First of all: The things you can produce here are really almost endless! Some are so simple, and you can start to design and produce them in your own home using the help of skilled locals. For other products you may want to get some machinery to manufacture the items. But even here we are not necessarily talking about a full-blown manufacturing firm!
Having a new baby is usually a big and serious project for many African parents. Because of a child’s sensitive needs, lots of new stuff usually has to be bought. Some of these items may be bought every single time a new baby is expected, while other items – like prams, cots, mattresses and toys – will probably be purchased just once and used for all the children born in a household. These items include, except for those already addressed above, everything a child (and its parent or caregiver) requires from the time it wakes in the morning until it sleeps at night.
The range of products that make up the baby accessories category is huge, with several big, small, local and foreign competing brands. We’ll just go through the major categories and highlight a few items within them:
Sleep-related gear– This category includes: cots, bedding, baby monitors (a kind of ‘walkie-talkie’ that transmits a baby‘s noises to the mother in another room), beautiful blankets or sleeping bags, mattresses etc. Some of these items are very easy to produce!
Feeding equipment- Teats, feeding bottles, teething accessories, sterilizers, breast pads, feeding pillows, bibs, breast pumps and breast cold-packs. Little bowls, plates, and spoons.
Other stuff- Changing mats, bathing equipment, prams and strollers, high-chairs, drawers and cabinets for storage, baby mobiles, baby and toddler toys, bouncer chairs, play blankets.
There are still many countries in Africa where such baby care products can hardly be found and mothers have only access to it through family members from abroad.
Importing baby accessory items is one possible business avenue for you. You could then distribute (be very aware of how powerful already ‘existing importers/distributors are in Nigeria) or open your own shop.
But the approach that will really give you a competitive advantage and that has the biggest potential for growth is when you manufacture some of the products yourself. Made-in-Nigeria baby care products are an absolute rarity to this day, and this is the market you could own faster, as you will have a competitive advantage using local creativity and cutting production costs.
Almost all children’s clothes on the market are Western-styled. African-inspired styles and fashion for children’s clothing would be a great idea that could capture the market’s attention.
These ideas are also suitable for all economically advanced countries with a fast-rising middle class.
There is a huge spectrum of baby accessories out there; just have a look at the shops or online shopping sites of major European or American retailers, such as Mothercare.com. Look at their website and products for inspiration! Start your baby care business with small or simple items that can be easily produced and manufactured you can expand your business later by adding more products.
Develop a Made-in-Nigeria quality baby care brand right from the start – you will find your greatest success potential in that strategy.