January 21, 2016
Be it trendy jumpsuits and rompers, hipster tees, or a bib line, nearly everyday I discover a new designer baby brand. Each product promotes one feature that makes it unique, and appealing to a certain group moms — I call this the mommy-magnet factor.
Some target DIY moms with their handmade quality, others the fashionista mom with their scaled down version of runway fashions, and others green moms with organic cotton and fibers. Yet the majority of these small businesses share one thing in common: they are designed and run by moms themselves.
The inherent advantage of a mom-designed and mom-targeted product lies in the fact that the product caters to what the end-user actually wants. These mompreneurs won’t encounter the common challenge product developers and marketers face uncovering “mysterious mommyhood.” After all, they wouldn’t have created the product if they didn’t see a use for it in a mom’s life in the first place.
Yet, they will face the challenge of finding a true differentiating factor. After all, how unique can one cloth diaper be from 100 others? Well, I’m here to tell you that moms are creativity machines! I’ve happened upon a few mom-owned children’s brands recently and have been thoroughly impressed.
Tired of only seeing pink dresses for girls and blue shirts for boys, a handful of mom companies have sprouted up in an attempt to redefine gender stereotypes for kids clothing. California-based company, Handsome in Pink, sells shirts that feature pink and purple firetrucks, tool belts, and phrases like “I love math,” made for both girls and boys. Similarly, Seattle-based Free to be Kids features gender neutral onesies and tees with positive messages for girls and boys. The messages these moms are spreading aim to empower children by what they wear, and not confine them to traditional gender cliches. If a boy wants to wear pink he should, and if a girl loves science it shouldn’t be hard for her to find clothing to express her passion.
Another mom-inspired idea I love centers around the idea of upcycling. Like many environmentally-conscious clothing brands, NYC mom Karina Kallio was disturbed by the fact that 85% of textile waste ends up in landfills. To make her dream of conscious clothing a reality she started Kallio, a children’s clothing company made from reclaimed and vintage flannels, cotton and denim. Another environmentally friendly brand was inspired by a similar idea. California moms Melina and Rachel founded Petite Marin because they loved the idea of giving old clothes a new purpose, rather than throwing them into a landfill. The company allows customers to create their own custom children’s clothing by mailing in a beloved button down shirt, flannel, or military garment, and then transforms that item into a romper or dress crafted for kids. These moms are outfitting stylish children and reducing environmental waste all at the same time.
Yet moms are getting creative even beyond clothing. Mom Mansai Gangan was exhausted by the long nights she stayed up getting her son to sleep by staying by his side, applying the touch of her hand to his chest. After doing her research, she learned that light pressure on a baby’s chest, whether by human touch or simulated, soothed them and resulted in a better night’s sleep. This inspired her to create the Nested Bean, which sells the Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack, both products replicate a mom’s embrace with lightly weighted pads and help babies sleep better.
These concepts subvert traditional baby brand powerhouses and challenge other moms to think differently about the products they are buying for their children. These mompreneurs are just a sampling of moms across the country who are using their experience and their noggins to up the mommy-magnet factor. What are some of your favorite mom-to-mom products?
Brands We Love:
Handsome in Pink
Free to Be Kids
Featured image photo credit: Emily May https://www.flickr.com/photos/emilysnuffer/16859530047/in/photostream/