Strollers and Stilettos® sat down with the owner of Babies4Babies, Kate Marie Grinold Sigfusson. Babies4Babies is a luxury retail brand that has a mission to save the lives of babies around the world. Kate has a strong desire to help other mothers, while also making a difference in the community and Chicagoland area. Check out the full interview below to get the full scoop on both Babies4Babies.
S&S: What is Babies4Babies?
KS: Babies4Babies is a made in Chicago baby brand on a mission to save one million newborn lives. We create beautiful, soft, durable, luxury baby blankets and give 4 life saving treatments 4 babies in the developing world for each blanket sold.
S&S: Where did you come up with the name and business concept?
KS: Babies4Babies grew out of my passion for brands and products that empower customers to give for good. I believe that the easier you can make it for a person to make a positive impact, the more important the value of giving back will become to them. Babies4Babies is about raising our babies to be in support of babies across the world - every swaddle gives 4 babies in the developing world access to life saving antiseptic.
S&S: Tell me about your background and what made you decide to open your business:
KS: I studied international affairs, started my career at a tech startup, and worked for a girls’ empowerment non-profit. But, what really pushed me to launch Babies4Babies, was my desire to connect with and help other mothers, be that a mother wrapping her newborn in my swaddle or a mother receiving antiseptic to save her baby’s life.
S&S: Do you have plans to expand Babies4Babies outside of the Chicagoland area?
KS: Technically, since we are an ecommerce business, we are already available “everywhere.” But we also have hopes of expanding into a few urban retail markets later this year.
S&S: What is the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
KS: It’s a bit chaotic, but being an entrepreneur allows me the flexibility to spend so much more quality time with my son, Theodore, and my husband, Steve. I work a lot of hours, but I get to decide when and where.
S&S: What are some of the challenges and successes you’ve had while owning your own business?
KS: I love the constant newness of being an entrepreneur. Every single day is an exciting challenge to grow the business and I am always learning and improving. With that said, sometimes I wish I had a co-founder because startup life can be overwhelming and a bit lonely. Luckily, I have a fantastic network of “start up moms” to inspire and motivate me. As for successes, there have been many proud moments hitting milestones in sales and donations to our non-profit partner, Saving Mothers, but the best is when a mom tells me how much she loves our swaddle. It is so incredibly humbling to make a product that is valued.
S&S: What spring fashion trends should we be looking for next season?
KS: We are launching our very first prints and some fun new hem colors, all of which are inspired by the latest from the runway (think neons mixed with creamy pastels, teacup florals, lacy but electric prints, and a little written word inspiration).
S&S: How do you market and promote Babies4Babies
KS: We never pay for advertising, endorsements or awards and all of our marketing is grassroots, through social media and word of mouth. While this was originally a function of not having a budget for marketing, it ended up fostering a clear and authentic brand built both by and for moms. You can connect with Babies4Babies on your favorite social channel @babies4babies (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest), but my personal favorite is Instagram, where I share my daily #startupmom story.
S&S: What makes Babies4Babies unique?
KS: Babies4Babies is both socially minded and quality obsessed. Many brands are either one or the other, but for us, neither is negotiable.
S&S: Where does your inspiration come from?
KS: Motherhood. We are each moms in such a different way, but we all love our babies in the same indescribable way.
S&S: Can you tell us a little bit more about your mission?
KS: As a mother, I cannot imagine seeing my child becoming ill and dying from something as treatable as an infection, a leading cause of newborn death in the developing world. Our mission is to save one million newborn lives – which is why each Babies4Babies product is funding for 4 life saving, high impact antiseptic treatments that our non-profit partner delivers to mothers in the developing world to keep their babies healthy and thriving.
S&S: What items do you have available for purchase?
KS: In 2014, our first year in business, we introduced our signature luxury swaddle blanket in three hem colors: shamrock, lavender and white.
S&S: Do you plan to expand your products in the future?
KS: In 2015 we will release a line of beautiful, artistically printed swaddles, many more hem colors, and a second product we’re calling “the mini!”
S&S: What do you enjoy doing in Chicago during your personal time?
KS: I love to be outside with my boys! Even when it’s freezing, we bundle up for short walks. In the summertime, I love strolling along the lakefront and heading to the zoo. I will never pass up the RM Champagne patio or the J. Parker rooftop.