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Parent Entrepreneur Power podcast

July 23, 2014

Parent Entrepreneurship
Thank you to Mary Kathryn Johnson for featuring us on her Parent Entrepreneur Power podcast! Click here to listen to the interview, or read the notes below:

PEP 026: Kate Sigfusson Innovates Parent Entrepreneurship with the Double Bottom Line

Kate is a New Mom, and can’t say the whole Parent Entrepreneur thing is under her belt yet.  She launched Babies4Babies in January, and now has a 3 month old, Theodore, but there was no maternity leave during start-up, and she has been bringing everything along as best she can.

Tell us your “Once Upon a Time as a Parent Entrepreneur” story…

Babies4Babies is the harmonization of the three things I care for most.

  • Family and the flexibility to be able to interact with my child on a daily basis,
  • Loving Entrepreneurship and being able to provide financial support for my family,
  • Doing something that positively impacts the world, and about which I can be passionate.

Out of those three things I love and care about most came Babies4Babies

The luxury baby brand that saves lives. We manufacture very high quality luxury baby textiles at a fair wage family owned facility in Chicago. When you buy a Babies4Babies product, you are also providing two life-saving treatments for babies in need.

We are for profit, and for people - we have a double bottom line. 

Becoming a financial success as a start-up is equally important with giving support to moms and babies.

Not to say it isn’t hard to give to my baby and grow Babies4Babies, it is, but it’s not as hard as I thought it would be.

I’m realizing that in order to find this balance, I can’t do everything.  Something has to go on the back burner, or not happen, but it will never look the same as it did before I had Theo.

Mary: What skills did you use as an Entrepreneur that translate into your Parenting success?

What kept me going during the early start of my business during the discouraging parts was listening and letting some of the negativity go, tenacity to stick with my idea at its core, and flexibility to adapt when things come up.

My motto right now is buy one, save two, and some people are becoming confused by that statement…they think it refers to a sale or something.  So, if I need to change that to communicate my message effectively, I will change it.

Mary: I bet you had to do the same thing with your birth plan?

Yes! Definitely! Tenacity was very important with something so unpleasant, especially in week 41.  I am very Type A, and had a birth plan all set, saying that this was exactly what was going to happen, and I will have 10 copies printed for all the nurses, and my husband.

Yeah…that’s not what happened.  I became very flexible, and that allowed me to have such a wonderful, special birth experience.

It is exactly the same as being a Start-Up Entrepreneur.

Mary: What’s the craziest thing that has happened to you so far in this parent entrepreneur journey?

Having a 5 week old is crazy anyway, good crazy, like Theo projectile spit up just yesterday, and he’s never done that before, so that was a bit crazy.

We are just getting to know each other – distinguishing the cries – and everything is so wild in the best way.

Having my baby, and bringing him into the world was the most powerful thing I have ever experienced.  The love I feel is so fierce that I couldn’t have known that until I became a mother.

As an entrepreneur, 3 days before our official launch, our non-profit partner pulled out. This took away my entire purpose for Babies4Babies – to give medical aid to needy babies.

I felt devastated, because I wanted to have transparency, so removing all information about this particular project had to be removed.

I thought, “What are my options?”

  • I can proceed, suck it up, take down all this work, but continue to work with this partner, while looking for other partners,
  • I could delay my launch until all this blows over,

I had my freak out, called one of my mentors and freaked out, and he just said, “Just get ready, this is the first of many things that will happen.”

So, I just decided to proceed.

Then, I was overdue with my baby, totally nesting, and decided to just do some little tweaks on my website.

I broke my site!

What I learned was not to ever try to fix my site, let the knowledgable people do what they know.

But, on the other side, I’ve had such good things happen to me, like doing this podcast, and the EntrepreneurOnFire podcast!

Mary: You became pregnant during your start-up, right? I can’t believe that both your pregnancy and business happened at the same time!
Losing the partner was the same hiccup as going into early labor – it’s all the same.
What do you anticipate in the coming year with Babies4Babies?

Like you mentioned, there are so many parallels, and I think those parallels will only continue.

There will have to be give and take on both sides – business and family – and I’ll just need to keep doing check-ins with myself to see if this is working, and see if I need to step back.

I won’t step back from being a parent, so I would have to step back from the business, and maybe hire someone to head the business.

I am so excited to swaddle my own baby with my first product – seeing that this product works so well in soothing my own baby and helping him get to sleep.

I use it for everything – a burp cloth, a nursing cover, stroller blanket, tummy time – it’s just a perfect item for newborns, and now I am getting to use it myself, and share our story as a company along with sharing my own motherhood on Instagram.

Mary: The ride is so much fun – if you keep all those things you have already talked about.
What are your most important Power Tools you are using for success?

It sounds so simple, and lame, but my power tools right now are my iPhone and iPad, because sitting in a regular chair, opening my laptop, and starting it up only happens about once a week.

My mobility is absolutely essential right now.  While I’m holding a 10lb. baby, I’m updating our Instagram on my iPhone, or checking on sales on my iPad.

Instagram is really an underutilized tool for business, I feel.  I have been sharing everything during my start-up process and my pregnancy, and communicating authentically to first time moms has been invaluable and really fun and valuable.

Mary: Your story translates so well with our new world economy giving to our world community, and I’m so thankful to have chatted with you. You must be so proud

Thank you, yes, I am proud.

I call it Retail Philanthropy. 

We can now give back with every product we buy through that double bottom line.

I hope that next time we talk we have many more brands that embrace that same philosophy.

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