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Under The Hood: Meng from Huhu

Insights from the amazing Meng Li, ex- VP of Marketing at Native, and now building a brand that makes “doing things” which your kids easier.

Welcome Meng! What are some of the learnings that you took from being VP of Marketing at Native into starting Huhu?

There are two big learnings I took with me. The first one is to be really disciplined about data and make business decisions based on data and not just on gut. When it comes to Marketing, you have to focus on the performance metrics and cut tactics that aren’t working and invest in tactics where you see results and opportunity. 

The second is to be very customer centric: it’s not just about asking for your customers’ feedback, but actually listening to the feedback and incorporating it into your products and business decisions. Most of Native’s best selling products are based on customer requests and improvement after their feedback. 

Native was acquired for $100m in cash: Are you trying to build a similar business? Do you have similar growth & exit aspirations? 

My definition of success for Huhu is to create the best possible products that help solve customer problems better than my competitors. I hope there is financial value that comes along with that, but right now my goal first and foremost is to create a brand with great products that can last for the long term. 

So tell us: What are you actually building at Huhu? What’s the vision? 

On a broad level, my vision is to create a brand that feels inclusive to all parents and makes the experience of ‘doing things’ with your kids easier and more enjoyable. The first product I’m launching is a high quality, gender neutral and ultra functional diaper backpack that’s designed with parents’ usage needs in mind. 

Let’s talk about your first product: The diaper bag: What’s the journey been like to get that out? 

Developing a new product during Covid has been quite the experience! I don’t have any prior experience in the softgoods category and it’s quite complex, so the learning curve has been pretty steep for me. I’ve spent a lot of time working on the product design, going through multiple rounds of prototypes, finding the right manufacturing partner, nailing down the final production details. It’s been challenging (and I made lots of mistakes along the way), but also really fun to learn a totally new category and have a better understanding of the inner workings of such a massive industry. 

What’s your acquisition strategy going to be like? 

Right now, while I’m in the pre-order phase, I’ve focused on owned and earned media. SEO, organic social, reaching out and engaging with different online communities, PR outreach, product seeding, with focus on getting product reviews. Once I launch, I’ll still plan on having a strong focus on owned and earned, but will also test with paid media as well. 

Is there a plan to potentially raise down the line or do you want to keep things bootstrapped? 

When I get to a point where I plan to launch into new sales channels, like Amazon or brick & mortar retail, which is quite capital intensive, I’ll likely need to raise outside capital. 

How do you think about advertising your product from a communication standpoint?

There's a couple of ways to position the product. A lot of brands in the baby/parenting space lean into selling a lifestyle aesthetic, particularly in categories like apparel and accessories. Others lead with the materials. At this point, I think sustainability is tablestakes and not enough of a singular differentiator. And then there’s the path of performance and functionality, which is the one I’ve taken. Parents desperately need their baby products to work really well and solve their problems, and I’ve taken the stance that Huhu will be able to bring some calm and order to the absolute chaos that is the parenting experience.

Huhu's creative communication strategy

Let’s talk about the stack: Any good tools to highlight? 

Shopify for eComm. Klaviyo for email. Junip on reviews. And Microsoft Clarity for heatmapping. 

Last question: What’s been your key to success to get to this stage of Huhu? 

I just kept asking myself: “What do I have to lose?” I have always wanted to do my own thing, but never had the courage to make the leap. But I was at a point in my career where I was ready to try something dramatically different. And I felt confident enough that if this didn’t work out, I had work experience I could fall back on. 

Meng! Thank you so much for sharing. Wishing you all the best of luck with your launch. Can’t wait to see Huhu out in the real world :)