Merino Kids - Amie Nilsson
Merino Kids is a homegrown success story - from
humble beginnings in Auckland's Herne Bay, they have grown into a
hugely successful multinational company with offices in New Zealand
and the UK, but for founder Amie Nilsson, the focus remains the
same - producing unique, natural products that care for the babies
that wear them.
When Amie Nilsson's first baby, Lilybelle, was born in 2003, the
options for children's bedding were limited - it was impossible to
find any that weren't made with synthetic fibres which are harsh
against babies' sensitive skin. Frustrated at the lack of natural
alternatives, Amie began researching and soon discovered the
unique, breathable fibres of merino wool. Using her design
background, and husband James' business nous, she began designing
the world's first merino baby sleeping bag, and so Merino Kids was
born. Six years on, their flagship product, the Go Go Bag has won
international awards and continues to be made from 100% natural,
renewable and biodegradable materials.
OHbaby!: How did you develop your
Amie: I knew the importance of getting
it right first time I conducted extensive research into merino and
prototyped many different and innovative designs until I knew I had
it just right. I discovered that research studies have found that
babies who sleep on merino settle faster and sleep better, and that
premature babies sleeping on merino gained an extra 10g per day, so
I knew I had the right idea, and eventually settled on the Go Go
Bag design. The Go Go Bag features
a unique vent function which allows for a buggy or car seat strap
to be inserted, allowing for baby to be easily transported between
car, buggy and cot without being disturbed.
OHbaby!: What was the hardest
part in the early days?
Amie: Trying to do everything myself, as
well as concentrating on the demands of a young family was really
difficult in the beginning. There were lots of late nights, but
it's all been worth it in the end. Seeing how the Go Go Bag had
helped Lily, and knowing that I had the potential to help so many
other families with young babies was a real driving force.
OHbaby!: How does motherhood fit in with being
a business owner and vice-versa?
Amie: They go hand in hand. Merino Kids
was founded on motherhood - how to provide the best sleeping
environments for my own children - and now it is just a part of our
everyday lives. The children know we work hard, but they also
know that they come first. We have great schedules in place,
so we are able to be there 100% for school drop offs and pick-ups,
meal times and bed times. Sometimes it's a juggling act, but it's
always a laugh.
Have you been able to take steps to make your business more
Amie: Merino Kids is our family - we
have a wonderful team, and without these very important people it
would be difficult to meet the pressures of being a mother as well
as manage the demands of a business. We have developed a fun,
exciting and family-friendly environment that allows the team the
opportunity to have the same flexibility with their own family
commitments as we do with ours.
OHbaby!: Do you ever feel "mummy guilt" about
working instead of spending time with your children?
Amie: No. Being a mother is the hardest
job in the world, and whether you are working full time or not,
your children always come first. I believe if you have a vision to
make a difference, then you should strive to achieve that goal,
both as a family and a business. The challenge is to remember that
you can only do your best and if you achieve that then you are true
OHbaby!: What do you do to
ensure you have "me-time"
Amie: "Me-time" is very important and I
try to practice it everyday! Going for a walk or a run in the
countryside with Molly, our dog, gives me the space I need to
either process all of the day's events, or just the enjoy the peace
and quiet - we are lucky to have moved to a wonderful piece of
countryside in Southern England. Winter, spring or summer it offers
the perfect backdrop for me-time.
OHbaby!: What products are you
most proud of?
Amie: I'm especially proud of the
international award-winning products in our range, which are the Go
Go Bag, the Cocooi Newborn Babywrap, and the Cocooi Newborn Sleep
bag. We have just launched a new product, the Cocooi Newborn Gown,
which features a unique envelope opening for ease of use. We have
also designed a beautiful range of sleepwear, essentials and
fully-fashioned playwear, which we are very excited about. To
complement our merino we have recently launched an organic cotton
bag and clothing range. All our products are 100% natural, the best
you can offer your little ones - I am proud of all the products we
OHbaby!: Where do you see your
business in the next decade, and what do you see as your role
within the business moving forward?
Amie: I love what I am doing and it is
very challenging at times but the best part of it is about
inspiring change. Making a real difference to people's lives -
providing natural sleep solutions that not only help babies and
infants, but also provides their parents with peace of mind and a
good night's sleep as well.
Merino Kids is a global leader of natural sleep solutions for
babies and infants. We always spend a lot of time on research and
development and this approach will allow us to continue to create
and develop some of the world's best natural baby
OHbaby!: Do you have a favourite
quote that you repeat to keep yourself inspired when the going gets
Amie: The path towards making a
difference and positive change is what drives and inspires me and
also challenges the creative and personal motivation behind what I
As seen in OHbaby!
magazine Issue 7: 2009
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