Karen Barski, CEO KB Designs,As most of us moms know there is one skill you learn very quickly when you have a newborn, and that is how to swaddle your baby. Karen Barski took her own experience as a mom and made a swaddling product that is a must have for any parent that has or is expecting a newborn. The “Woombie” is a non restrictive, peanut-shaped baby swaddle, that gently hugs baby allowing baby to move and stretch naturally while keeping its snug-like form. I contacted Barski, the CEO of KB Designs LLC, and inventor of the Woombie, and she was kind enough to answer some questions about her experience of running a business while raising a family.
Barski’s concept was thought of in late December 2006/January 2007 when her then newborn daughter, Bella, could not sleep during the night for more than 15 minutes. Barksi says “due to her super startle reflex and might-mouse strength she unraveled every swaddle we could find.” After a month of prototyping, the Woombie was born. After further testing and research, the Woombie was officially launched nationally December of 2007 and worldwide in late 2008.
Barski grew up in Southwestern CT, and now lives in Trumbull with her husband and five children. She has this to say when asked how she balances her busy business schedule and raising a family, “I have a rigid daily routine. Mornings are always busy answering emails, overlooking orders and prepping the kids for school. This is followed by product design, packaging/graphics, marketing projects, accounting, more emailing, telephoning and working with our manufacturers. Then there are the trade shows and events, interviews with the media and speaking engagements to factor in. Owning your own business is 24-7 – especially an eCommerce Store – but the key to balance is having separate family time (plan a family trip, make sure to have sit down dinners, etc.), and – if possible – even integrate family into your work, like when I brought my daughter along to China when I went there to inspect and meet the manufacturer…or when my children are models in our product photo shoots. We have a very family-oriented business and the kids inspire me endlessly in designing new and innovative products. So it’s a lot of hard work, but my family is the reason I do it all. Also, optimal time management skills and the ability to seriously multitask are essential!”
When asked what advice she has for other moms owning their own business she says, “Don't give up! Over 80% of businesses give up too soon. Set your goals and go for it, knowing that there will be plenty of hard work ahead.
1. Be financially realistic (most businesses will not make a huge profit within the first 3 years because all the profit you do make should be put back into the business.)
2. Keep your day job if you can!
3. Set reasonable goals, what you wish to accomplish within 1, 3 and 5 years’ time.”
Barski gets her business out there by utilizing many different marketing tools . Google pay per click has played an integral part in her business, as well as organic SEO built into her websites (Woombie & Mod’Swad). “As my marketing guru says, ‘Google is the new Yellow Book,’ so if you don’t have a website and online presence via search engines as well as Facebook and other social media sites, you are likely losing a ton of business,” says Barski. She also adds that media and mommy bloggers play a big role in her marketing. “Every time your business is mentioned in the media, more people know about your products/services. As for the mommy bloggers, there are a ton of great blogs written by moms and we send them products to review. Most have thousands of followers so once they post their review on their blog, instantaneously our business is in front of the perfect demographic – parents. Not to mention, mommy blogger product reviews are very cost effective for the ROI (return on investment).” The origional Woombie
Facebook is another way that Barski markets her business; she says, “It’s a great way to deliver product news and announcements to our customers to keep them updated in what we are doing as a company.” Barski attends trade shows as a great way to connect with buyers and wholesalers. Because of these connections Woombie products can be found such places as Amazon, BabiesRus.com diapers.com and Belbambini. Woombie products are currently sold in over 1,000 stores across the globe! Barski also tries to attend charity events saying, “We recently exhibited at a charity event for the LA Children’s Hospital. The event got a ton of press and there were over 40 celebrities who attended – all of which helps our marketing efforts.”
Woombie has grown since the product launched in 2007, now there are over 25 signature Woombie products, including, organic, seasonal Woombies as well as different styles to suit your baby. You can choose the Convertible Woombies that allows arms to be free, Woombie with legs “Leggies”, the Wrap N Snap that adds a gentle “hug” to keep restless arms from disturbing sleep, a Woombie Onesie for hotter months, and more! Woombie also offers other unique and innovative products such as blankets, hats, mittens, dolls and Eco’Donuts (for baby and toddlers).
Their newest swaddle brand, Mod’Swad is an upscale, eco’friendly and functional baby swaddle with styles made from heathered bamboo, Muslin, Cotton and 100% Australian Merino Wool. Also with a fashionable knot at the end to customize length as baby grows. In addition to the Mod’swad swaddle, Mod’swad products include hats, plushies (blanket that pacifier attaches too) and mats.
To see the full listing of products that are available for purchase online, go to www.woombie.com or www.modswad.com. In addition to all the great products Woombie has to offer, the website also offers child sleep consultations with their resident child sleep expert, Ingrid Prueher (The Baby Sleep Whisperer). She offers discounted baby and toddler sleep consultations for Woombie customers. Contact email@example.com.
Further, Woombie’s blog, Karen & Co., is geared to inform new parents about typical issues faced during pregnancy and after bringing home a new baby. They touch on such topics such as nutrition, hormones, sleep, sex, comfort, pain, breastfeeding, cesarean, depression (for Mom) as well as sleep, schedules, colic, nutrition, SIDS, hydration, travel with baby, baby gear and much more. They except guest blogs from moms, dads, and caretakers; you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have something to share. Barski also works as a mentor, Giving guidence to woman entrepreneurs. Barksi says, "Currently I am
working with Alma who invented the Babee CoveeTM – this amazing 6 in 1 blanket with no slip ties and a peek a boo design to use as a car seat cover, stroller blanket, shopping cart cover,high chair cover, nursing cover, and playtime blanket. I’ve learned so much and now I want to help other women and moms succeed too!"
Lastly, Woombie was kind enough to offer our readers a coupon code to use at either www.woombie.com or www.modswad.com. Enter MMCT10 at check out and receive 10% off you entire purchase until the end of July! Be sure to check them out I know I am looking forward to doing some online shopping for my next baby shower gift!