An Idea Born Out Of A Need: Tamanna Dhamija, Baby Destination
Capitalising on the opportunity, she quit her long corporate financial career and moved from New York to India to build it
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Tamanna, being a mom of a 3-year-old munchkin and founder of Baby Destination, realised the gap in women specific content online during her own initial motherhood days. In a conversation with BW, she said, “The power I felt in the collective wisdom of moms; I saw a huge opportunity to create an impact in India.” Capitalising on the opportunity, she quit her long corporate financial career and moved from New York to India to build it. “My vision is to build the most trusted and highly personalised information and product discovery platform for parents in India.”
The idea behind the startup
Baby Destination first started as an idea mostly borne out of need. When I became a mother five years ago, I realised that there wasn’t any online community which supported Indian mothers by offering any information on motherhood. I also realised that various Indian mothers don’t have the privilege of a support system like I did. There were instances when I had the most basic of doubts but I couldn’t ask due to the fear of being judged. Later, I discussed with few new moms and realised that most of our problems were the same. Hereafter, I left my longstanding corporate investments career in New York and moved back to India to pursue my dream of making a safe and thriving community for mothers. I aspired to create a community where women could ask any question they had, learn new things and hopefully find a friend in the process.
Our focus lies in reaching out to expecting and new mothers who fall under the 22-38 age bracket. Unlike other brands and platforms that cater to a similar demographic, our growth has been organic. Our organic growth has been possible because of our superior content. Other platforms can’t boast of a community of mothers, the way we do. Unlike others, we have a community of over 6 lakh mothers wherein our Facebook communities have over 6 lakh mothers and our WhatsApp (WA) communities have over 50 thousand moms. We have around 125 WA communities spread all over India. In a short span of three years, we have reached and influenced the lives of around 12 million people.
Our model goes beyond the conventional advertising model. When we collaborate with brands, we focus on delivering three main things: (a) content partnerships wherein we create relevant content for brand, (b) content marketing and strategy wherein we create awareness of the brand. The insights we receive from AI and ML aid us significantly in strategising and this helps us drive marketing campaigns. The third thing we aim to deliver is conversational marketing. We have pioneered solutions in conversational marketing - we are the only platform doing this not just in a parenting space but in general. Other companies can tap into social listening through platforms like Facebook but due to our own communities, we listen to social media conversations like no other platform. However, this key USP differentiates us and gives us a significant edge.
The way forward
With the aid of technology and digital media taking over every aspect of life, I feel like we will be reaching moms all over the world with solutions for every parenting problem, no matter the intensity. The scenario may change, but the problems and pain points will stay the same. In the next 10 years, we are trying to not just become a parenting platform but also a women-centric platform.
Our primary focus now lies in reaching mothers all over India, especially in Tier 2 and 3 cities and also to other South Asian countries and United States in the next three years as well. As we stepped into producing vernacular content, we realised that there is still a gap that needs to be filled and we are working on it. We are working with brands in Asia and that is something that we aim on scaling in the near future. The ideal scenario would be to have a backend, wherein we work together with Facebook in building a network that’s powered by ML and AI to breakdown the language and region barriers and allow members of the group to understand and answer questions in any language across any region.
We are a community of over 7 lakh moms and organically reach over 12 million moms a month. Most mothers join our community with a strong information and support need and within a short amount of time, they become an integral part of the trust network and commence helping other moms out also.
Everyday, our inspiration is the community support given to each other to solve the problems. We would like to present a few examples; a mom with a 2 year old child, who had retinitis pigmentation got support from a fellow mom and her daughter is now undergoing treatment. Another instance when a mom who was going through domestic issues and was on the verge of leaving her house got help from another mom in the local WA group.
The paradigm shift
Our numbers speak for themselves and we are growing rapidly. Through our well-researched content, meet-ups and community led initiatives, we have been able to bring a paradigm shift in the thinking of Indian people and households. Baby Destination is part of a progressive and developing India and we are moving ahead with the time while keeping Indian traditions in mind. As we provide factual information, we have been able to influence the way Indian parents bring up their children. In two years, we scaled by reaching 12 million. In the next three years, our goal is to reach 100 million moms by building more communities, partnering with other communities and also by expanding to Tier 2 and 3 cities.
We are heavily utilising AI and ML to move beyond conversations and build a supportive community. These conversations and insights help us grow by deciphering the problems in other languages along with English. We are also using this technology to provide automated solutions, mostly by answering questions for moms round the clock. This also helps us learn better on how to dig deep into the technology and community driven conversations. We want to utilise this technology for building automated moderating solutions such as building tools for moderator moms to manage conversations.
Idea of wealth generation
Baby Destination believes in imparting knowledge and that is wealth generation for us. It’s not just about the monetary aspect of evolution, employment and providing opportunities to people. We take pride in our inventory of knowledge, learnings, insights and the research for curating solutions to the problems through the information. I believe that sharing knowledge is a beautiful thing.
We realised the intensity of our work after a year of the inception of Baby Destination. I noticed that there was a significant growth in our content i.e. organic reach to over a million moms. We were able to build a community of over 7 lakh moms in two years and that’s when we realised that we were on the path to create a big impact.
In 10 years, we hope to reach 100 million people. Personally, after 10 years, we will retrospect at this moment with pride and gratitude for coming so far and never gave up.
Message to entrepreneurs
I believe if you can change people’s lives, you have a business. My advice would be to know the purpose of your brand and focus on the problem that you are trying to solve. Test, learn and improve!
Dare to dream moment
When we came to India for initial research in 2015 and spoke to moms, we realised a big informational gap exists and the opportunity to create an ecosystem for 100 million moms to solve their parenting problems by giving correct information and recommendations. At this point, I left my investment banking career in New York and moved to India to work on building Baby Destination.