you will check out Poe Baby for all your baby clothing, accessories, and gift needs. With Samm’s passion, determination, and commitment to quality, Poe Baby is sure to continue thriving and making a positive impact on the lives of new parents and their little ones. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Poe Baby and its founder, Samm Eason.
Connect with Samm & find out more about Poe Baby visit: