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Women have been opening nearly 4 in 10 of every new business since 2007. Combine that with the fact that the number of women-owned businesses has increased from 5.4 million to 9.1 million — we can calculate that, on average, there have been 591 net new women-owned businesses started per day.
A little more than a third of all of those businesses have been opened within the retail industry, and ecommerce is a major part of a successful retail strategy. Indeed, women-owned online businesses are booming and many cite the convenience of work being only a click away as to why. After all, the labor force participation rate for mothers with children under 18 is 70% –– for whom a work-life balance is of high importance.
To celebrate all of the women both exercising their business acumen and raising the next generation, we caught up with three women-owned online stores to get their insight on family, career and the true definition of success.
TwirlyGirl: Filling a Childrenswear Gap Bigger Brands Ignored
Meet Cynthia Jamin, CEO and designer at TwirlyGirl, an online store selling comfortable and reversible dresses for girls. TwirlyGirl has been in business since 2007, when the idea to create dresses both young girls and their parents love became a reality. Today, the dresses can be found in boutiques across the country and Jamin remains dedicated to making each and every piece by hand with fabric she picks out herself from the L.A. fashion district.
We caught up with Jamin to talk about how motherhood led her down a path of entrepreneurship.
On the Beginnings of TwirlyGirl
TwirlyGirl didn’t come about because I wanted to start a business. To the contrary, I was just a mom looking to buy a really soft and comfortable dress for my daughters. I like soft fabrics and fun colors so that’s what I looked for, but I couldn’t find anything that fit the bill.
A lot of what I found was either cheaply made from rough fabrics, was age-inappropriate or dull. Many had itchy seams that I knew would drive my daughters crazy. So, I took some sewing lessons and went fabric shopping. I came up with a reversible twirly dress that my daughters absolutely loved –– and so did their friends. Soon, other mothers were asking if I would sew dresses for their daughters.
TwirlyGirl was born because there was a void in the marketplace that other brands weren’t filling.
On Understanding a Parent’s Purchasing Mindset
When I design our clothing, I think about how my daughters will react to it. The only thing that’s important to them is how it feels, and how it makes them feel when they wear it. Of course, parents have a different agenda.
They’re more concerned that the garment be easy to care for, durable and high quality. As a mother, the question always going through my mind is, “Are you going to make my life easier and my children happy?’” And when that’s the case, I’m all in. I’m sure our customers feel the same way, because once they purchase, they always come back for more –– and they always tell their friends.
On Understanding Child Behavior
Motherhood has made me super sensitive to the wants and needs of the child wearing our garments. I don’t understand giving a child a beautiful garment then saying, “You can only wear this on special occasions, and don’t get that dirty.”
Children, no matter how careful, are going to get their clothes dirty and messy. So, we never design our clothes to be ‘precious.’ They are meant for everyday wear. When they get dirty, just toss it in the washing machine. We want them to love to live in it.
On How Motherhood Affects TwirlyGirl’s Customer Service
My time is precious because I’m pulled from every direction. I assume everyone, mother or not, is as busy as I am. If someone is taking the time to ask a question or needs help placing an order, we respond immediately –– even if it’s after business hours.
We check our email at midnight or 6 a.m. even on Sundays and holidays. We don’t wait until business hours to respond. We respond right away. I love hearing customers say, “That is crazy fast service, thank you so much!” I want them to know that we care and we are available. I don’t want them to waste any time wondering if we will get back to them and when.
I have a problem with a pair of boots that I bought from my favorite shoe manufacturer right now. They’re a giant brand, and I’m sure you’ve heard of them. I emailed their customer support three days ago, and I still haven’t heard back from them. Not only are they not fixing my problem, they don’t even have the courtesy to tell me they’re not going to fix my problem. Unbelievable –– and I’m a good customer! If someone at TwirlyGirl treated one of our customers that way, heads would roll.
Little Roseberry: Making the Organic Children’s Products You Can’t Find at Whole Foods
Meet Brizy Tait, founder of Little Roseberry, an online store selling organic children’s products. Tait started Little Roseberry when her child, Terje, was a toddler. She found herself inside Whole Foods looking for natural children’s skin care products made with real fruits and veggies. As a parent, she wanted something better for her son’s skin –– not just another water-diluted product –– made with soothing ingredients.
Not able to find the products she was looking for, Tait created them herself. From organic skin care products to super foods, we caught up with her to get the details on how motherhood continues to drive her business forward.
On Creating a Mom-Centric Brand
I implement business strategies, thinking on how the modern mom is going to react to what we offer. I know what moms love and need because I am a mother myself. It would be completely different if I wasn’t a mom. I offer products that I know moms would really benefit from having, from blog postings to recipes, YouTube videos to mom must-have lists and even a questionnaire for moms to express their feelings and to share their emotions and journey, rather than just pushing a sale. This has allowed my business to build trust and makes parents more willing to give our company a chance, which generates sales for us.
On Utilizing Learned Patience and Understanding in Business
The most important thing motherhood has taught me is to be more understanding. When you have a young child, you very soon learn the gift of patience.
With my employees, I’ve learned to be more understanding. At times, I find my staff members frustrated if they can’t figure out a task or bored if we are in slow season. I find ways to keep them engaged. Happy employees mean a happy business owner. Being a mother makes you a great problem-solver –– and I’m sure many moms can relate.
On Building Customer Leads and Loyalty for Mother’s Day
We offer a giveaway that ends seven days before Mother’s Day each year and we also send an email discount to our current customer base. Our giveaway is a way of giving back to our lovely moms –– because without them, Little Roseberry wouldn’t be here.
Our giveaway allow us to collect emails and get more business shares for the two weeks prior to Mother’s Day. Five days before Mother’s Day, we email a three-day promotional email blast, with a 10-25% discount. This has helped us to build our customer list and generate loyal customers.
We also giveaway baskets filled with the founder’s most loved items, which include Little Roseberry products of course, as well as other product brands and goodies. The contest is super easy:
- They have to enter a small blurb and picture on why they are the best mom.
- They have to share the photo and blurb every day using Facebook and Instagram for a chance to win.
- They have to enter their email in our Mother’s Day giveaway.
- At the end, we select three lucky winners randomly who followed all the rules.
Most of the time, it’s kids who are the ones entering their mothers and this snowballs into a super amazing opportunity for us to get more business leads. After all, who doesn’t like to brag about their mom?
Neck of the Woods: Creating Clothing to Encourage a Sense of Place
Meet Kristin Haver, co-founder and owner of Neck of the Woods, an online store selling organic children’s clothing designed by local artists throughout the country. Inspired by the ability to give every child a sense of place and pride through the clothes they wear, Haver tapped her own Austin, Texas network of artists to help kickstart the idea. Today, Neck of the Woods features organic state pride clothing for seven states as well as just good old American pride shirts.
We caught up with the mother of two to talk about how passion, community and awareness affect her day to day business.
On How Motherhood Launched a Passionate Business
Motherhood and our family adventures are what inspired our brand. I am a mom that is in constant search of quality shirts, with good local designs. I wanted our kids to wear clothing that looked cute and sparked interesting conversations about where they are from and their travels. There is so much passion and love for the brand that it doesn’t really feel like work –– it feels like another extension or element of our family.
On Creating a Motherhood Community of Support
The marketing side of the businesses has been fun because I’ve already been supporting other small shops and businesses online, which are usually run by other mothers. It becomes one giant “motherhood community” where all the moms from all over the world are sharing each others’ shops, coupons, specials and the love of good quality and design.
On Newfound Productivity and Efficiency
Motherhood has increased my focus while I work from home with the kids. I have a few hours a week while they go to daycare, so it’s all about making the most out of those days. I honestly have never been more productive or efficient in all my life. My reward for getting everything knocked out on those “daycare days” is that if I do, I get to spend some sweet, quality time with my kiddos.
On Doing Her Part to Make Raising a Family a Little Easier
As a mother and business owner, I’m always thinking about what I would want from our business. Neck of the Woods sales explode when we offer promotions, coupons and discounts. We offer quite a few, because as a mom, I too am always looking for “specials.”
I understand that it takes a lot of time and energy to create a product, ship it, market it and still have time for household duties, the kids, your partner and lots of fun. It all adds up. If we can save other families a few dollars, it’s worth it to show our appreciation to other families.
Do you know a female entrepreneur who seamlessly blends motherhood and business acumen? Give them a shoutout in the comments below.
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