Monday, November 21, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Nicole Townend, creator of Teddy Needs a Bath!


I am excited to introduce you all to this week's Spotlight on Mommy, Nicole Townend.  She is the creator of Teddy Needs a Bath, and eco-friendly, wash and dry sack to wash your child's favorite stuffed animals in.  I was lucky enough to be sent a sample from Nicole and have been it using it for the past few weeks with my daughter, Savannah's stuffed animals, and am loving this invention.  Now, I don't have to spend hours at the kitchen sink spraying or soaking her prized stuffed animals, or worry about the stuffing bunching up in the wash or threads getting caught in the washer or dryer.  Instead, I simply have to throw her stuffed animals in this 20"x30" bag and through in the wash and then the dryer.  Once done, her stuffed animals come out looking brand new.

This Friday I will share more about this great invention, as well as offer one lucky Inspired by Savannah reader a chance to win a Teddy Needs a Bath cleaning sack for themselves.  So, head back here Friday to enter this giveaway.

But, in the meantime, please enjoy my interview with Nicole.

Name: Nicole Townend
Company Name/Product/Service: Teddy Needs a Bath!™ The Best way to wash stuffed toys.™ The FIRST wash and dry bag for stuffed animals.™
Company Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Company Website:
Twitter Handle: @teddyneedsabath
Age of Company: 1 year this month :)
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: Not all that glitters is gold. 
Favorite Book: The Secret Garden

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.
I have a one and 1/2 year old girl. She is pure bliss. I'm married to a professional skateboarder, Tosh Townend, who literally made me sick with love at first sight. My favorite things to do include anything where I'm immersed in nature ( i've taken my daughter to the LB aquarium dozens of times and one of her first words was "fishy") My husband is also a sponsored surfer so we are at the beach several days per week. We like going to remote Laguna Beach spots like 1000 steps or the cliffs in Corona Del Mar. Yes, we jump off them!

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?

My product was made simply because I needed something to wash my babies dirty stuffed animals in, pillow cases weren't working, and BabiesRus had nothing at all to do with washing stuffed toys. It was such an "Ah Ha" moment- How could this not be out there?! It's all thanks to my big doofy labrador retriever who likes to take toys into the dirt and slobber on them. Spot cleaning just wasn't enough.

What is a typical work day like?

20-50 emails. Constant hurdles with my factory, warehouse, sales reps, website, patent, etc. On a good day- I get a call that ToysRus said yes! (which is true by the way)

What has been a struggle while starting up your company? 

Everything. I learned it all the hardway. Didn't get advice from anyone. Just tried my hand at everything from packaging to sourcing to  social media. I'd have to say the toughest thing was waiting for feedback from buyers. Almost every single one has said "yes" "we love it" :) But the time it took for them to get back to us (a month or two) was excruciating. hehe

What did you do in your past work life?

I went to FIDM (The Fashion Institute in downtown LA) for 2 years than transferred to San Diego State University to get a degree in Journalism. I've always like clothes and writing. Funny that I'm not doing either at the moment. But amazing how having a baby showed me I could do SO MUCH MORE! 

What have been some of your major successes?

Personally- The feeling of knowing I came up with something that people can relate to and think is a good idea. it's scary putting yourself out there. Rejection is no fun. So far-so Good. ToysRus and BabiesRus .coms, KTLA wants to do a segment on me. (Please note that all these things are COMING SOON. And you sure can say that- just want to clarify we have gotten through all the legals with these companies, but are not live on their site yet.

What have been some of your major challenges?

The patent was time consuming. The money you have to come up with isn't easy either. Luckily I found an investor pretty early on. 

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?

Picturing our life in 5 years and the feeling of accomplishment I might have :) 

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

ppfffffff. secret? Can't say I have one. Some days are a climb. But most are filled with laughter and love. There's nothing like watching your own offspring learn about the world and how she works. 

What is next for your business?

 National Distribution.

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

1. ONLY do so if your idea is original and unique. Too many people I know are filing bankruptcy on failed clothing companies, bikini lines, cloth diapers etc. These have already been done. Why set yourself up for so much competition? Think of something NEW. That's what we need anyways. New ways to do things in this world. It will come to you eventually. 
2. It may be time consuming. What with all the networking, emails, samples back and forth with a factory until they get it right. But if it's truly unique, the year or two of free work, will pay off.

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