What inspired you to start your business and when did you officially start?
Before I started TushBaby, I had two young girls who constantly wanted to be held. I couldn’t find a comfortable carrier that simplified my life — and that my kids liked! Wraps were complicated and got too hot too fast. Strap-in carriers often took two people to put on, and my kids almost immediately wanted out. And carrying my kids on my hips was a pain in my back, arms, and neck. So in early 2018 I designed TushBaby, a simple, ergonomic hip seat that evenly distributes kid’s weight to make life a little easier for parents like me. We launched our Kickstarter page in May of 2018, and then landed on Shark Tank a month after. The episode aired in January 2019 and sales really took off.
Do you remember when you made your first order? Tell us what that felt like.
Of course I remember! The first order was when we started Kickstarter for 500 units, which felt like a ton. When we sold out of them in the first few days I knew I needed to order more. By the end of the Kickstarter, I ordered 14,000 units which was, frankly, terrifying. But I knew at the rate we were selling I needed to have some extra after the campaign. The most we’ve shipped in a day was close to 3,000.
What advice do you have for boutiques that are just starting?
Put your customers at the center of everything you do! When you design a product yourself, you can get tunnel vision trying to launch by a certain date or cut costs wherever possible. But that’s not what will make you successful. What will make you successful is if you can design a product that solves a real problem for people. So find out what that problem is. Understand your customers frustrations or pain points. Really, really listen. And then create something that directly solves those issues. And make sure you validate your findings or creation with customers every step of the way!
Did you ever hit any roadblocks along the way? Tell us your story.
Ohhhh yes. As soon as Shark Tank aired, we saw so many TushBaby knockoffs pop up. And the knockoffs were using our claims, our taglines, and even using pictures of my husband and child to sell THEIR cheap, poorly designed products! It’s super frustrating because it continues to happen. And all we can do is try to warn customers they’re not getting a legitimate, well-designed, factory-tested TushBaby.
What Business goals do you have for next year?
I want to double our sales and engagement numbers. I want to iron out our processes to ensure we’re serving our customers the best that we can. And I want to continue innovating and launch two new products that will make parents’ lives easier.