Kim Snel set up Snugbags – Merino For Kids, in 2010, when she couldn't find a merino sleeping bag that was warm enough for her new baby. Based in Piha, West Auckland, Kim manages looking after her 5-year old daughter Neeva Rose, with running her business, and surfing Piha’s famous waves.
OB What did you want to be when you grew up?
KS As a child I always wanted to be a mountaineer and work in the great outdoors. I was passionate about nature. I worked for years in the outdoor industry and as a dive master all over the world and absolutely loved it. Nowadays I’m still just as passionate about all things natural and therefore Merino, Nature’s wonder fibre, is now the main focus of my business. There is simply no substitute when it comes to comfort, performance and safety.
OB Do you ever feel "mummy guilt" about spending time working instead of with your children? If so, how do you deal with it?
KS I think ‘mummy guilt’ comes in many shapes and forms and it’s not limited to work. I feel I’ve managed a great work/life balance. Neeva Rose does not attend day care so I mainly work early mornings and (very) late nights. During the day she has my full attention and we do fun stuff together like going to play groups, the zoo, the museum, the beach or the bush. It is a big juggle some days but it works for me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
OB What do you do to get "me-time"?
KS Most weekends I go out surfing, and during the week I take Neeva Rose on little missions to do things I like too! Like bush walks or beach walks and even though she is with me it feels like ‘me-time’ because I genuinely love doing those things with her. As a family we are very outdoor-orientated, so in the weekends all three of us love going on big bushwalks, ocean swims or we build huge sand castles on the beach.
OB What's the smartest thing you have done with your business?
KS To make the commitment to be New Zealand made. It is certainly not cheap but you simply cannot beat the quality that comes with being New Zealand made. I also love on how it has a low impact on the environment vs manufacturing off shore. All our fabrics are spun, knitted and dyed right here and we only use organic certified fabric dyes. Even our zips are made in New Zealand and we are also completely plastic packaging free! I think as business owners we have a responsibility to do be ethical, practice sustainability and look after our environment.
OB What's your favourite thing about the business now? What do you most enjoy?
KS I really love working with natural fabrics and Merino is my absolute favourite. I enjoy designing new products and creating new fabrics and prints. My aim is to create beautiful, 100% natural garments that are functional, safe and stunning at the same time. I also enjoy the relationships with our customers and watching their families and children grow. We recently did a survey and 100% of our customers would recommend Snugbags to other parents. Around 80% of our business is repeat customers and I really love the amazing feedback we get on a daily basis.
OB What's the most surprising thing you’ve found in running your own business?
KS The fact that our Snugbags are used by some of the most famous parents in the world! A growing number of Hollywood’s littlest celebrities are sleeping in Snugbags and this is something that I find quite surreal haha!
OB What's your philosophy to child-rearing?
KS We love to take a gentle, intuitive and natural approach to parenting. One of my missions is to normalize infant & toddler sleep patterns and educate parents that 100% natural sleepwear is the safest choice for your little one!