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Mamapreneur : Tactile Baby

Here we are again on Mamapreneur Monday!  I really enjoyed meeting Colleen from Tactile Baby last week.  She is sooooo very talented!  I know you will really love her work.  Again, if you know of a local mom who has started her own business from the ground up and think she’d like a feature on my blog, please contact me at stephanie@bellinipics.com  Thanks and here’s Colleen’s story!

tactile1

Business Name: Tactile Baby

How did you come up with that name: As a life long crafter I have always found my designs evolving from my sense of touch; the grain of wood, nap of textiles, weave of paper. As I watched my son explore his new world I discovered how dominant the sense of touch is in infants. As I began to research and develop a business plan centered around design for infants the name seemed perfectly suited, there were no other choices. Thankfully I was able to get the domain name!

Do you have a store front/website/etsy? blog www.tactilebaby.com / www.tactilebaby.etsy.com

How long have you been in business? I went live on Etsy at the beginning of April 2008

Please explain a little bit about your product/business and how you developed the concept behind it: I’ve always made things, knit, sew, needlework, woodworking. Of course when I found out I was pregnant I went about designing a nursery. When I couldn’t find any bedding I liked, it was a no brainer, I’d make my own. Well, when I was done with the bedding I moved on to a wall quilt, and a wall mural. When we couldn’t find a dresser we liked we, (my husband and I), built one ourselves. After my son was born there was the big lead toy scare and so I decided that I would make some simple wood toys for him. Soon I was hooked and after a bit of gentle prodding from some friends I decided to put up a little store on Etsy.

Gorgeous Handmade Quilt!

Gorgeous Handmade Quilt!

Just one of the adorable stitchings....

Just one of the adorable stitchings....

What makes your product/business so unique? My son’s first Christmas, 2007, was marked by a widely publicized lead paint scare. Each day, it seemed to me, a new toy was being recalled. My son was at the age, 9 months, where everything was going into his mouth, so in a effort to ease our concerns my husband and I decided that we would make all his gifts. I think what makes Tactile Baby unique is that nearly all of the products I produce were first envisioned as things my son would use, and in fact, he does have one of nearly everything in my product line. A mother’s care, concern and eye for the tiniest of details goes into every design.

I want ALL of these adorable stacking toys!

I want ALL of these adorable stacking toys! So cute!!

I adore these counting blocks with little mice!

I adore these mice counting blocks!

Lovely fish puzzle!

Pretty little fish puzzle!

I loved this sign on her son

I loved this handmade sign on her son's bedroom door.

What is the hardest part or have been some of your struggles starting your own business?I have a background in marketing and communications, so I was very concerned that I have a solid business plan before I opened shop. That meant doing a lot of research. A big struggle at the beginning was focusing on planning and spreadsheets when I really wanted to be designing and producing. Now that I have established a brand ID, collateral and product line I find my biggest struggle is to find the time (and energy) to get into my woodshop and sewing studio. My son is 20 months now and curious about everything – I’m simply unable to do any work when he’s around so I find myself working late into the night.

How many children do you have. what are their ages and their ages when you started your business? I have one child, Evan 21 months. He was 1 year old when I opened shop.

Cutie Boy!

Cutie Boy!

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What are some of the creative ways you have found to juggle being a woman, a mother, a business owner, and a wife? When I first started Tactile Baby I was super anxious that every spare moment I had be spent working on the business. But I quickly realized that every other aspect of my life would suffer if that happened. It’s always a struggle, but I’ve found a couple of things have helped me as I adjusted to life as a full-time mom and business owner.

1. Every night we sit down as a family to dinner.

2. I make lists each morning of tasks I want to complete by the end of the day, or week. Checking something off a list gives me a huge sense of accomplishment – and it helps me stay on track.

3. We set aside one afternoon or morning of the weekend for a family activity.

Mother & Son

Mother & Son

Tickle Time

Tickle Time

Who is your biggest inspiration? My grandmothers (both deceased now) were my biggest inspirations, both were creative, brilliant women who taught me all I needed to know about being a wife and mother.

Now for some fun and easy questions….

Favorite meal? Not necessarily a meal, but before we were married my husband and I used to go to a small seafood restaurant in Vancouver, drink a bottle of wine over mussels and lobster. Afterwards we’d go for a walk along the ocean. It was heaven.

Favorite Dessert? I love tiramisu – you always have room for it!

Favorite restaurant (can be anywhere)? I love Mistral in Boston, and Cin Cin in Vancouver

Favorite piece of clothing or accessory? I love a big cozy scarf in the winter.

Favorite vacation spot? Verana Resort in Yelapa Mexico

Favorite childhood memory? Camping with my family

On any given day, what makes you smile? Thinking of my son always makes me smile.

When you have free time (ha!) what would your ideal day entail? Hanging out with my family, doing virtually anything but laundry.

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  • March 2, 2009 - 1:56 pm

    Sedie - This is a really great profile of Colleen. You did an amazing job with the photos and of course, Colleen does really great work, so the combination was wonderful to follow. Thanks!

  • March 2, 2009 - 6:51 pm

    Marla - What a beautiful article/interview of Colleen! Her pictures are as amazing as her work – well done!!

    :0) Marla
    Sea Glass Things

  • March 2, 2009 - 7:22 pm

    Kate - What a great testament to Colleen’s many amazing skills and talents, her artistic scope & vision and oh so beautiful creations!

  • March 5, 2009 - 8:10 pm

    kristen - your work is beautiful and it makes me wish that i had started my own business from the ground up so that you could make me and my son look as wonderful as the other photos on your site. thanks for sharing.

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