【SDGs CHALLENGE】Babyjob-Hustling to take some burden off of parents
BABY JOB Co., Mihiro Waki
Born in Osaka in 1968. He has over 20 years of experience in promotion, product development, and sales planning at a women’s lingerie manufacturer, where he supervised all aspects of marketing. After that, he worked for a major food trading company as the head of the sales planning department for the supermarket business, and in 2020, he became the business manager of the subscription business for childcare facilities at BABYJOB Co. He has been working from the creation of a market and is still challenging to create a society in which all people can enjoy parenting.
This article is copy-righted from Life-Tech KOBE.
SDGs Challenge – Since 2021, we support business development and overseas expansion of startups that take on the challenges of solving global-scale SDGs issues to create systems and products that create global social change pivoting from Hyogo Prefecture and Kobe City. The SDGs The “SDGs CHALLENGE” is a co-creation program that aims to solve global SDG issues. We will introduce the startups selected for this program one by one in the Stories category of this website.
We offer a subscription called “empty-handed commute” that allows unlimited use of diapers and wipes at preschool. Many parents write their child’s name on about 100 diapers each month in preparation before dropping them to daycare facilities. This subscription service reduces the burden on parents by bringing diapers to preschool by delivering them directly to the daycare facility on behalf of the parents. It also reduces the burden on the childcare workers who manage the diapers brought in.
-Please tell us why you decided to participate in the SDGs Challenge.
Waki: As a company that promotes SDG measures, we feel that participating in such a programme is a great advantage for us to connect with companies that are also involved in SDG-related activities and to obtain information and new ideas about various business initiatives. We are actively participating in such events eagerly. We have decided to participate in this project because we believe that we can contribute in a way to the promotion of the SDGs in society by taking the opportunity to spread the word about our activities, as there are limited opportunities that come by.
-BABY JOB has put so much effort into the SDGs that it is even featured on the Babyjob website. Can you share the enthusiasm and motive behind it?
Waki: To be honest, when we first started our business, we were not particularly committed to the SDGs. However, as our business grew, we received more and more positive feedback from people who were involved in our service that our service was “a service that contributes to SDGs” and we decided to actively promote the SDGs since we received such positive feedback, that’s how it ended up in our website. When we participated in events related to the SDGs, we had the opportunity to hear the stories of many companies that have social significance, We realized that their business beliefs and ours are very similar. Secondly, as a result of this confidence, we are now able to appropriately communicate the significance and meaning of our business to our employees and operate our business with a common understanding within the company. Of course, the word “SDGs” is not always used, but now that each employee is aware of how his or her business contributes to society, everyone can look in the same direction and work together toward what we should aim for as a company. I think that raising the SDGs and conducting business appropriately toward them will have an impact not only externally, but also in terms of internal branding.
-Have you noticed any impacts on users by mentioning the SDGs?
Waki: As a basic premise, I feel that the SDGs are too “big” of a word for users. Basically, users have a problem and they are seeking immediate solutions. The ideal situation is not to impose the SDGs on them, but to first sincerely address the issues they are facing. And then select SDGs as a means of resolving those issues. I hope that after the issues are resolved, people will realize that the services we provide are a means to solve their immediate problems and that by using our services, they have unknowingly become involved in SDG initiatives. We hope that after the issues are resolved, people will recognize that they were unknowingly involved in SDG efforts by using our services.
Market creation” will lead to the provision of stable support.
-What kind of value do you hope to provide to society in the future?
Waki: We would like to continue to solve the pain felt by households raising children through our current business, but from a larger perspective, we would like to help the parenting generation rediscover the inherent “joy” of raising children by reducing the time they spend on “free labor”. Once you start raising children, the amount of time spent on free labor increases dramatically. We hope that by reducing this time as much as possible, people will use their free time to “make memories with their families” and “enrich their lives with their families. As a result, we believe that the number of people who find parenting enjoyable will increase, and if this becomes a social awareness, the world will become a better place.
-It seems that to manifest that worldview, you will have to solve a variety of problems.
Waki: Yes, that’s right. In the area of parenthood, each municipality is working on its initiatives, but the difficult thing is that even if one issue is solved, new issues will arise. When a municipality tries to solve a new issue on its own, it has to finish solving the first issue once and then switch to the second due to budget constraints. Since new life is created every year, if we are not in a position to secure a stable support provision, we will keep tackling the same issue, and be stuck, we will not be moving forward. Some might say that if the local government has put in support, why won’t the private sector enter the market. But honestly, the market is too small to do business, and there are few entry places to the market. We entered knowing that the business opportunity might be small but we did it anyway, more for the people. So that people can receive stable support. Someone got to do it. So we went all in and we aim to create a whole new market. In this day and age where issues are becoming more diverse and more complex, sooner or later we will have to all face the problems. Rather than leaving a small market unattended, we hope that we will be the pioneers to create a market. As the market expands, we will seek the cooperation of financial institutions and local governments, and eventually private companies so they will all enter this market. I hope that the private sector will eventually enter the market. Nikkei Cross Trend featured us as one of the “100 companies that are cultivating markets of the future”. We hope to keep this title as the company that “creates the market” by providing innovative services in areas that have yet to become a market.