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 firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks and here’s Colleen’s story!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.