Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Amy Maurer Creel of Smart Mom LLC

Do you have a teething baby?  Well, it seems like for the past 6 months my daughter has been teething non-stop.  And, now, she has 8 teeth (4 on top and 4 on the bottom).  During what seemed like a long teething episode, I was on the hunt for the perfect teether to help sooth her (and me).  I tried almost all the products you could buy at retail stores and online to no avail.  And, then, I stumbled upon these great teething pendants from 2 mom entrepreneurs, and knew I had to spotlight them and feature their great products on my blog.  Amy was kind enough to send me samples of their teething bling from their Smart Mom Jewelry line, and was I grateful.  After just one day, Savannah seemed to find relief chewing on her new stylish bangle bracelet.  As we sat together, she would sooth her sore gums by chewing on this safe teething bling.  And, when she was not chewing on them, I was able to wear them while out in the markets and out and about.  Then, when Savannah became fussy again, I would either place the bangle on her wrist to chew, or cuddle her, while he found relief in these unique and stylish teething jewelry.

If you have tried other teething products like I have and still can't find anything that works, or are looking for the perfect baby shower gift to give a family member or friend, you must check out Teething Bling by Smart Mom Jewelry.  Who says moms can't look stylish, while helping to sooth their teething babies?

Head back to my blog on Friday, where I will review Amy and Kendra's Teething Bling in further detail, as well as offer a 50% off coupon code only for Inspired by Savannah readers, and a chance for one lucky reader to win a Teething Bling Gift set (includes one pendant and2 bangles; winner can choose colors).  In the meantime, please enjoy my interview with Amy.


Name: Amy Maurer Creel
Company Name/Product/Service: Smart Mom LLC
Company Location:  Silver Spring, MD
Company Website:  http://www.smartmomjewelry.com
Age of Company: 9 years
Favorite Inspirational Quotes:  "There's nothing that affects a child more than the well-being of his/her mother."
Favorite Book:  How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk

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

I am 44, married for almost 15 years, mother of 2 girls (7 and 11)  living in Ashton, MD. I like to bake (cupcakes are my specialty), exercise (recently got into Zumba and found I'm surprisingly good at shaking my hips!), hike, do yoga, read, play with my kids, be around animals.  I am very laid back but at the same time, quite driven.  People often describe me as a good listener, and I appreciate that.  

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?  

It was 2002 and I met a woman named Kendra LaDuca at a Gymboree class.  We  had daughters the same age and struck up a friendship.  Kendra, a very creative person, approached me with a business idea (I have a background in sales and marketing) and asked if I thought it could work.  "Teethable jewelry" was the basic concept and at the time, the category simply didn't exist.  I was uncertain at first but told her – if you can find a way to make it, I can market it.  With next to no experience, we jumped in and created our company, Smart Mom.

What is a typical work day like?

As is true for everyone on our staff, I work around my kids' schedules.  Family comes first.  So, a typical day always involves my girls.  Whether playing with them, getting them to school or camp, coordinating play dates, taking them to the pool, etc., I spend a lot of time just being a Mom.

I also spend a lot of time at my computer – answering email (I get @500 a day!) and calls.  I handle all of the sales and marketing for Smart Mom so I'm constantly in touch with retailers as well as individual customers.  The pace is hectic but fun.  I don't have set hours (say 9-5) but definitely put in a full time work week.

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?  
I think balancing work and motherhood has been the toughest part of starting a company.  And working from home makes it harder to establish boundaries.  It's also involved a lot of financial sacrifice as well as enormous amounts of time and energy.  It takes a daily commitment to run a small business.

What did you do in your past work life?

I was a salesperson for a radio station in Washington, DC. 

What have been some of your major successes?

Getting Teething Bling into major retailers like Buy Buy Baby and Destination Maternity has been amazing.  I still get goosebumps when I see our products in a store!  Being able to hire other stay-at-home Moms and give them meaningful, lucrative work opportunities has been hugely rewarding as well. And giving back to charity has probably been the biggest reward of all.
What have been some of your major challenges?

It's hard to make money without spending it so finding start-up cash was tough.  Also, success doesn't happen overnight so I've had to learn patience and dedication.  But I guess the biggest challenge is staying motivated, every single day.  I need to be completely self-motivated in my career.
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?

I try to keep things in perspective.  As long as my family is okay, no business-related issue can possibly matter all that much.  I also tell myself, when I get overwhelmed, that being busy is a good thing!  I wouldn’t want the reverse to be true and have no work.  If it's a particularly impossible day, I will leave my desk and go for a walk.  Or snuggle with my kids.  Re-connect to the things that truly matter in my life.

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

I always make time for myself, no matter what.  A walk, a guilty-pleasure TV show, a massage, a cup of tea. I cannot nurture my family – or my business – if I don't take care of myself.

What is next for your business?

We are growing internationally and now have partners in 9 countries, with plans to continue that expansion.We are also working on some new products lines (new shapes, colors) to be introduced later this year.  

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?  

Do it!  Take a deep breath and say, "What the heck?" I don't think we're likely to regret NOT trying.  And email me!  I have tons of contacts and would be happy to help any Moms who need some direction.  I would be delighted to help others pursue their dream.

1 comment :

  1. I have two friends with little ones who will be teething soon I will have to tell them about this thanks for sharing.
    heather [email protected]