Liverpool Entrepreneur who’s Thinking Inside the Box – The founder and CEO of Liverpool-based pregnancy subscription box service Dearbump has raised more than £170,00 through crowdfunding to finance a revolutionary new scheme aimed at supporting pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace.
The award-winning subscription box service has created a unique programme targeted at pregnant employees. The aim of the project is to help expectant mothers by supporting them through pregnancy and their return to work. This involves answering questions, giving advice and information, emotional support, gift deliveries, wellbeing checks and more.
CEO Emma Jarvis founded Dearbump in 2017 as a consumer gift box subscription service. Business is booming for the small enterprise – it now has a strong six-figure annual turnover and currently delivers up to 500 boxes every month – and now Emma, who once worked in product research and development for some of the UK’s biggest health and household brands, is determined to make a move into the corporate world.
“The aim of Dearbump has always been to help pregnant women feel more informed and supported and I believe we can do so much more to make mums-to-be and new mothers feel that this is the case in the workplace,” she says. “There’s a huge problem retaining pregnant women in the workplace – more than 54,000 pregnant women leave employment annually in the UK – and corporations are realising that they can do so much more to help stem this loss of talent. My aim is that Dearbump becomes an integral part of the solution.”
It’s a revolutionary idea – that Dearbump not only provides monthly boxes to pregnant employees but will support them through their pregnancy and return to work with regular well-being checks alongside fitness and nutrition advice. In essence, corporations invest in Dearbump so that it becomes a supportive middleman between the employee and their employer.
Statistics show that a corporate programme like this is long overdue. Women make up 46% of the workforce in the UK and an estimated 80-85% of those will become pregnant during their employment. Despite this, 90% of mothers returning to work after pregnancy reported that they had no formal support programme and one in three find it difficult or very difficult to come back after maternity leave.
At present, £1.65 billion is spent in the UK on replacement costs per year.
Recruiting and retraining staff presents a significant loss for businesses not only in terms of talent but also in time and costs.
Emma explains: “Studies have shown that the lack of support and a poorly managed reintegration back into the workplace are responsible for women
feeling unhappy at work or leaving their job altogether. Despite these shocking numbers, there are currently no programmes in place to combat this and no
official guidance for employers or employees to ensure a smooth transition for working mothers.
Dearbump’s goal is to tackle this gap in the market to help employees feel happier at work, saving employers billions of pounds in replacement costs in the process.”
Following the successful crowdfund, Emma will be expanding the Dearbump team, hiring a psychological wellbeing practitioner who’ll offer expert support to pregnant women and new mums. “The service will work via messenger or WhatsApp,” explains Emma. “We will send out an open-ended question checking in on the wellbeing of the woman. Then if there’s a response, and a conversation is required, our practitioner will get on the phone to offer support. Or alternatively, say, for example, it is a concern over maternity benefits or if there’s a private room where a returning mum would be able to express milk, we will pick up that conversation with the employer and come back with a solution.”
The idea of the corporate scheme came because of Emma’s own maternity experience. Despite having always considered herself incredibly ambitious and dedicated to her career. She chose not to return to her R&D job following her first pregnancy. “It felt like talk of development and promotions were put on hold as soon as I announced my pregnancy,” explains Emma. “The attitude seemed to be ‘Now you’re pregnant you won’t care about your career as much’ which couldn’t have been further from the truth. I felt so disillusioned with it all, I decided not to go back,” she says.
Instead, she began forming the idea of Dearbump, studied for an MBA at the University of Liverpool (in which she gained a distinction) and even became a software developer – meaning up until now she has run every facet of
Dearbump alone. The crowdfunding success is her first opportunity to expand the team. “I’m so excited as to where we go from here,” she says. To find out more about Dearbump’s products and pregnancy programmes, visit here.