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According to psychological studies, first impressions are formed within seven to 17 seconds of meeting someone. Moreover, 55% of that opinion is determined by an individual’s physical appearance. In job interviews, it’s vital to look put-together and professional, as your appearance can indicate how equipped you are to do the job at-hand. That impression might be right or wrong, but it’s real.

Now, a new study has found that if a company decides to hire someone, the way a candidate answers one important question could make all the difference in how much they make every year — but the “right” answer also depends on one specific factor: their gender.

Most of those in the business world know appearance is not all that comes into play during an important interview. The skills a candidate possesses are of immense importance to many employers. In fact, 77% of employers surveyed think personality skills are just as important as hard skills, and 16% of them find them to be more important. The way a candidate responds to questions is crucial, too. Their answers can help managers determine whether they might be a good fit for both the position and the company.

But whether or not employers realize it, they likely have some implicit bias when it comes to interviewing candidates of different genders. And according to new research from PayScale, whether or not a candidate decides to disclose their pay history when asked — and the gender of the candidate in question — has a big effect on their salary once they’ve gotten the job.

The study found that around half of Americans stated prospective employers have inquired about their pay history. Of those who were asked, around 23% declined to answer. This decision literally pays off for male candidates, as men who refuse to disclose their current salaries get paid 1.2% more on average once hired.

Women who play coy, however, receive the opposite treatment. Female candidates who won’t disclose their pay history in interviews earn 1.8% less than those who do. Women already make 90 cents on the dollar, Pew data shows, for every dollar men make, but the decision to not divulge created a 3% pay gap between those men and women surveyed.

The findings stand in stark contrast to the advice that women have received in the past. Both men and women alike are urged not to talk about previous salaries during negotiations for new positions, but for women, this advice has seemed even more critical. If they disclose their previously lower salaries, they might end up making even less, comparatively, in their new position than male employees. But since other research has shown women have been penalized for being too assertive in salary negotiations as well, these findings leave women with few options.

Apparently, you just can’t win.

Although McKinsey research has found that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers, many organizations make it difficult for women to even get through an initial interview unscathed.
Another study conducted by TimesJobs, based out of India, found that while employees of either gender are sometimes asked inappropriate or awkward questions in interviews, about 40% of female employees have been asked questions related to family planning, while 35% say they were asked about their relationship or marital status during interviews. Around 20% were asked questions relating to age, weight, or size. Overall, 80% of the female professionals surveyed said they’ve had to respond to inappropriate inquiries in these settings. While these findings may not reflect the exact trends happening in U.S. interviews, it highlights the fact that gender inequality in the workplace is still a universal issue.

Fortunately, the U.S. does have protections in place about what interviewers are allowed to ask, and some state and local governments are enacting measures to stop employers from asking about salary history altogether. Massachusetts recently passed a law, which will go into effect next summer, that will prohibit local companies from asking applicants about their pay history before a job offer is extended. New York City has also passed legislation that will keep employers from sticking their noses in their candidates’ salary business.

In addition, the Pay Equity for All Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives just a couple of months ago. While it has yet to move ahead, it would ban employers from asking about salaries all across the nation. That said, that bill is predicted to have a very small chance of being passed, so it may be up to the states — and individual organizations — to ensure all applicants are given an equal playing field, regardless of gender identity.

 We recently had the opportunity to interview the moms at Travel-Tot before they headed to Louisville for this year’s ABC Kids Expo. If you’ve been wondering about displaying at a large tradeshow, the investment, and how it can help your business, this post is for you!

Market Mommy:: Tell us a little bit about your business.

Travel-Tot:: At Travel-Tot, we produce an award winning travel childproofing kit. It is an affordable, temporary, all-in-one childproofing kit that provides a layer of protection as well as peace of mind for families wherever they travel… hotels, motels and even grandma’s house!

What makes our product unique to the market is that it is temporary and completely non-damaging to furniture, yet provides everything necessary for childproofing on the go. Hotel rooms are comfortable and convenient for adults and now they will address basic childproofing needs and create an instantly safer environment for children.

This is a product that takes some consumer education. It’s critical and even essential that families childproof when they are away from home and it is a thought that in the midst of the hustle and bustle of travel planning often gets lost. This is one of our marketing challanges, and we’ve found some great ways to get the word out there.

Market Mommy:: Have you ever exhibited at the ABC show before?

Travel-Tot:: We have! We launched our product, the Travel Childproofing Kit there 2 years ago. It was a huge deal for us and the response was amazing.

Market Mommy:: Have you ever exhibited elsewhere?

Travel-Tot:: We’ve done a few trade shows, the biggest being the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant show in NYC. We exhibited there because not only are we selling to retailers nationwide, but we are also working with hotels and lodging providers to provide basic safety and peace of mind for families who stay with them. At the IHMRS we were thrilled to win the Editor’s Choice award for Best New Amenity!

Market Mommy:: Why did you choose to exhibit this year?

Travel-Tot:: Last year was all about logistics and production for us, as well as solidifying our partnerships with the hotel industry. It’s been a huge learning curve. Our team has a ton of experience in sales and marketing but we’ve had a lot to pick up on the other side.

The ABC Show helps us take the temperature of the industry in a few short days. It helps us maximize our travel budget and fortify retail relationships that we are just building. Since this is a new industry for us, this step is crucial.

Market Mommy:: What are your goals for the show, what do you hope to accomplish?

Travel-Tot:: We’d like to make sure that every buyer, rep and media outlet attending the show knows our name and what Travel-Tot is all about. We aim high over here!

Market Mommy:: How big of a financial investment is this for you?

Travel-Tot:: Anytime you talk about undertaking a trade show it’s going to be a big investment. It’s worth it though for the exposure alone.

Market Mommy:: How big of an hour/time investment is this for the business?

Travel-Tot:: The prep work for a show like this is huge. We would never want to show up and WISH we’d done something different so we’re constantly making lists of must haves and nice to haves, and split up the responsibilities to make sure everything we need done is addressed.

Market Mommy:: What are you doing to prepare? What are you taking? media kits, products, samples, takeaways?

Travel-Tot:: So much of what we do is about what the take-away is. So yes, it’s our media kit that outlines who we are, what awards we’ve won and the fantastic press we’ve garnered over the last two years. We’ll also have product in the booth to demo and display, plenty of marketing materials and always good snacks!

Market Mommy:: Did you have to invest in a display? How are you designing your space?

Travel-Tot:: We did invest in a display. We’re in a 10×10 space (booth #1944, come on by!) and we have a fantastic graphic backdrop. It’s so important at an event like this to catch someone’s eye. From the beginning we have put a lot of stock in our branding, so we want to show it off in all of it’s finest!

Market Mommy:: Why is the ABC expo part of your marketing plan? What efforts are you doing in conjunction with this?

Travel-Tot:: The ABC show is the only event of it’s kind and size in the US. Bang for your buck you really can’t find a better way to touch more retailers in one space in such a short period of time. Yes it’s an investment in time, money and effort but the end result is fantastic exposure and tons of personal relationships you might not have made via phone or email.

The ABC Kids Expo is currently going on in Louisville! If you’d like to hear more about Travel-Tot’s experience there this year, watch our blog in the next two weeks for the follow-up interview!

 

By Mindee Doney

It’s been fantastic to share the news recently of my little idea (Boogie Wipes) being acquired by an awesome big company, Nehemiah Manufacturing out of Cincinnati, OH.  Not only do they bring experienced management for the Boogie brand but they also contribute tremendous amounts of social value and goodwill into their community.  They will no doubt take good care of our consumers and retailers the same way they do with their other wipe product, Pampers Kandoo Wipes

It’s truly wonderful to know I built a solid brand they saw value in AND they will give back to those in need with the revenue they generate from it. Dream come true for this Mompreneur! As the news begins to circulate of the acquisition I find many people surprised to know I am not a Mommy Millionaire.  I thought it would be good to share a little about what happened to me and how deals like this often work (until I find the time to write a book about it.) I know there are many entrepreneurs out there just like me, growing their ideas into booming businesses with the hopes of big dollar signs at the end of their journey. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome motivation and definitely something to strive for. It’s also good to know that it might not happen that way and that’s Ok too. You’re a dreamer and your going to survive no matter what happens! 

I’m hoping maybe this little dose of my reality can help you plan a bit better than I did. I wasn’t prepared to be left unemployed and without income when Boogie Wipes sold and it’s been a tough adjustment for me, a bit of a blow to my ego and definitely a story I know sharing will help others not to make the same mistakes I did.

If you are able to maintain 100% control and equity in your company when it is acquired or licensed, you may in fact live out the dream of some long term financial security for you and your family.  For me, I simply didn’t have the millions it took to fund the company in the beginning, so my slice of the pie was much, much smaller. I took on a business partner (which is another topic I can share a lot of lessons learned on) and that cut my share in half, we needed investors which took another chunk.  The acquisition moved our company, Little Busy Bodies, Inc to Cincinnati, our local Oregon office was closed and many of the employees had to be let go. 

While the deal itself had lots of zeros in it, there were many people in line for one of them and by the time it was said and done, I had lost all control of who got what. I had made the choice early on to stay focused on my role in marketing.  I was creating brand awareness, responding to consumers, developing new products, creating retail sales programs and managing the marketing team I put together. I felt blessed to be able to do that work and I didn’t particularly like the numbers game so I didn’t pay much attention to how the company was being run and how the money was being spent. 

By the time I realized the importance of staying in touch with it and having a voice with our financial choices, it was too late for my opinion to matter to anyone.  We had a board of advisors making those decisions, investors, creditors, attorneys and all the usual characters. When the acquisition happened, we had lots of outstanding debt we had to pay back.  The product took off so fast, we could hardly keep up with the demand and needed to take in lots of outside money to fund the inventory cycle. Next in line for the payday were all those fancy business men in suits it takes to do valuations and spreadsheets and fill out the paperwork in a deal like this. They too get a nice piece of the pie. And, of course, we needed to pay back the answered prayers that invested in Boogie Wipes when it was not much more than a shot in the dark. Those guys get their money back plus a little more and I must say that part  does feel good, considering they did risk their own hard earned money on a somewhat quirky nose wipe idea. 

At the end of it all, despite a multi-million dollar payout on my idea….I got nothing. 

It was a bummer but definitely something I had a role in contributing to and ultimately something I had to accept.  The good news is that I DO still have those shares and possibly, down the road, they will be worth something.  For today, they are just worth the pride and credibility I have for all I contributed. I always have my fingers crossed that maybe someday, I really will get to put away some money for my kids college funds but it certainly hasn’t happened yet. In the meantime, I’m moving on to what’s next and trying to learn all I can from what’s happened.

It was definitely a hard thing to see my hard work pad everyone else’s pockets. I’ve had more than a few meltdowns and frustrating moments. I recognize my contributions and the ignorance I had to end up here and vow never to let it happen again. Ultimately, I can’t change what’s done thou and fighting it only seems to makes things worse,  I’ve chosen to focus on the silver lining, half full glass.  For 4 years I got to develop my idea, share it with grateful consumers who loved it and I got to do work I truly LOVED and was passionate about. I got paid well for that work and that helped fund my kids little league, yearly check-ups, and dance camps and created many smiles for them. The memories I made and the people I met were magical. My family, my career, my priorities and my spirit are much stronger after having been through all I did at Boogie Wipes. 

I honestly wouldn’t trade it for anything. Hopefully you will click away from my story with a sense of empowerment and a new awareness for your situation, your own visions and the value of a positive attitude.  An acceptance that really none of us are secure in anything in business or life.  As an entrepreneur or in a stable 9-5, stay at home Mom, single, divorced, health issues, family changes, business, accidents, lotteries and love loss.  Suddenly, the life we dream of and plan for can shift significantly and we can all be left starting over with fear, worry and wonder of what’s next? 

Use it for the better. Use that understanding to fuel the courage you need to stand up for what’s yours, be present in every moment, keep an eye on the parts of your business you don’t always love (we all have them) and never stop dreaming of better days ahead.  I have used what I learned to start my new consulting business  where I’m helping other idea people test their concepts with consumers and retailers.  I can help them replicate the sales and awareness I created at Boogie Wipes and now because of all I learned in the acquisition, I can give them some tips on protecting their idea and their financial security as their company grows.

We live in an amazing time where anything is possible.  Big paydays at the end of it all or not…. to be grateful for where you have been, excited for where you are going and love what you do is truly a beautiful life. Thank you for letting me share my story here Market Mommy. It’s something I have wanted to do for a while and this was the perfect chance. 

Be Well and Boogie On!

Mindee Doney: Author, Inventor (Boogie Wipes®), Idea Consultant.Tired of chasing her kids runny noses, Mindee herself ran with an idea she had for a saline infused nose wipe she called a Boogie Wipe ®. In 2007, she partnered with Julie Pickens and by 2011 grew her concept, to $12 million in sales, with distribution to 50,000 retail locations in 8 countries.  She managed all PR, marketing and branding herself and landed Boogie Wipes® on the Today Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutch, Good Morning America, in People Magazine, The NY Times and countless others.  She is the author of Get your Own Juicebox – Confident Moms raising Capable Kids (May, 2012) and consults an exclusive group of start-ups through her company Juice Box Consulting. 

 

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From Mindee Doney (Boogie Wipes® and Juicebox Idea Consulting)

I occasionally run into a Mom so disappointed with her business results, she can hardly muster the energy for another email, another sales call or another tweet.  Typically, after some analysis of her character, where she is, where she was and where she wants to go, I discover without fail her disappointment stems from expectations that did not hit her target.

All too often it’s the target’s fault, not hers.  We spend some time reviewing what she thought would happen when she spent her mad money on business cards and a postage machine.  Her expectations are through the roof and unrealistic for a small business just starting out. She has usually had many moments of guts and glory to be proud of and yet they did not line up to where she thought she would be leading her to feel defeated.

Unfortunately, there are more glorified stories of Moms in business than there is truth of how they got there. The media, blogs and events you attend show Moms smiling and sugar filled with their moments of success and reward. They tell of selling a product or service online, at a tradeshow, on etsy, through friends. Then landing a storefront, a local chain and then a retail giant like Babies”R”Us.  Their intentions are admirable to the moon and back!  They want to encourage YOU to try, to start to enjoy and give what you have to offer with your business idea.

It’s a wonderful thing that we do all need to hear from time to time.  Usually, however, these Mompreneurs are often not given the time or the platform to share details of the “other side” of the story.  Every action has an equal opposite reaction. They ALL had their own moments of disappointment, shifting gears, re-thinking and head scratching about how exactly they ended up on their dining room floor stuffing packages at 1:30 in the morning…..and still not making a profit.  

We can’t change the fact that everyone wants to hear the happy side of running your own business. We don’t really want to change that anyway. It’s good stuff. What we can change, however, is our level of discouragement and disappointment while moving through these inevitable tough spots.  I usually find it’s a  pretty easy fix with most of the clients I work with.  We start by making an “I Expect” list like this one:

–          I expect to be up late at night a few nights a week working on my business.

–          I expect to spend $1200 on a tradeshow and maybe only generate a sale or two.

–          I expect it will take me at least a year to be able to pay myself a salary.

–          I expect my family and friends will help me work in the business sometimes.

–          I expect to be selling in 3 local boutiques within 3 months of receiving my first order.

–          I expect to have 10 repeat customers within the first 6 months.

–          I expect to meet a lot of new people and take in many new experiences.

–          I expect to have my product featured on 4 blogs by the end of the year.

–          I expect to have 300 facebook likes by this summer.

These are just examples but you get the idea. Each business model is different. This exercise will help align your expectations going into your journey so when you hit the speed bumps you feel prepared. You were ready, you can understand what you need to do to push through them and move onto the next step. It will also give you some goals to go back and reflect on and you will no doubt find some places to feel accomplished and proud. 

Especially the first few years, focus on the personal rewards for you and your family, and your career as much as the monetary.   I expect if you align your expectations often enough, you just might find yourself on the shelves of Target® …with a smile on your face.

Mindee Doney: Author, Inventor (Boogie Wipes®), Idea Consultant.Tired of chasing her kids runny noses, Mindee herself ran with an idea she had for a saline infused nose wipe she called a Boogie Wipe ®. In 2007, she partnered with Julie Pickens and by 2011 grew her concept, to $12 million in sales, with distribution to 50,000 retail locations in 8 countries.  She managed all PR, marketing and branding herself and landed Boogie Wipes® on the Today Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutch, Good Morning America, in People Magazine, The NY Times and countless others.  She is the author of Get your Own Juicebox – Confident Moms raising Capable Kids (May, 2012) and consults an exclusive group of start-ups through her company Juice Box Consulting. 

Have you tried Boogie Wipes? What are they? Boogie Wipes are made with natural saline to dissolve boogies (mucus) caused by the common cold, allergies or otherwise booger-filled kid moments. The gentle saline wipes come in Great Grape, Magic Menthol, Original – Fresh and Simply Unscented. They are alcohol free, extra soft and moisturize with vitamin E and aloe to keep noses from chapping when blowing and wiping all of the time.

Boogie Wipes were created by the Boogie Moms, Mindee Doney & Julie Pickens.

Not only has the pair developed the first ever saline nose wipe, they are also using their success to promote education among parents and kids with their Save the Sleeve campaign. The fun, interactive site shows kids ways that they can stop the spread of germs. It features educational games, gross facts, jokes along with the Boogie Wipes characters, Amy Allergy, Chilly Chuck and more.

Kids can become an official Boogie Kid when they take the pledge to Save the Sleeve and even earn a backpack badge. Boogie Wipes were developed as a solution for Doney and Pickens’ kids’ runny, red and sore noses. They are a great way to fight colds and ease the discomfort of allergies.

Save the Sleeve also has a special section for teachers, encouraging them to practice healthy habits in their classrooms. Entire classrooms can take the pledge to stop the spread of germs!

As successful mom entrepreneurs, Doney and Pickens have taken their knowledge and used it to help other mom business owners and inventors through speaking engagements and other media. They have created a blog, The Business of Being a Mom, to document their entrepreneurial journey while inspiring and educating others.

In addition to Boogie Wipes, Save the Sleeve and The Business of Being a Mom, the pair can also be found on Twitter and Facebook. Join the Boogie Bunch now and get an instant coupon!

*This is a sponsored post purchased as part of an advertising package by Boogie Wipes.

 

 

Who doesn’t need to save time? We’re all so busy with work, kids, husband, errands and our plethora of other responsibilities that it’s no wonder we crave any little tid bit that can help us save time, become more productive or multitask just a little bit better!

Here are five quick time savers that you may not have thought of. Have fun implementing them into your daily routines. Let me know how it goes!

  1. Prepare as much food and as many meals as you can for the upcoming week on the weekend. Chop vegetables for dinners or snacks and store them in the refrigerator. Freeze a dish that you can pop into the oven later in the week. Gather your supplies for an easy crock pot meal.
  2. Mornings rough? Make sure you have the kids’ school clothes out and ready the night before. Same with backpacks and homework; make sure it’s all packed up and ready to go the next morning before  you hit the hay the night before.
  3. Being organized can help you accomplish more while the kids are at school or napping. Keeping your to-do list prioritized will help you get more done when it’s time to sit down and get some work done.
  4. Save time by combining tasks. Don’t make extra trips to the bank or post office in the middle of the day. Stop before you pick up the kids from school or some other time when you already need to be out and about.
  5. Delegate. Have an assistant? Make sure you’re using her to her potential. Have your hubby run an errand for you or have your kids help stuff envelopes. Others are usually more than willing to help if you just ask!

Janie McQueen is the co-owner and mom behind Susu & John. She started the boutique that sells classic, high style baby bonnets, hat and clothing in the spring of 2009. The shop offers baby bonnets in three sizes that fit ages four months to three years, based on a unique heirloom pattern; bucket hats with a unique buttons-all-‘round feature, and matching clothing and diaper covers.

As with any home-based business, balance is the key. McQueen said she tends to get a lot done first thing in the morning while her 19-month-old twins are busy eating breakfast and playing. “I’m a born multitasker so I’m happiest this way,” she said. McQueen said she does not usually work much in the evenings so that she can relax and enjoy her family.

Her business pretty much revolves around Susu (short for Sophia Susannah) and John, her twins who are also her company namesake and models. She also has two older boys, Riley age 13 and Thomas age 11 who help a lot. “They’ll babysit while I do a more detailed task and often I repay them with something special,” she said. “I also get a lot of support from my husband.” However, she said, “probably my biggest ace in the hole is that I type like a bat out of h*– er, heck. I’m a former journalist!”

“I think the ideal home business is one that dovetails with your lifestyle and the people in it,” said McQueen. “I know some moms who choose to work into the wee hours, and they might be night owls, unlike me. Some people do best compartmentalizing. But I don’t hide my business–my office is the breakfast room space off the kitchen where I can see everybody–I actually chose that space in our new house instead of a spare room we have– and I involve my children in the biz where I can. They learn how to do certain things and respect when I’m on deadline (usually).”

Susu & John can be found online, on Twitter and on Facebook!

Market Mommy:: When and why did you found your business?

Victoria:: My father founded All in the Cards 20 years ago, and I joined him in the business more 10 years ago. He is now semi-retired and I run the family business. My sister and brother have also joined me in doing so.

Market Mommy::  How long did it take before you felt successful?

Victoria:: Hmmmmmm! I will let you know! Still working on that one!

Market Mommy:: How do you define success?

Victoria:: To be able to balance business with family and personal life – being happy in both- simultaneously.

Market Mommy:: How do you balance parenting with running your business?

Victoria:: It’s challenging. There is always the pull…being organized. Being organized with time, everything is on a schedule….my calendar and my lists! Any extra time I have is with my family and my children. Knowing in business there is always tomorrow, but if you miss a ballet recital – there isn’t!

Market Mommy:: When did you break the six-figure threshold?

Victoria:: Before I worked for my family business, when I was an assistant to a president at a major dept store in NYC.

Market Mommy:: What business strategies contributed to your success?

Victoria:: Building a strong team. I am blessed to work with a very dedicated and talented team. You are as good as the people who surround you!

Market Mommy:: What specific marketing efforts really paid off for you? 

Victoria:: Word of mouth….bringing great product at a great value, keeps our customers coming back, and sharing AIC with their family and friends….sending our cards to them for special occasions and birthdays!

Market Mommy:: What advice do you have for moms who are just starting out on their entrepreneur adventure?

Victoria:: Love what you do. Be passionate about it! Work hard and love what you do. It’s the key to my success!

 

This post is part of a new series on Market Mommy, Achieving $uccess. These posts detail the journey these mom entrepreneurs have taken to reach sales of six figures and beyond. How do they balance it all? What strategies have worked for them? What advice do they have for you, the new mom entrepreneur? Follow our blog for many more Achieving $uccess stories in the near future.

 

Market Mommy:: When and why did you found your business?

Sandra:: I yearned to avoid the throw-away plastic baggies, the plastic Tupperware food containers and the plastic/vinyl lunchboxes sold at the big-box retailers that are so ubiquitous. But as I searched high and low in sporting goods stores, big-box retailers and online, I was unable to put together a lunch kit that met my needs. I wondered, “What is the best way to pack a lunch?” That was when, about five years ago, I resolved to develop a lunch kit for kids ages 3 to 103… Something healthy for people and the planet.

What I’ve come up with is a back-to-the-basics solution. The kit starts with a 100 percent cotton, machine washable bag with matching cloth napkins. Inside the bag, which can be converted from shoulder bag, to sling bag to backpack, are reusable bamboo utensils, and a two-level stainless steel ECOlunchbox sized to fit a sandwich. What have I left out? Plastics. Disposables. Vinyl. PVC. Lead. And, of course, the lunch. That part is up to you!

Market Mommy:: How long did it take before you felt successful?

Sandra:: I felt successful when I completed the final design of our ECOlunchbag + 3 napkins and realized that the backpack-style bag designed to fit our napkins and stainless steel lunchboxes would be a unique addition to sustainable lunchware offerings internationally. I was happy with my idea. And I felt successful even though I hadn’t sold even one item yet! Positive thinking is so important for entrepreneurs when starting a new venture. Always believe! And it’s never too early to celebrate successes.

Market Mommy:: How do you define success?

Sandra:: The definition of success is constantly changing. I felt successful to some extent when I sold the first 100 handmade cotton ECOlunchbags + 3 Napkins and the first 100 stainless steel ECOlunchboxes. Celebrating successes, no matter how small, is crucial to firing the engine for great successes. No success is too small to celebrate. But it took about 18 months before the business was operating in the black and that felt like an important a marker of success. Now I seek to achieve more success in increasing our distribution nationwide and internationally. We have distributors in Canada and Australia, but I’d like to find an eco products distributor in Europe to help us reach those markets, as well. That would be success, too!

Market Mommy:: How do you balance parenting with running your business?

Sandra:: I’ve worked from home in various capacities over the last 10 years and it was natural I would do the same with ECOlunchboxes. I am a working mother and balance my business and home responsibilities. I like to be present in the children’s lives and available to volunteer at their school. This spreads me thin, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My staff and my husband are a big part of making this juggling act a success. Yes, I do need childcare help, but because I’m my own boss I set my own daily schedule as well as vacation schedules so I can spend time with my family. And just as importantly, I can change my company headquarters and run my business remotely from a vacation home during school vacations or wherever since I have set up ECOlunchboxes to function effectively using cloud computing services and remote network access.

Market Mommy::  When did you break the six-figure threshold? 

Sandra:: 2010 has been an amazing year! There’s an appetite out there for sustainable products and ECOlunchboxes has benefited from this growing consumer awareness as well as an overarching desire among so many families to make an environmental difference by greening their lifestyles. I only see this trend growing in the years ahead, but ECOlunchboxes also has to be prepared for increased competition as this consumer products category continues to grow and attract more interest.

Market Mommy::  What business strategies contributed to your success?

Sandra:: I’ve kept our overhead as low as possible for as long as possible so we can re-invest the savings in the growth of ECOlunchboxes. This is one of the reasons I’ve chosen to keep ECOlunchboxes a virtual company and use cloud computing services and outsource fulfillment services. I’m not seeking to grow a big organization. I’d like to keep our company light on its feet and as scalable as possible, especially since our product is seasonal and we have big spikes in demand in during back-to-school lunchbox season.

Market Mommy:: What specific marketing efforts really paid off for you?

Sandra:: Public relations. Tell your story authentically. And if you’re not sure what your story is find out by sitting down with a friend or two and ask them to listen to you tell your story. Make a recording of what you say and listen to it later. You have a story… find it and tell it.

Market Mommy:: What advice do you have for moms who are just starting out on their entrepreneur adventure?

Sandra:: Dream. Believe. Then, get Real: do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis and listen to what the data shows. Once you begin, you will find strength to persist as you “dream,” “believe” and reflect on your “SWOT” analysis.

ECOlunchboxes can be found online in several locations. In addition to their website, they also are on Twitter and Facebook. Read about Ecolunchboxes in the news and why you should green your lunch!

 

  

This post is part of a new series on Market Mommy, Achieving $uccess. These posts detail the journey these mom entrepreneurs have taken to reach sales of six figures and beyond. How do they balance it all? What strategies have worked for them? What advice do they have for you, the new mom entrepreneur? Follow our blog for many more Achieving $uccess stories in the near future.

 

There is a new business service emerging that will change the landscape of market research for new and growing small businesses. I’m very excited to tell you about QuestionMoms.com – a software solution that connects business owners, inventors and entrepreneurs with moms across the United States and Canada for research and market feedback.

If you’ve already started a business and launched your product or service, wouldn’t you have loved to have some honest feedback before you got started? Market research is a crucial element to any marketing or business plan, but so many over look it. Now, there is a way for you to do credible, reliable market research at a reasonable cost!

But, first things first. QuestionMoms.com is currently growing their panel of moms who will answer the questions honestly and in confidence. Will they buy your product? How much would they pay? Is this marketing message effective? These are all questions you will be able to ask and/or answer for other entrepreneurs if you’re on the panel.

And, the panel will get paid for answering the surveys. Any mom can sign up now to participate.  You automatically get $3 just for signing up and then most questionnaires pay $1.00 and take less than 5 minutes to complete. You can respond to as many or as few as you’d like. Go here to sign up for the panel and use referral code MarketMommy, so they know I sent you.

In addition, QuestionMoms.com is working to create an expert panel. You can vote for Market Mommy, and other mentors and coaches who have helped you grow your business here. Be sure to leave a comment and testimonial as to why you think our advice has been especially beneficial to you.