Wendy’s Journey to Entrepreneurship:
Snugabell is actually my third profitable business, so I guess it is in my blood! I was freelancing as a pattern maker in the apparel industry after graduating from the Fashion Design program at KPU when I had my first daughter, and my two worlds collided! I decided I wanted to pump so that my husband could take one of the evening feeds and I could get some pattern work done for my clients. It only took one pumping session – sitting on the couch with both hands on the flanges – to decide that there had to be a better way! I went online and Googled for a product that would hold the pump flanges for me however wasn’t happy with anything that I found. And the rest is history! If you had told me, that when I went back to school at 27 to pursue a career in Fashion Design, I would end up designing breastfeeding products, I would have laughed out loud.
Snugabell Mom & Baby Gear supports the beauty of breastfeeding by designing and manufacturing breastfeeding and pumping products for moms who are not willing to forgo fashion for function. With a mission to support moms’ decision to breastfeed through education, community, and beauty, Snugabell sells their varied product line both online and to over 300 retail partners in 14 countries! Snugabell‘s signature product is the award-winning, patented, PumpEase – the world’s ONLY fashionable hands-free pumping bra. Unlike competitors, we continue to manufacture in Canada despite the lure of bigger margins overseas – always maintaining the highest standard of conduct by working with customers in the spirit of understanding, support and mutual respect. With big visions for growth and a strong voice of change in the breastfeeding discussion, we will continue to empower moms in achieving their personal breastfeeding goals while creating the most beautiful products on the market!
Wendy’s Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:
- Write a business plan – do your research, talk to retailers, conduct a focus group, search for competing products, research your proposed business model, what margins are typical in this category, etc.
- Seek out a mentor! The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and Women’s Enterprise Centre both have amazing mentorship programs. This is incredibly invaluable and in the future, you can give back by mentoring a start-up yourself.
- Don’t try to wear too many hats. If you hate bookkeeping, hire a bookkeeper. I know it is scary spending the money when you’re just starting out, however the money you spend will come back to you in spades because you will be able to work ON your business not IN your business.
- Build an amazing team — by hiring for Core Values rather than skills. The latter can be taught, however the former cannot.
- Craft a 30-second elevator pitch and practice, practice, practice! You will want to know your elevator pitch off-by-heart. It’s is a great warm up when you’re networking.
A Golden Nugget: You don’t need retail packaging unless you’re selling to retail! Packaging is expensive. Save the fanciness for your retail orders. Amazon and D2C sales can be presented in a simplified (but still attractive) manner. Remember to incorporate your brand via a sticker or branded tissue.
Join us on March 3/4 in Toronto for The 2017 National Mompreneurs Conference, where we will announce all of our 2017 Mompreneur Award winners – LIVE at the event!