with Aliza Sherman
If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.
To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website, www.mediaegg.com.
Categories: Women Entrepreneurs
I had the opportunity to interview Lauren Marguiles, founder of Touchy Tags, while doing research for the upcoming book Mom, Incorporated that I co-wrote with Danielle Smith. She’s a true inspiration and an example of a woman coming up with a useful product based on a genuine need. Here’s her story about starting and running her e-retail store.
Lauren Margulies was a competitive sales woman entrenched in Corporate America when she gave birth to premature twins. As soon as her maternity leave was over, she returned to her job but within a handful of months realized she wanted to stay home with her twin boy and girl. She gave her final notice, and suddenly had no job.
After the birth of her preemies, Lauren began thinking about a product idea but only started taking her casual brainstorming seriously when her twins were eight months old. She really wanted to be with her children full time but also wanted to have a creative outlet for herself.
What is her product, you ask? Touchy Tags are attractive tags that you can hang from your newborn or baby’s car seat, carrier or stroller to display messages such as “Love, Not Germs” and “Are Your Hands Clean.” They’re meant to help people think twice before potentially spreading germs to an infant by reaching over and touching them with dirty hands. Lauren’s company launched when her twins were almost a year old.
Lauren Margulies: My twins were the inspiration. They were 10 weeks premature and spent six weeks in the NICU. Upon their departure, I wanted to make sure they remained healthy and wouldn’t need to come back. I was terrified bringing them outside the hospital doors and having them exposed to germs everywhere. After watching their tiny 3lb bodies, attached to heart monitors, and oxygen tubes, learning how to breathe on their own, I wondered, how could I now protect them?
We were given a makeshift medical tag that we hung on their car seats. This medical tag was unattractive and dramatic. I started casually brainstorming.
“How could these tags be cuter?”
“What other verbiage could be used?”
These ideas spiraled and spiraled until I put action behind my thoughts and developed Touchy Tags.
I was also planning on going back to work after my maternity leave. With them being premature, it changed my mind-set. I didn’t want to be apart from them, but knew I still needed personal motivation, challenges, and a creative outlet.
Entrepreneur Mom: What were some of the initial challenges you faced starting your business from home and how did you overcome them?
Lauren: My biggest initial challenges are the same ones that exist today: time and marketing. I launched Touchy Tags at the same time I left my corporate job to stay home with my twins full-time. I was passionate and committed about being here for them, as well as equally wanting to develop Touchy Tags.
Naptimes, nighttime, and weekends became and still are my big time work hours. My constant commitment to working at naptime, even inspired me to write an article “Naptime CEO” that was featured on The Today Show website.
Regarding the marketing, that is what I spend most efforts doing. Getting my name out there by contacting retailers, bloggers, using social networking sites etc. I am a one-woman show. I need to get out there and sell them!
Entrepreneur Mom: What is your best advice for any woman wanting to start a home-based business with a baby on the way or small children in her midst?
Lauren: Patience. If your ultimate goal is to financially contribute to your household then this is not the way to go. That takes time. For me, it was to be able to stay at home and raise my children and to also have a creative outlet for myself.
Remain patient and dedicated. Work on your business when you can carve out time throughout your week. Remember, these kids grow up and start entering school. By that time, you want your business to be established so that you can elevate it to the next level.
Entrepreneur Mom: What would you do differently or what would you change?
Lauren: I would have money grow on trees. Other than that? Nothing.
Entrepreneur Mom: What is the key to your own personal success?
Lauren: Dedication. I set a goal and I achieve it. In the middle of raising twin babies and starting Touchy Tags, I’ve also become an avid runner. I will be running in the 2011 ING NYC Marathon in November.
I say this, to encourage other moms. You can have kids AND whatever else it is that you want. It does not have to be one or the other. You set a goal and map out a clear and realistic path to achieve it. It takes time, but it is 100% possible.
Visit Touchy Tags.
Know a woman business owner we should feature on this blog? Please let us know about her!
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