Mini-series on Mom Entrepreneurs
Hi! I’m Jess. I’m CEO and cofounder of Amara and those who know me best probably know my parents too. Those who really know me well may even know what my college thesis was about. Ok, so how do these two relate? Entrepreneurs. My parents are both entrepreneurs and my college thesis was about entrepreneurship in emerging markets. Nerdy right? That’s why here at Amara, we decided to dig a little closer and bring you a mini series of interviews with moms that are running fantastic baby and mom product companies, while raising little ones. Because let’s be serious, #momboss is akin to superhero in our book.
E N T R E P R E N E U R. Now the word is pretty trendy but I lived with “entrepreneurs” before we even put a name to it. Both of my parents worked around the clock – so much so that when I was filling out my college applications I decided to put my parents were “un-employed”. Needless to say my dad was LIVID but my 17-year-old self didn’t know the difference between “un-employed” and “self-employed”. Now a few years later, “self –employed” comes with a more glamorous title – “entrepreneur”.
I’m here today to talk about when “entrepreneur” meets the word “parent”. Growing Amara has allowed me to meet the most amazing moms and dads that every day, bend over backwards to make the impossible possible for their kids. Through social media, I’ve had the unique opportunity to get to know a few of you, and to admire even more of you from a far. You are all truly super parents. And if that wasn’t enough, there companies out there that are run by entrepreneur parents. That’s parents, being super parents, AND running awesome companies. And that my friends, is what we are here to talk about today.
One of those companies is Snuggle-Me. Snuggle Me is the dream child of Mia Carr. Mia not only runs an incredible company, but also does so with 7 kids AND while homeschooling them. We feel in love with her products a while back but when we realized who was behind it, we knew we wanted to interview her about Snuggle Me sensory lounger and a bit more about how her company grew into what it is today.
Being an entrepreneur can be a long road – can you tell us a bit about when you started and the moment you knew it was “going to work?”
We started our business in 2007. It has been a long road! We learned so many lessons and it took a while to really mature enough as people to be able to make our business work. I would say, I always knew it would work, from day one I knew it would. It didn't start really taking off until after I established a hardworking, supportive team around me. That was when the magic started happening.
You’re in a competitive space – why Snuggle-me?
Snuggle Me is the first ever sensory lounger for baby and no other lounger is designed to hug baby. We are committed to making all of our products in the USA with the highest quality organic materials, yet keeping all of our products affordable. We are also all about community and support for new families and give value back to our customers in every way we can.
How do most parents find out about you?
Parents have always found out about us by word of mouth. We now are much more visible so parents are discovering us from many external avenues, but the message is always the same, Snuggle Me is THE best.
I remember seeing that you set a goal for yourself a year ago and you brought your following from 13k to over 393k today. What do you attribute that to?
Our Instagram growth has been from myself taking over that space and studying how other large accounts have grown. I saw quickly that influencer marketing was the fastest way to grow and I literally put all of our marketing eggs into that basket. I stopped all other advertising efforts and put all our time and efforts into it. I am not kidding when I say every marketing dollar went into influencers. We are now just starting to put money back into a secondary area, which is facebook/instagram ads. But that is number 2. We are a direct to consumer business and we are laser focused on doing only effective activities and dropping all other distractions.
Secondly, I created a space that was more than just an advertising platform. People follow our IG page and stay because we are giving our followers value, advice, and community which is why people go onto social media in the first place.
What does your team look like now?
My team now consists of some of my most favorite people and trusted friends. I have my own mom, step-father and husband as my closest circle. My mom manages our customer service, my stepfather is our COO and my husband is our CFO. I then have a good homeschool friend of mine as our Sales Director and one of my favorite former customers and friends as my content creator. We then have a team of very positive and upbeat people who come in to build product and get our daily shipping out the door. It is a busy, busy warehouse, but everyone is so excited and happy to be a part of what we are creating. I cannot tell you how many people walk in there and stare wide eyed at what is going on in our little warehouse!
What recommendations do you have for other moms starting their businesses?
I would honestly tell them to study the emerging direct to consumer methods. You can explode into a market with
- influencer marketing and an amazing IG page.
- A beautiful, optimized Amazon listing
- a shopify website that is focused on beautiful imagery.
- Facebook/Instagram ads directed at sales. and if I had to add one more, I would say
- a retargeting strategy
Honestly, you can skip all other advertising and wholesaling altogether and create a multi-million dollar business in a few years time by doing the above.
With 7 kids and a booming business – can you share your top two tips for productivity?
This is the ever looming question for all working women, how do you "balance" being a mom and building their dreams out. We homeschool, so that adds another layer of craziness to the mix! My biggest tip is to block your time and reduce the number of times you need to "switch brains". For us, we are home and kid focused until about 1pm. Then we change gears and are all business until nearly bedtime. I used to go back and forth between school, work, cleaning throughout the day and that just made me super irritable. Now, we wake up, focus all on kids, school and house, close that down and focus all on business through the rest of the day. This gives me permission to ignore phone calls and emails during the first part of the day and doesn't make me feel guilty for tell our kids, "no I can't play right now, I'm working" in the afternoon. Everyone has their time with me. When I am in the kid zone, I go all in and vice versa.
If you had no obligations and could spend a month somewhere, where would it be and why?
I have no idea where we would go, but I love travelling around and seeing new places with our children. I just love the adventure of it. I cannot even image going somewhere for a full month because as much as I like seeing new places, I also like being home! Maybe a week in a tropical place would be my first choice!
A lot of times starting a business can seem like a far out dream, but Mia is just one example of the supermoms we admire. It’s been amazing to see her grow – don’t forget to follow and support her company. Stay tuned for more interviews with amazing moms and dads building businesses, while building a family here on our blog. And, for all you parents out there trying to make the impossible, possible – Amara is here to bring you the next best thing to fresh homemade. Taste the difference, I dare you.