The Swinburne Young Mums program has taken an exciting leap, empowering young mothers to launch microbusiness, Mummafly – a range of handmade, natural skincare products – as part of their studies.
The Swinburne Young Mums program provides a supportive environment for mothers aged 15 to 24 to complete their secondary education, keeping their babies with them in the classroom.
The program’s classrooms are designed so the students’ babies can accompany them to class up to the age of 12 months | Image: Kate Dyer/ Urban Safari Photography
The program also offers vocational qualifications, including certificates in Retail Services and Business, to equip the young mothers with valuable, transferable skills and a pathway for future employment.
The students explored skincare product development in 2018. After securing funding from Victorian Government community grants initiative, Pick My Project, they decided to expand on this and create Mummafly.
The students' babies were keen to help with Mummafly | Image: Kate Dyer/ Urban Safari Photography
Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region, Sonja Terpstra, visited the students this week at the Croydon campus to congratulate them on the success of Mummafly.
“I was fortunate to see the fantastic work being done by Swinburne through their Young Mums program,” says Ms Terpstra.
“Mummafly is the entrepreneurial creation of the young mothers in this program. They are learning about business, marketing and testing for products that will sell."
“A welcoming, supportive and encouraging environment is what’s on offer here in this program, helping young mothers finish their education whilst caring for their gorgeous babies.”
Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region, Sonja Terpstra (far left), was impressed by the work of Swinburne's Young Mums program | Image: Sonja Terpstra/ Twitter
Developing the range
The name Mummafly is a play on the word butterfly. It represents the students’ role as mothers, as well as metamorphosis, as they have joined Swinburne’s Young Mums program to effect change in their lives.
The students developed the range on campus, with guidance from project coordinator, Anthea Riskas, and other women from Melbourne’s startup scene including The Creator’s Market founder, Megan Luscombe, and graphic designer, Maria Harran.
“It’s been exciting to watch the students’ confidence, teamwork and enthusiasm grow each week,” says Ms Riskas.
“They are incredibly invested and proud of what they have created with Mummafly, and so they should be.
The Mummafly range includes lip balm, lip scrub, body lotion, salt body scrub, shower oil and aromatherapy oil roller blends | Image: Kate Dyer/ Urban Safari Photography
The students launched Mummafly with four days of trading at the bustling South Melbourne Market.
“Most of the students have never been employed, so this was a completely new experience for them, yet they all conducted themselves professionally from the get-go,” says Ms Riskas.
“The students were incredible at interacting with customers, outlining the benefits of handmade natural skincare, and recommending suitable products based on the customers questions."
“Each one left their shift proud and more confident than ever.”
Mummafly uses calming essential oils like lavender, clary sage and cedar wood, and invigorating essential oils like tangerine and spearmint | Image: Kate Dyer/ Urban Safari Photography
Continuing to grow
Mummafly is also available online. It is hoped the proceeds will help the program continue Mummafly in 2020 and beyond.
Some students are now inspired to run their own businesses in future.
“Mummafly has been a great insight into business management’, says young mother, Sarah, who joined the program following the birth of her son earlier this year.
“Using the skills I have developed, I would eventually like to start my own business.”
The Swinburne Young Mums program fills an important gap in the education and welfare system. Since it began in 2007, the program has helped more than 100 young mothers obtain their Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL).