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 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.
At Amara, we do these interviews because a lot of times starting a business can seem like a far out dream, but companies are just people like you and I, determined to bring their visions to the world. Whether you’re building a blog, an Instagram following or even just starting a family, we hope that these stories help to inspire you to bring your visions into the world and make them realities.
Pacifiers, you didn’t think twice about them until you saw the bright colors and modern look of the @bibs_usa pacifiers and you decided you needed them in every color, right? We interviewed, Mushie, the mom behind this brand’s US presence and were captured by her honesty and her story. Mushie’s story is bit different than other founder stories we’ve had on our series but she is proof that there is not just one way to start a company and is an inspiration to hear from.
Tell me first about how you got started?
I was a teacher before I was pregnant with my second child but in my pregnancy I had hyperemesis gravidarum and my body just couldn’t function. I was sick all the time and was sensitive to light, standing long periods of time, it was awful. I had to stop working and it was a really hard time for me, both physically and emotionally. The minutes couldn’t go fast enough.
At around 7 months of being pregnant I had a small relief from feeling sick and I was ordering pacifiers so I could be ready when he was born. I had found this company from Denmark that had cute pacifiers and had ordered them from Denmark because I couldn’t find them in US stores easily.
When we got them I loved the modern colors and the fact they were toxic free. I never thought I would do anything that is a business style kind of thing but I loved them so much that I looked at my husband and said, let’s start selling these in the US. My husband is an Amazon expert and it took a bit of convincing but eventually we approached Bib Denmark and became the US distributor and Amazon distributor of Bibs.
"I never thought I would do anything that is a business style kind of thing..."
Tell me more about your Instagram, @bibs_usa - what has it meant for the business and you?
Well, they first asked me to do an Instagram two weeks after having my son, and I didn’t know anything about Instagram. But, now that I finally wasn’t sick anymore, I had my baby, I decided that it was time to say “yes” to things. So I started the Instagram. The community it’s created has been a such a pleasant surprise. You start to realize with the product that we are really part of people’s lives.
Can you share a word of advice for someone that is looking to start a business?
Doubt less and do more. Part of the process is to fail and not have something go your way. Don’t be embarrassed, the worst that can happen is that you’re going to get a “no”. I think that after you have a baby; after living through the sleepless nights and going through the process of pregnancy and childbirth, you’re left with a kind of confidence than you’re unbreakable. If you went through that you can go through anything.
"Doubt less, Do more."
What’s one of the big differences between your job as a teacher and now?
As a teacher I always had someone to ask if I didn’t know how to do something, I always had someone that knew. Now it’s a lot of asking others that have done it, or trying to see what works. You have to learn to be less scared of changes, less scared of failure.
What does your team look like?
My husband and I started but now we have people that help. We have Alyssa that helps us with Instagram. The cool thing is that we actually met through the Instagram community and now she works with us at Bibs. We also work with my brother in law and sometimes more when we are really busy with packing!
Any tips on moms using Instagram as a means to share?
Instagram is really about relationships and community. Here are the things that have been most helpful for us in growing @bibs_usa
- Sending product for free or with a discount in exchange for tags
- Giveaways with other brands and shops
- Relationships with other shops
Some people find that sharing personal stories also on Instagram is helpful, that doesn’t come as naturally for me but we are starting to. In the end, it’s getting your product out there and creating a community.
You have two kids, a running business and I am sure lots more on your plate. What’s your top tips for productivity as a busy mom?
Gosh, I wish I knew haha. I would say stop feeling guilty about “me” time. Know that everyone has a different way of doing it and it’s okay. When you have kids I feel like you can’t hope for it to be perfect because it never will be. I find that the mornings that I wake up and put on sneakers and workout clothes are my best mornings. Starting the day active even if I am working for home just changes my mindset.
You had a really hard pregnancy, can you share how that experience has changed you, or how it affects your day to day business struggles and life?
After making it through the sickness, my perspective on life changed. I felt grateful for every day, for my health. For my family. I realized that if you’re dealing with something that in 5 years won’t matter, don’t be upset about it for more than five minutes.
A lot of times starting a business can seem like a far out dream, but Mushie is just one example of moms working to build their business. Mushie didn’t have an MBA or a curriculum of business experience, she just decided that she would say “yes” to opportunity and dare to dream.
For all you parents out there trying to make the impossible, possible – we know that homemade baby food is often times more of a dream than a reality, right? For those times, Amara is here to bring you the next best thing to fresh homemade baby food. Made fresh, anytime, anywhere.