30 August 2021
Small supplier Ree Collective has increased its turnover by 144% since it started supplying its baby bags, custom-made for South African parents, to more than 100 Checkers and Checkers Hyper stores.
Businesswoman Ree Geldenhuys says the idea for the bags came to her while on holiday in the United States in 2017. "I instantly recognised the potential for locally-designed baby backpacks and started researching how I could make something similar for the South African market," she says.
Geldenhuys returned to South Africa and designed baby bag products with several unique features. These include large bottle pockets to accommodate the wider bottle necks more commonly used in South Africa; three different ways to carry the bags - over the shoulder, over a stroller, and by hand; and a secret pocket that hides valuables.
One of the bags with a bespoke design and unique features is the Everyday bag. "The best thing about this bag is its price because you're getting a good quality, stylish baby bag for just R249.99," she says.
“Through their availability in Checkers and Checkers Hyper stores, our bags are now accessible to more moms, who can touch them and try them out, and then have the immediate gratification of taking them home.”
- Ree Geldenhuys, founder of Ree Collective
Ree Collective is also supporting South African non-profit organisations and charities. Mosaic, an organisation committed to combating abuse and gender-based violence, attaches swing tags for the Ree Collective’s original Sidekick range of baby bags. And for every ten bags sold in Checkers and Checkers Hyper supermarkets, Ree Collective donates one to charity.
“I’m eternally grateful for the support I received from the Checkers buyers. We combined my knowledge of South African parents’ needs with their expertise of what customers want, and the result is the Everyday and Sidekick baby bags,” she says.
“Checkers gave me – a small, female-owned business – an opportunity to enlarge my footprint and add value to South African mothers’ lives by providing them with functional, quality baby bags at the perfect price point.”