Monday, March 7, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Jennifer Cigale, Author of Newborn Necessities

This week I want to introduce to you Jennifer Cigale, author of Newborn Necessities.  One thing I learned from being a new mom was that during the first few weeks of my daughter's life, I had to document feedings, along with the number of messy and wet diapers.  I ended up writing down this information on various sheets of scrap paper I found around the house.  As you can imagine, when it came time to gather up the information to have ready for her wellness doctor visits, I couldn't find all the sheets.  If only I had Jennifer's book, Newborn Necessities.  This book is a mini journal you can use to track all the necessary information like feedings, diaper changes, etc. -- all in one place.  And, you can throw it into your diaper bag and bring along to the doctor's visit with you.  Here is my interview with Jennifer.  Don't forget to come back on Friday for your chance to win a copy of Newborn Necessities for yourself, to give to a friend.

Name:  Jennifer Cigale
Company Name/Product/Service:   Newborn Necessities
Company Location:   Boca Raton, FL
Twitter Handle: @mrscigale
Age of Company:  official book release date was 11/2/10
Favorite Inspirational Quotes:  "We may not have it all together, but together we have it all."  ~unknown
Favorite Book:  Any sappy love story, and The Red Tent
Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.

My husband and I met on a blind date and here we are 11 years later, with two kids, a dog, two cars and a mortgage.  Our daughter, Olivia is 5, and our son, Gavin is 2.   I am an Occupational Therapist working in home health with the geriatric population of S. Florida.  As a family we love to travel and vacation, and my husband and I fancy ourselves as wine connoisseurs.  In my limited free time I like to read and sleep, although I never have enough time for either.  We have surrounded ourselves with a great network of friends and are very blessed.
Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?

As a new mom, I had difficulty breastfeeding because of previous surgery.  I developed the charts in NN for myself after my lactation consultant recommended I track the breast/bottle feedings with my daughter.  By the time my son was born, the hospital was giving new moms a sheet of paper to track this info on.  I began shopping publishers and after a very laborious process (and a credit card loan), NN was released on 11/2/10.
What is a typical work day like? 

We are up at 6:15AM, then Olivia is off to the bus stop.  Gavin and I take in an episode of Mickey or Wiggles, or read a book, then he is off to preschool.  I see my patients, attend meetings, make appts., pay bills, make dinner/lunches, buy groceries, email, etc. in between and swap childcare with my girlfriends and neighbors to make it all happen in a day.  It takes a village after all.
What has been a struggle while starting up your company?  

The biggest struggle was to find a publisher willing to publish the book.  Somewhere along the way had to be a new mom or parent/grandparent who saw my manuscript and thought it made sense.  I worked with Tate Publishing to agree on an initial investment I could afford, and the rest as they say is history.
The second biggest issue was just deciding to pursue the idea.  Self-doubt and fear of failure almost won out.  Thankfully, I worked through it and made the resolution to do it because it has been so fun and an eye opening adventure to businesses, blogs and hard working women/moms I would have never otherwise known.
What did you do in your past work life?
As mentioned, I am a practicing Occupational Therapist.  Interestingly enough, my bachelors degree is in Geriatrics and that is the population I most enjoy working with.  It was becoming a mom that steered my interests in this direction.
What have been some of your major successes?

I got the book published!  And, I have two healthy and happy children.
What have been some of your major challenges?

Finding time to do it all, and knowing that it's ok to let some things fall to the side.  It doesn't all have to be done today!
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?

Thinking about what I can do next.  

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?

A cleaning lady, and a strong support system of friends who live close by who are willing to help with my kids when I need it!
What is next for your business?

I really want to make an iPhone/blackberry app for Newborn Necessities.  I just can't seem to find a person/company that can/will do it.
Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business? 

Just start -- you only fail if you don't try.

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