Monday, February 28, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Rebecca Rabson -- SmartSeat Chair Protector

This week I want to introduce you to all to Rebecca Rabson, creator of the SmartSeat Chair Protector.  What a great invention this seat cover is. I wish I had known about the SmartSeat Chair Protector a few months ago --  Now that we have a baby who is beginning to eat, this is a must have in our home.  One of our dining room chairs has a new design of stained baby food on it.  Even with the toughest of upholstery cleaners, nothing has been able to take out the mango, banana, pear, oatmeal and mixed vegetable spots that ended up on the cushion (and not in Savannah's mouth).  Rebecca's SmartSeat Chair Protector has saved our 3 other chairs. Check back on Friday when I review this SmartSeat Chair Protector further, and offer readers a discount to get a set of chair covers for themselves.  In the meantime, let me share Rebecca's story of work and balance with you.  Enjoy!






Name:  Rebecca Rabson
Company Name/Product/Service: SmartSeat Chair Protector by pb & j Discoveries
Company Location: Newton, MA
Company Website:  http://www.smartseatdiningchaircovers.com/
Facebook URL: http://www.facebook.com/seatcover
Twitter Handle: @smartseatcover
Age of Company:  6 months
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: I’m not much of a quote person, but when I was feeling overwhelmed, my college roommate used to say to me, “I have faith in your abilities.”  I use that with my kids and husband now. 
Favorite Book: The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.  Such a great read.  What is particularly amazing is that it is written in the voice of an elderly woman but is authored by a man.  I love that he was able to capture her experience and personality so well.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.

I have two boys, ages 6 and 8.  They are incredibly fun, active, and messy.  My oldest is a budding scientist and entrepreneur.  My youngest son is incredibly extroverted and a real comedian.

To de-stress and stay healthy, I love to do pilates and walk with friends.  I also am a crossword puzzle fanatic, a lover of wine, chocolate and coffee, and a firm believer in Saturday date night.
  
Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?

The SmartSeat Chair Protector is a waterproof, stain resistant, and machine washable cover for upholstered dining room and kitchen chairs.  I came up with the idea for the SmartSeat after we purchased our first, really nice dining room set about three years ago.  We often have family dinners in our dining room and I wanted my boys to be able to join us for these meals, but I also didn’t want them to ruin my new upholstered chairs. 
I searched for a protective seat cover, but couldn’t find one that I liked.  I didn’t want a vinyl seat cover.  I think that they are unattractive and uncomfortable.  I also didn’t want a full slipcover.  Not only are most not waterproof, but they also completely change the look of the chair.  I loved my new chairs and didn’t want to cover them with excess fabric.  Frustrated by the lack of options on the market, I created my own design that was both waterproof and attractive.
The SmartSeat Chair Protector is designed to snuggly fit on the seat of the chair.  It has a tailored, discreet look that doesn’t completely change the look of your chair and is designed to blend in with your existing d├ęcor.  It is easy to use, so you can put it on just for mealtime if you’d like.  It also looks nice enough that you can leave it on your chairs all of the time too.   

What is a typical work day like? 

I start my day early – get some coffee and check emails so that I have a sense of what I might be dealing with.  Then, I jump into mommy-mode.  I wake the kids, get them ready for school, and we are out the door by 7:30.  
On my way home from school drop off, I stop by the post office to drop off any orders that came in the previous day.  Then I get in front of the computer and start working.  I spend most of my day looking for ways to market my covers and connecting with other moms, bloggers and entrepreneurs.  I process orders as they come in.  I also must stay on top of inventory and manufacturing, making sure that we have the appropriate manufacturing and shipping materials on hand.  Like many owners of a small business, I am customer service, order fulfillment, and marketing rolled into one!
What has been a struggle while starting up your company? 

Finding the right balance between work and family is always a struggle.  It is hard to be completely “on” for the kids after school and in the evening when I know that there are emails waiting in my inbox that need attending to.  It also is frustrating when my phone rings and I can’t get it because the house is too noisy and we are in the middle of homework.  I think that this is an issue that every working mom struggles with.  On the flip side, I can easily volunteer at school and take my kids to their activities because I control my own schedule. 
What did you do in your past work life?

In my past work life, I was an attorney.  I did white collar criminal defense litigation in New York.
What have been some of your major successes?
I think that just getting my product on the market was a huge success.  It is a leap of faith to take an idea and make it a reality. It also was a success to see my product on BabyAge.com, our first major retailer.  
What have been some of your major challenges?

It was particularly challenging to get started.  I had a great idea, but didn’t know how to get it made.  It took some time -- and finding a design consultant who could produce a design blueprint -- to get started.  The learning curve also has been quite steep.  I have no background in manufacturing, finance, and marketing, though I was able to do our patent and trademark applications, which saved us some money.
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?

My kids.  They are the best.  Even when I am feeling overwhelmed or stressed, one of them will do something that makes me smile.  It also helps to know that there is an end to every day, no matter how horrible or stressful it may be.  
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?

There is no secret, except self-forgiveness.  There will always be something that you could have done better, either with your family or your business.  But you can’t focus on your shortcomings and failures.  Recognize what you didn’t do well and try to do better the next time.  That’s the advice that you would give your kids, and it makes sense to follow it yourself!
What is next for your business?

We are looking for other retail opportunities and hoping to continue to grow our online sales.  
Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business? 

Yes, just get out there and try.  There are so many reasons not to take a risk.  But it is so rewarding to know that you tried your best and gave it a shot.  And if you push yourself to try, you may be surprised at the results. 

1 comment :

  1. I am thinking avon or meet mark (: btw

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    hope you follow me back :D

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    ReplyDelete