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Successful Home Business Started With Baby Steps

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Almost eight years ago, first-time parents Heather Campbell-Dewar and husband Gary discovered that it wasn’t easy to find a diaper bag that could hold all the extra baby gear they needed to carry.

Finding a solution to their bag dilemma turned into a full-time job, literally. To meet the needs of active parents like them, the couple designed and manufactured a technical, multifunctional and ergonomical diaper bag backpack called Baby Sherpa.

Based in Stony Mountain, Manitoba, this small business has a handful of employees sprinkled across North America. In order to achieve dramatic online growth, the company realized it had to boost its technology capabilities and truly become a global presence in a niche market.

This strategy received the green light when Baby Sherpa won the Dell and RBC Small Business Excellence Award. The award gave them $20,000 in technology and $5,000 in professional services from Dell Canada.

“The award did help us gain exposure and sales,” said Heather Campbell-Dewar, CEO of Baby Sherpa. “The new equipment has helped us with efficiency and productivity.

“In fact, we are introducing two new products into the line-up this year — Alpha and Urban — designed for transporting laptops. We hope to use Dell equipment to help launch these new lines in fall 2008,” said Campbell-Dewar.

The Baby Sherpa team spent time with Dell consultants who advised them on what suited a small business ready for the next stage of growth– a.k.a. the kindergarten years! Some of that advice included a dual-screen desktop solution, a mobile solution (three laptops and a portable printer), digital cameras, an external hard drive and networking capabilities.

Campbell-Dewar now doesn’t miss a moment of her family summer vacations since she can now process customer orders and arrange deliveries from her campsite. “It’s a great testament to how virtual our business has become since implementing the Dell solution,” she says.

Up to 95 per cent of all retail and customer inquiries are online and a sound IT system now allows Baby Sherpa to respond to inquiries, track customer feedback and acquire information within minutes. This makes it possible for the company to efficiently communicate with hundreds of customers on a daily basis. With a stronger online presence, the company is starting to attract celebrity clients, including Tiger Woods and Dan Spitz.

“We value input from parents and our retailers, and the Dell-designed solution enables us to stay connected with our valued customers, all the time,” adds Campbell-Dewar.

Baby Sherpa is also enjoying more prominent media coverage, which can only help sales in the long run. For more details on the small business story, check out the case study on SB360.

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