Hi! I’m Jess. I’m CEO and cofounder of Amara. 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.
I started interviewing “mom-preneurs” because sometimes starting something seems like a big goal, sometimes starting something feels like something “other people” do. At Amara, we interview founders of these companies so you can see that Mia from Snuggle me, Mushie from Mushie Co and all of these mamas that started their amazing companies are just people. Just like you and me.
You didn’t get a manual when you became a parent, and you don’t get a manual when you’re running a company – so, we’re here to show you - whatever you are dreaming of doing, whether it’s the next million-dollar business or starting the blog you’ve always dreamed of - it’s possible.
I first came across Wash with Water because of their beautiful designs – when you go to the website everything is perfectly placed. Stephanie, the founder, admitted that she wants moms to have a little “moment” when they are on her website, web surfing at 2am while breastfeeding. That design and attention to detail shows in her website and her products. Meet, Stephanie, the founder of Wash with Water, the all natural, small- batch skin and hair products for baby and you.
What was the inspiration behind Wash with Water?
I was in my 20’s working in corporate America and had just had my first baby and felt unfulfilled when I thought about going back to work. Then, I went to a wedding and happened to meet someone that made goat milk soap. I felt very connected to her story and my partner said – why don’t you try making the soap?
I’m very type A and the more I looked into the baby care world, the more I found all these holes between the organic more natural options that didn’t work well or smell good versus the very processed soaps. I was always passionate about beauty care but there was a huge gap between beauty and baby care. I wanted to make something that was gentle enough for newborn and good for mom. That’s how Wash with Water was born.
When did you start?
We launched in 2012, I’m 41 so back then technology wasn’t really a part of it. Instagram and digital ads weren’t like they are today – it was all still very organic. Our first website you would even have to email us after checking out to tell us what scent you wanted!
So if digital ads and Instagram weren’t so important – how did people even find out about you?
We spent so much time developing the formula with a soap master and setting the blueprint for the products that the testimonials really spoke for themselves. It was a slow build though, a lot of word of mouth and a strong community on Instagram helped washies find out about us.
You launched the first CBD hair and skincare line for baby, that takes a lot of courage to be the first CBD beauty line for baby and family, tell us a bit more about where you find your strength?
I have a really strong support system at home. My kids have grown up with the brand and are really a part of it. My 8th grader even interned at Wash and Water one summer!
Starting a brand is not for the faint of heart and when we launched the CBD line, we ran into a lot of issues on a federal level so I had to go out and sell in pop ups because I couldn’t sell online. It was a blessing though because the community really showed up and I got to see the moms and babies that love the product – it was amazing.
It’s hard enough to be a mom, but to be a mom and an entrepreneur – where do you find your balance?
In the beginning I used to try to do everything at once and it was really a trigger for my anxiety. I had to learn to delegate, to give away parts that I love (like packing orders) and to trust others. Now, I learned to set up my lanes very clearly and I only work 3 days a week. When I’m in the office I’m 100% in the office and not feeling guilty because that’s where I am supposed to be.
The worst is feeling like you’re in an environment where you can’t give your 100% in either place.
You went through a pretty big change in the business in 2019, can you tell us a bit more about that?
One of my mentors in the personal care space is a world-renowned chemist in our industry and had followed our story so when we got to the point of scale that was really a tipping point, I reached out to him. In August 2019 Wash with Water merged with the largest all-natural skincare manufacturer in the country. It has been a game-changer.
Growing a company there are so many points that are out of your control but now we finally have everything in house and we’re at the helm. The core values didn’t change but now we have access to so many different products and processes – and it’s all right here. It was a slow growth, it was organic in a lot of ways but we are where we need to be.
That must give you so many more options to grow, congratulations! So if you look back to those early days – what advice would you tell yourself? What advice would you tell someone that is looking to start something?
Every day you need to learn and hone your craft. It’s constant work and you need to be doing something each and every day. That’s going to make the difference between a hobby or a career.
What’s in the future for Wash and Water? What’s next?
We recently launched the first and only CBD hair and skincare for the whole family in 2019 and we really got great feedback from our moms. It was scary and challenging at times because we are pioneers in the space but we feel really confident in the science and the feedback has been great. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut and be confident.
This year, we want to launch a tincture line just for moms. We want to shift the conversation to post pregnancy / post breastfeeding mom. To that 40 year old mom that is done with the early stages of babies and having kids and getting back to that self-care stage.
So mamas, a lot of times starting a business can seem like a far out dream, but Stephanie started with an idea and then slowly grew it to a reality. Her story started with an Amish soap maker and a desire to bridge the gap between beauty and baby care. Where will your story start?
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. Because you CAN get all the benefits of fresh homemade, anytime, anywhere.
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