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Founded during Covid, Metro Baby enjoys post-natal growth

Metro Baby, the one-stop shop for new mothers, was launched amidst the pandemic. Since then it has garnered more than 70,000 online orders and achieved an annual income of $10 million.

Owner Ling Fung found it very challenging to find everything she needed while preparing for her first child. That’s why she decided to make life easier for other new mothers. Inspired by working for her parents’ luxury watch and jewellery sales enterprise, she invented her own solution, applying the commerce knowledge she studied at university and the passion for business she had always harboured. In March 2020, she launched Metro Baby, a retailer focused on a curated selection of products for newborns to kids five years plus.

“Coupling my interests in business with being a first-time mum, Metro Baby seemed like the perfect opportunity to turn all my passions into an enterprise of my own,” she told Inside Small Business.

“Exceptional customer service is Metro Baby’s number one priority.”

Starting the business during the pandemic – Fung made her first sale in March 2020 – meant that she had no ‘normal’ business conditions to compare things with and just worked with the circumstances. “Strategically, this meant a big focus on our e-commerce offering, user experience on our website, differentiation of product offering and speed of order fulfilment, to set us apart,” she explains. “We didn’t view Covid-19 as a challenge, more so an opportunity to set us apart from other businesses.”

Launching mid-pandemic meant making the start-up an online business the obvious choice and Ling ran Metro Baby from her own home until 2021. However, as soon as it looked clear when lockdowns were going to end, Fung started preparing for the opening of her first bricks-and-mortar store.

“Finding the right location – the store is in Richmond – and finalising our design during lockdown meant that we were able to hit the ground running when restrictions were lifted,” Fung says. “We were very lucky to have built a strong following during lockdown, which meant that we had strong foot traffic in-store from our opening day.”

The store, which launched in March 2022, has allowed Metro Baby’s customers to view their products “up close and personally” and receive expert advice face-to-face, cementing the brand’s reputation for customer service – something Fung takes very seriously.

“Exceptional customer service is Metro Baby’s number one priority,” she explains. “We are very lucky to have loyal customers who love our offering and without them, we would be nothing. One quote that is always front of my mind is from one of my idols, Warren Buffett, who said, ‘Don’t just satisfy your customers, delight them’. If we can do this, I believe everything else will fall into place.”

Fung is now expecting a third child and she feels that puts her in an even better position to steer Metro Baby in the right direction. She plans to continue to expand her product offering over the next five years, increasing awareness of the brand across Australia.

“In particular, we are looking to increase our market share in the kids’ category to continue catering to the needs of our current customers as their needs change,” she explains.

A passionate advocate for her fellow female founders, Fung says that now more than ever there is room for mum-entrepreneurs. “The business world is changing and if Covid has shown us anything, it’s that having a family is not a barrier to launching and sustaining a successful business,” she says. “Flexibility is transforming our working lives, particularly for women. And I’m so excited to see more female-founded and female-led businesses thriving because of it.”

The story was originally published on Inside Small Business.

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