Babysteps

for moms X moms

But first, can we do something together?

Let's go into February with open hearts and dreams for a future we can all fall in love with. ♡ If that's too much optimism for you right now, this might be more your jam (and I bet it will make you smile anyway, because, Bill Murray).

We've been busy wrapping up our first big donation of 2017. Every blanket sold this year will give a Syrian refugee mother and her newborn a kit of essential items to keep healthy and warm. This is something small we can do together, every time you make a purchase.

Speaking of making a purchase, check out our Lola Lips bassinet to beach blanket and the freebie that comes with while supplies last.

Lola Lips Babies4Babies

Help a sister out? FWD this post to your fave local baby or gift boutique.
We're growing up and going wholesale and are looking to stock our bassinet to beach blankets in a store near you.  See details here.

It's black history month, a time to talk about powerful, change-making African American heroes, like little Ruby Bridges who walked her brave, six-year-old self into an all white school in 1960 because that's how the world changes for the better. 

Women = Men

January 26, 2017

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I have a confession to make.
 
I remember a time in college when someone asked me if I was a feminist and I said, yes, I was, but not one of those feminists. You know who I’m talking about: the man hating, bra burning, craaaazy feminists.
 
It took me a few years of living, learning and mothering to learn that feminism is inclusive, it’s for everyone -- women and men, rebels and squares, conservatives and liberals, bra burners and bra enthusiasts. Because feminism means equality: the political, social and economic equality of women and men. It’s right there in the dictionary.
 
So I’m here to tell you that if you think women are equal to men, congratulations, you’re a feminist! I’m so happy you’re out there.
 
Be kind, be brave, be a feminist.
 

Women's March on Washington with Lola Lips bassinet to beach blanket by Babies4Babies

Read these lips because they’re making a statement
Lola Lips Bassinet to Beach blanket X Erica Lowery of Lola the Label is up in the 2017 collection. Get yours. >>

Tip: send this email to your artist friend
We want to feature mold breaking, trend inspiring, feminist AF artwork! Now accepting rolling submissions of digital artwork to include in our next bassinet to beach blanket collection. See details here.
 
Mamas, you need to get to know this lady boss
Our friend, Rebecca, sent us this playlist we’ve been listening to on repeat all morning. Check it out and definitely sign up for Rebecca’s Little Mother’s Helper emails, she sends free inbox love.
 
P.S.
Feminism: noun  fem·i·nism \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\
The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. 

 

Hey you.
 
This is an post about mothers, more specifically, powerful mothers, because honestly, is there really any other kind?
 
So if you’re a mother (and if you’re not, copy/paste/send this to the most powerful one you know)...
 
I’m here to tell you you’re doing it right. The way you mother, the choices you make, the battles you fight, the things you stress about and the BS you just let go, it’s right because it’s yours. Hold on to your unique and powerful woman self, don’t let anyone or any brand tell you how you should mother because they don’t know your strength, your vision or your love. Only you know how to define your motherhood, so do that and own it.

We have a little something to remind you to OWN MOTHERHOOD. It’s artist made, (rose) gold and makes you feel like a fancy rebel…hint: it’s a Tribetats X Babies4Babies temporary tattoo. We’re gifting one FREE in every single Babies4Babies order because that’s how we do when it comes to loving on moms.
 
Speaking of owning motherhood… some words of wisdom from FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, who goes down in history as
one of the greatest:
 
"Do not ever let anyone make you feel like you don't matter, or like you don't have a place in our American story—because you do. And you have a right to be exactly who you are."
 
This Saturday is the Women’s March on Washington and Babies4Babies will be there. There are a lot of reasons why, but what it comes down to is that we're mothers and nothing, NOTHING is more important than equality. Like my mom said to me recently, sometimes there are moments in history when you just have to be stand up and be counted. Let me know if you’ll be marching in DC or your hometown, I’ll be documenting my personal experience as a marching mother on Instagram stories @babies4babies

Own Motherhood Rose Gold Tattoo X Babies4Babies

I'm gonna love on your inbox. 

 

It’s always been a bit of a struggle for me because I run an ecommerce business but I hate getting marketing emails. I’ll sign up to learn more about a brand and why lie, that new customer discount is nice, but mostly, unless I feel a connection, a couple of emails later I click unsubscribe and feel great doing it. 

 
So here's the deal, you're gonna hear from me more now (email marketing is kinda crucial in ecommerce), but I'll only send you the really good stuff and never more than four emails in a month. 
 
I’ll show you our products and tell you why and how we make them (get ready to geek out on ethical supply chains, lady owned American manufacturing and nontoxic digital printing); I'll tell you about the safe birth and newborn supplies your purchases will start sending into Syrian refugee camps; I’ll write about entrepreneurship and motherhood; I’ll spotlight other brands and products that you should know about; I'll feature our artists and boss women who'll inspire you; politics is totally game, too; lots of feminism in the mix; there might (will definitely be) some quality baby spam from time to time; and a couple times a year I’ll tell you about a giveaway or liquidation sale so you can stock up. Sounds pretty good, right? 
 
Bringing something meaningful into your inbox. That’s the kind of email marketing campaigning we’re going to do.
It’s different, but my feeling is, if our company is good to you, when you’re thinking about buying something for baby or yourself, you'll think of Babies4Babies.
 
You can shop our brand spankin’ new artist made collection of organic, nontoxic bassinet to beach blankets here.
More about how we brought these fine babies to life next week...
 
And you can sign up for our better emails here
 
HNY!  Hoping to see you next week, too.

We combed our closets, drawers and the internet to discover the best gifts for bold women who like to shop for beautiful, thoughtfully made, life simplifying products that give back. We found so many we wanted to feature we had to divvy them up into categories around our core values, but many of these giftables represent multiple if not all of the things that matter most to the modern, conscious shopper, specifically: earth friendly and non-toxic, American made, lady owned, giving back, simply and beautifully made, and of course, inpired by the latest from the runway

So without further ado, here’s our Better Gift Guide. It really is better. Happy shopping! Gift Guide Earth Friendly

1. Our Palm Springs Bassinet to Beach Blanket
2. Coyuchi Organic Cotton Air Weight Towels
3. Bite Lipstick
4. Veja Esplar
5. Boll and Branch Cable Knit Pillow Cover
6. Swell Bottle 

 

Gift Guide Runway Inspired
1. Our Not So Baby Stripe
2. Flexistretcher Odile Vest
3. Raven and Lilly Dani Ring
4. Buru Poppy Pink Pleated Pants
5. Mignonne Gavigan Madeline Earrings
Gift Guide Lady Owned
1. Our Color Block Bassinet to Beach Blanket
2. Mignonne Gavigan Ryan Scarf
3. Angela Roi Jules Bucket Bag
4. Carbon38 Akemi Bra
5. Sugar Paper Agenda
6. Olfactif Artisanal Perfume Subscription 

Gift Guide Gives Back

1. Our 12PM Black Bassinet to Beach Blanket
2. Mercado Global Carmela Clutch
3. Penny Blue Baxter Blazer
4. Fair Anita Wanderlust Earrings
5. A Little Market Mosaic Utensil Holder
6. Flowers For Dreams
Gift Guide American Made
1. Our Some Sailboats Bassinet to Beach Blanket
2. Little River Peace Socks
3. Farm Girl Flowers
4. Chez Gagne
5. Primal Kitchen EVAO
6. Framebrige
Gift Guide Better Basics
1. Our Brush Strokes Bassinet to Beach Blanket
2. Audry Rose Black Diamond Bar Earrings
3. Soma Glass Water Bottle
4. Patagonia Beanie
5. Cuyana Shoulder Bag
6. Dr Bronners

Gift Guide Non-Toxic
1. Our Lola Lips Bassinet to Beach Blanket
2. Tenoverten Polish
3. Piper Wai Deodorant
4. Frank Bod Scrub
5. Tata Harper Skincare

Carbon38 X Babies4Babies

When you're pregnant spandex is your best friend, which is why we teamed up with Carbon38 to curate a baby bump approved collection of sexy spandex.

Motherhood should be as unique as you are, sister, so do your trimesters with your own style. And don't be afraid to show a little bump.

Here are some fave non-maternity yet totally maternity outfits Babies4Babies' Kate Marie Grinold Sigfusson picked out of the Carbon38 closet.  Shop 'em here. 

Babies4Babies X Carbon38

 

Babies4Babies X Carbon38

Chlorhexidine

April 29, 2016

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Every Babies4Babies blanket gives 4 life saving antiseptic treatments called Chlorhexidine to 4 babies in the developing world. This is because most babies actually aren't born in sterile environments and a simple umbilical cord infection can be deadly for a newborn. 

Sometimes hearing it from the experts helps, so here's an article we were really excited to read. Via The Guardian.  

 

Antiseptic gel to prevent infections in newborn babies gets EU approval

Gel reformulated from GlaxoSmithKline mouthwash will be used to fight umbilical cord infections in developing countries

A mother holds her newborn baby, who suffered from an umbilical cord infection, in Makoror, Kenya.
A mother holds her newborn baby, who suffered from an umbilical cord infection, in Makoror, Kenya. Photograph: Colin Crowley/Save the Children

 

An antiseptic gel to help prevent umbilical cord infections in newborn babies, which was developed from a mouthwash, has been given the green light by European regulators.

GlaxoSmithKline developed the product, called Umbipro, with the charity Save the Children for use in developing countries. The gel will be sold at a not-for-profit price and could save 422,000 lives over five years, according to UN estimates.

Scientists reformulated the chlorhexidine solution found in its Corsodyl mouthwash into a gel that can be applied to newly cut umbilical cords. There is a greater risk of infection – a major cause of newborn deaths – in developing countries across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where more births happen at home and unsterile materials such as dung and ash are traditionally used on the umbilical cord stump.

The antiseptic gel was endorsed by the European Medicines Agency on Friday, an important step in getting it to developing countries. It will need to be approved by local regulators. GSK said it would submit applications in countries with moderate to high neonatal mortality rates.

Once approved, the company plans to initially produce about 6m units, packaged in single-use foil sachets that can be opened without scissors. The UK drugmaker said it would also share its manufacturing knowledge with other companies interested in making the gel.

Patrick Vallance, who runs GSK’s pharmaceuticals research and development department, said the gel proved the value of collaboration between makers of pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter healthcare products such as toothpaste and mouthwash.

The idea for the gel was triggered by a UN commission report in 2012 that identified chlorhexidine as an overlooked treatment which could potentially save 422,000 neonatal lives over five years.

#startupmom Lisa Furuland DockATot CEO

You're the #startupmom CEO behind one of our fave baby brands, can you tell our readers about your company and product?

DockATot is a multi-functional docking system for little ones aged 0-36 months. The unique shape and design allows baby to comfortably chill, play, rest, snuggle and log in some tummy time. It helps reduce flat head syndrome as well as helps reduce startle reflex while baby is sleeping. DockATot was designed to be the perfect co-sleeper. The sides of the DockATot baby lounger help prevent parents from rolling on top of the baby, but are soft enough to easily access baby and facilitate a middle of the night nursing session. The bumpers are specially designed to be firm and dense enough to ensure a strong and safe separation between child and parent. They are also comfy enough to make it easy for parents to rest their arms on to pat and reassure the baby during the night. All materials used are sourced from top-quality suppliers and are Oeko-Tex certified, which is the European standard guaranteeing that they are 100% free from any harmful substances. DockATot provides the ideal hygienic and hypoallergenic microclimate, and the shape mimics the womb. All our products made in Europe.

How did you come up with the DockATot?

When my first son, Ilias, was born in 2006, I got inspired to create something new in the baby and children's industry. I searched unsuccessfully for an alternative to the blanket, the cot and the baby lounger, something more snug and at the same time more versatile and completely safe. It has also been important to incorporate properties with health benefits. The wellbeing, safety and happiness of our babies are the objectives and inspiration of my creation.

DockATot collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What inspires your work?

Photography is my passion. I’m an addict. I see everything as if I’m watching it through a lens. My second biggest interest is architecture and interior design. I spend a lot of time thinking of houses or interiors I want to build or do up. I love floor plans. And fashion… Don’t get me started!

What do you love most about being a #startupmom?

The total drama of it all. I love being completely responsible for all aspects of a brand. I have total control and no control at all. The sense of satisfaction when you launch a new product or win a design award is hard to describe. When you realize that your product has made life a lot easier for thousands and thousands of families, it’s hard to feel anything but incredibly proud.

Tell us about your munchkins!

Ilias, aged nine, and Troy, aged seven. They are the stars of the show which is my life. They put a smile on my face and give me a proud mama feel every day.

What’s one thing you wish you knew but nobody told you before you had them?

That having kids would completely change my perspective and make me a different person. Motherhood is much bigger than anything I could ever imagine.

How did you balance motherhood and running a business in your early startup days?

When you run your own businesses, it’s hard to take time off. However, one can always plan it so that one works when the baby sleeps. 

What does a typical day look like in your world?

Wake up and fix breakfast with the kids. Sort out their backpacks and outfits for the day. Drop them off at school, which is a block away from our house. Then I head up to our top floor office for the rest of the day to work. A few times a week, I try to work out before work.

When and where do you get most of your work done?

In our upstairs home office—mostly when the children are at school and then after they go to sleep.

How would you describe yourself as a mom?

Nurturing and allowing. To give my kids the tools to enable them to stay individual. We always try to give them opportunities through which they will grow and develop to the best of their abilities. Always with good manners, though!Lisa Furuland with Children

What was a time you felt like you were doing this mom thing really well?

Well, whilst always thinking there’s room for improvement, I feel that their father (a.k.a. my husband) Konstantinos and I have figured it out pretty neatly. We run several businesses together. And we prioritize working from home, which means that we are both around when they go to school and we’re both present when school is finished. So, we are always there for them. Bottom line, we don’t believe in ‘quality time supersedes quantity’. We think quantity is a necessity, too. They are both well grounded and sensible and loving boys. 

What’s hard about being a #startupmom?

Finding time to do everything I want. Find time to realize all other ideas and inventions that pop up in my head.

How does DockATot do good? 

We donate a certain amount each month to both to Save the Children and UNICEF. They are both aimed specifically at projects that will help improve the health and lives of children around the world. We also donate to Swedish Barncancerfonden, which helps funding child cancer research.

How would spend your perfect day?

Snuggling with my family in bed for the morning, brunch in our PJs, afternoon tennis class and then cooking a yummy meal with the family at home. If it’s the summer, we’re probably in Greece. Konstantino is half Greek and we spend as much time as we can there. We’ve got lots of family and friends there, too. The whole family adores the sun and the ocean, and what better backdrop for a family day than a sun-kissed beach, cicadas chirping, the silvery leaves of the olive trees moving gently in the warm breeze from the Aegean Sea?

Your family in three words?

Curious, active and cuddly.

Any advice for our first time mamas?

Stay calm and try not to yell. Yelling is no good. The child hears your voice, but not your words.

 DockATot LogoDockATot beds

Get your very own DockATot at www.dockatot.com (we did!) for 10% off with BABIES4DOCK

Follow Lisa and the DockATot brand on their blog and your fave channel:

DockATot on Instagram   DockATot on Pinterest    DockATot on Facebook    DockATot on Twitter

#startupmom Tara Swords

Hey mama, tell us about your company!

Olfactif is the original niche perfume discovery service. Perfume lovers are bored with mainstream scents that everybody else wears, so Olfactif gives them a way to sample the magical work of niche fragrance that they usually can’t find in person. We’re not just about perfume as a beauty product; we’re about perfume as an expression from an artist, as an olfactory story that unfolds over hours, and as a creation that can transport you intellectually and emotionally. 

How did you get your start?

I’ve always been obsessed with scents, but when my husband and I moved to Mozambique, it seemed silly to take any perfume with me. So when we eventually returned to the States and I once again had perfume at my disposal, I went a little overboard. Somehow I stumbled into the world of niche perfume online, and I was amazed to find this community of like-minded people who didn’t have to explain to each other why they found scent so moving. I decided to create a platform to bring other scent lovers into that world.

Olfactif, Discover the art of perfume

Now tell us about those girlies who made you a mama!

I have two daughters. Sasha is 5 and Misha is 1. Everyone who meets Sasha is struck by how delightful her personality is. She’s funny and exuberant and will talk a stranger’s ear off. She’ll belt out a ballad at top volume in public, but she’s also very introspective and thoughtful. She just loves life, and her reaction to the world inspires me to be aware of the day-to-day joys of being alive.

I heard from a lot of people that second kids are usually very different from first kids, but Misha’s personality is turning out to be quite similar to her sister’s. She is funny and cheerful and charming and outgoing. And my girls are in love with each other. I’m very lucky.

What kind of mom are you?

I’d like to think that I’m a supportive, warm, and respectful mom. I also aim to be a constantly improving mom. I think most people don’t anticipate how little they know when they become parents. We tend to assume that parenting entails mostly tactical knowledge, like how to get a kid to sleep through the night or how to raise children to be respectful. It turns out that parenting is a profound journey into the extremes of human nature. The learning and growing never stop, and I’m all in for that.

What's the best advice you've received from another mom?

My favorite is “Babies arrive on this earth as whole people,” and I guess the advice is implicit: From day one, view your baby as a whole human whose feelings deserve respect. That simple sentence changed the way I view children. There are no bad kids, just kids who are having a hard time with something. Kids who are having meltdowns or acting out need support, not disparagement or distraction. Seeing a kid have a meltdown over something like her shoes would have made the old me think, “Seriously? Shoes? Can you get over it?” But I’ve come to understand that all feelings are big feelings to young children, and those feelings are often about something other than it seems. Kids want to feel understood and acknowledged and validated just like grownups do. (It just so happens that they will get over it much faster once their feelings are acknowledged.)

I should add that while I enjoy reading parenting advice, I always feel insufferable when I share my own!

In the rare moment you have to yourself...

I devour fiction and nonfiction, short-form and long-form. I can’t wait until the end of the day when I can climb into bed and read.

I also love looking for new music. If I can spend an hour on Pitchfork searching out some new-to-me artists and find a handful of tracks to obsess over, I’m happy as a clam.

Tara Swords, mother, entrepreneur, #startupmom 

Where do you get your news?

The Atlantic, Wired, NPR, BBC Radio. I’m a big fan of Next Draft, which is a daily, curated newsletter of must-read stories. I’m still in mourning about Andrew Sullivan shutting down The Daily Dish, because that was my number one source for deep thinking on current events for many years. I keep hoping he’ll change his mind and come back, because there’s no other site like that site on the whole Internet.

What does a typical day look like for you?

The mornings start at around 6:45. For an hour, my husband and I tag-team helping the girls and getting ourselves ready. It’s mostly a lot of “15 minutes left! 10 minutes left! You guys have to leave in 3 minutes!” My husband and older daughter leave by 7:45, and then I play with my younger daughter until the sitter arrives at 8. After that, it’s off to the office. My days are often broken into pieces because I pick up my daughter from school in the afternoon, so I spend more time working after everyone is in bed at night.

What’s the hardest part about being a #startupmom?

Moms are often the “default parent”—in other words, they’re the ones who know when the milk is running out and when to schedule the next checkup and when to RSVP to the next kindergartner’s birthday party. There’s only so much mental real estate available, so filling that role at the same time as running and growing a business can be really, really hard. At the same time, I know how fortunate I am to have wonderful child care so that I can focus on my business every workday.

What do you love most about being a #startupmom?

I’ve always been a maker and very independent, so building my own business from scratch has been an absolute blast.

Did you take time off or scale back when you had your girls? 

The first time around, I did not scale back. At all. I had no idea what to expect, and so many people—who were probably too far removed from the newborn experience—told me that I’d get a ton of work done with a sleepy newborn in the house. I believed it—until I tried to make it my reality. I was exhausted physically and emotionally and so far from my normal self that it took me a couple of months before I felt like I could keep up with everything. Work made that so much harder—and that was before I started Olfactif! With the second baby, I had this business in full swing, and I had learned my lesson. I scaled way back and did only the necessary things for about a month. I trusted other people to do the jobs I asked them to. The world kept turning, and I kept my sanity. 

What inspires you?

I love having conversations about scent. Talking about scent enables me to connect with strangers on a deep and intensely personal level very quickly, because when we talk about scent, we all instantly go to our childhood scent memories and the smells that tug at our nostalgia, sadness, excitement, contentment, and hopes. It’s amazing how much people will share of themselves through a conversation about scent, and I love the way it brings everyone’s humanity to the fore. I’m a bit of an introvert, so those deep connections are very meaningful to me.

Who keeps you grounded?

My husband is everything. He has an insane schedule and I don’t know how his brain juggles all of the things it does, but somehow he is always thinking about this business and strategizing and making connections. Plus, he’s my favorite person and I can’t imagine a minute without him. 

What was a time you felt like you were doing this mom thing really well?

Tonight. The dishes weren’t done, the kitchen table was a mess, the laundry wasn’t folded—but I was lying on the floor as both of my girls laughed and crawled on top of me like monkeys in a tree.

What is your favorite chartable organization or cause?

I’m a big fan of Women for Women International. I believe that if we could elevate the status of women and girls around the world, we would quickly see many social ills diminish or disappear. I also love www.dollaraday.co. A simple, smart model.

Your family in three words:

Goofy, affectionate, curious.

Any parting advice on first time motherhood or entrepreneurship?

This goes for both: It likely will be much harder than you imagine. Learn to evaluate your self-doubt objectively and gently. Understand that each time someone makes it look easy, you’re seeing only a fraction of the full picture.

Find out what everyone is talking about and snag your 3, 6 or 12 month scent subscription for 15% off using code B4BLOVE

Olfactif media

Get your scent on, follow Olfactif here:

 Olfactif on Facebook   Olfactif on Twitter   Olfactif on Pinterest   Olfactif on Instagram 

*Headshot photo credit: Jennifer Avello

#startupparents Andrea and Eric Feigl-Ding

Who made you “mom and dad”?

Our little one is called ‘Sparty’ (it’s a nickname short for ‘Lukas Spartacus’). (Andrea won the first name game, and Eric won the middle name game – just like our compound last names, we compromise in jointly naming everything ;). Born at 99.9th percentile long, he has been a 98-99.9th percentile tall baby ever since. Sparty is now just under 2.5 years old, and is an active, happy, and well-adjusted toddler. And now that he is sleeping through the night (it took us a full two years to accomplish this feat), things couldn’t be better. Sparty also first flew on an airplane when he was just 3 weeks old – to Austria, and to India with Eric when he was 6 months old. He is quite rambunctious and energetic – able to ride a 3-wheel scooter since 16 months (scooting at a brisk 10 miles per hour on sidewalks), also able to fast-walk (at adult walking pace) for over 2 miles at a time around same time.

What was a time you felt like you were doing this parenting thing really well?

Whenever he says ‘Thank you, Mommy’ when he receives something, or apologizing with ‘Sorry, daddy’ when he knows he did something wrong. And when he follows directions, even when that means not getting an extra cookie, but seemingly follows our reasoning.

What’s your parenting style? 

Try-as-best-as-you-can-try-to-stay-one-step-ahead-fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-style.

No, really, we try to parent with a loving but strict approach. Try to understand where Sparty is coming from from an emotional standpoint, and try to expose him to a loving, nurturing environment.

We also try to raise him tri-lingual (English, German, and Mandarin). 

You two do it all, together! In addition to becoming parents you founded a cutting edge startup, tell us more about that.

We created our startup Happy Vitals together out of our love as parents and scientists who want to help other families. Happy Vitals is a quantified health company for families, to test and assess mother and child health, providing families with the lab and digital tools they need to monitor and improve the long-term health of their children.

Our first Happy Vitals product line offers, for the first time, direct-to-home lab service testing of breast milk nutrition - for macronutrients, micronutrients, immunity – as well as fingernail testing for heavy metal toxins. With our simple and easy-to-use home kits, with FedEx home courier service to the lab, mothers can learn about the nutrient make-up of their breast milk, improve their diet and nutrition, and safeguard against exposure to heavy metals and other toxins that are harmful to a child's growth and development. 

Happy Vitals’s higher social impact mission is to establish a nationwide landmark Happy Children’s Health Study - the first scientific project of its kind to study and unravel the early maternal and early childhood predictors of healthy childhood development, and early risk factors and causes of childhood disease (such as allergy, asthma, autism, diabetes, obesity).

Happy Vitals logo

Exclusive Happy Vitals discount for #startupmom readers: use startupmom2015 at www.happyvitals.com. (One per customer, limited availability, valid Nov 3-20, 2015.)

How did you come up with the idea?

Aside from being eager parents, we were both Harvard medical and public health scientists – and we are passionate about collecting data on health and risk factors of children – especially nutrition and toxins. However, we realized there is very little in way of biomarkers beyond the generic weight/length/head girth measures – which actually tell you very little about children’s actually health. And breast milk is one of the biggest black boxes in consumer knowledge. We conceived it over many discussions with our friends – and felt a quantified health company to deliver detailed biomarker lab information would be useful if it could be made convenient. And since nutrition in breast milk is at the very start of a child’s life - and are much more modifiable than genetics – we wanted to start with breast milk testing. 

Furthermore, breast milk sharing is something many moms do – and often using milk from strangers or from milk banks – with little information about the source of the milk and its quality. Thus, we thought we could unveil the mystery and give scientific based information that people can directly use.

Has co-founding a business changed your relationship?

It definitely deepened our relationship with each other. Previously, we also worked together on several research projects. Being able to work on projects together is a defining feature of our relationship and our happiness.

When and how did you launch?

We had our soft launch for pre-order on Oct 13th, 2015 – offering pre-orders for tests, shipping in November. We put out a news release and engaging in finding more media leads in coming months.

We are also premiering at WEB SUMMIT (dubbed the world’s largest tech conference) in Dublin this week Nov 2-6th, as a premier ALPHA startup, and with an on-stage pitch in front of thousands in attendance.

(Click here for a peek at the original promo video.)

Happy Vitals how it works

What do you love most about being #startupparents?

The agency over one’s life; and the knowledge to be working on something groundbreaking, that can change not one’s own life, but can bring a great service to potentially millions of people.

Also the flexibility in spending more with our son during the day is an amazing blessing when one of us works from home.

What inspires your work?

We are both scientists and parents. And in the world of medical research and public health, children’s health sits as one of those incredibly important issue but very poorly understood areas – e.g. what causes the dramatic recent rise in rates and prevalence of allergies, asthma, autism, early puberty, and countless other developmental conditions. We feel that we have the ability, scientific know-how, technology resources, and overall passion to take it to the next level for helping other families. Furthermore, Eric also survived a major tumor as a child, which had radically changed his outlook on life (see NYT article), and feels it is a life calling to predict/prevent childhood diseases and improve children’s health. 

When and where do you get most of your work done? 

Since we are still very budget-conscious and preparing for a big raise, most of our work gets done in our home office, in UberOffice for in-person collaborations, and in virtual meetings on a regular basis with our team.

Eric is fully devoted to the project during the day (and frequently working in the middle of the night), and Andrea works on it in the evenings and weekends. But Eric also spends a lot of time on the work networking.

What’s hard about being #startupparents?

The hardest part would be to accept the riskiness of a startup, versus the stability a traditional job would bring. We both have traditional degrees and past careers; by focusing on Happy Vitals, we are entering unchartered waters. This may mean a less stable upbringing for Sparty – and while we know we made the right choice, it was definitely not the easiest choice. When you are single, up and downs only affect oneself; however, with a family, ups and downs alike have potential for more ripple effects that could affect the family.

Meanwhile, behind every successful family story is a very supportive spouse. As dual-professional family, we’ve also discovered that having one person take risk with a startup, while the other spouse holds a traditional stable-income job with health benefits, is also a big plus. The other person’s income helps act as a temporary safety net for the family if the startup is slow to take off or doesn’t succeed.

What’s new and what’s next for the biz?

LOTS! We plan to diversify testing beyond breast milk nutrition and toxins -- but will share when ready! ;)

Follow Happy Vitals on Brideside on Facebook  and Brideside on Twitter

More about Andrea here and follow her #startupmom story on Twitter.

And more about Eric here and his #startupdad story on Twitter.

 

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