Monday, January 30, 2012

Spotlight on Mommy -- Holly Clayson and Susan Sellers of Ocha Baby

I am excited to share this week's Spotlight on Mommy moms, Holly Clayson and Susan Sellers, of Ocha Baby, with you all.  They kindly sent me a sample of their organic tea-dyed baby clothing a few weeks ago for my daughter, Arabella Sofia (who is now 9 weeks old).  I am loving her embroidered onesie, with her initial on it.  She looks so cute in the onesie, and I can't tell you how many compliments she gets when wearing it, when we are out and about.  What I love most about this unique onesie is the antique/vintage feel it has, with the quilt-styled initial patch, along with the tea-dyed fabric.  I have been shopping for infant and toddler clothing for the past 19 months (as my other daughter, Savannah is now 19 months), and have never seen anything like this clothing line in retail stores or online.  So, when I came across Ocha Baby, I knew I had to meet and spotlight the two moms behind this wonderful business, as well as share their unique clothing line with you all.  

Please head back here on Friday, when I will do a complete review of their onesie that was sent my way, and also include photos of Arabella wearing it.  In addition, one lucky reader will have a chance to win a Ocha Baby onesie of their own, thanks to these two amazing moms.  But, in the meantime, please enjoy my Spotlight on Mommy interview with them.

Name:  Holly Clayson and Susan Sellers

Company Name/Product/Service: Ocha Baby, organic tea dyed baby clothing

Company Location: Charleston, SC

Company Website:

Age of Company:  7 months

Favorite Inspirational Quotes: To live a creative life ,we must lose our fear of being wrong. -Joseph Chilton Pearce

Favorite Book: Holly- Before Women Had Wings by Connie May Fowler    Susan- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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

Holly has a 21 month-old son and Susan has a 15 month-old son. We love spending time with the boys and also have a marketing company together which keeps us very busy. Since we live in Charleston, SC, we enjoy going to the beach and also walking in our beautiful historic downtown area.

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about? 
"Ocha" meaning tea in Japanese is our inspiration. Ocha Baby features organic tea-dyed baby couture uniquely embellished with initials and patches made of vintage baby blankets. The idea for these creations came about after Holly made some adorable tie-dyed onesies using black tea for a baby shower. We really wanted to create an eco-friendly product that was good for baby and the environment. After several weeks of brainstorming, we became inspired by the idea of tea-dyeing and incorporating vintage baby blankets.  We also loved personalized clothing for our sons so we wanted to add initials/letters to the mix. There are a lot of elements involved! We are so pleased to announce that the Whole Foods in Charleston, SC wants to carry Ocha Baby. We expect to be in before the end of January 2012.

What is a typical work day like?  

We spend weekday mornings with our sons and work in the afternoons while the children are with a shared sitter. When we work on Ocha Baby, we spend much of the time tea-dying the organic body suits. We do this in Holly’s kitchen using large pots filled with various kinds of tea including Green, Black, Chamomile and Raspberry. Once the garments are dyed, we wash them using environmentally-friendly detergent and then dry them. We order vintage baby blankets from the 1970’s and earlier off of sites like Ebay, and fashion them into 2x3 inch squares. Then off they go to the seamstress for the finishing touches. Once back in-house, the Ocha Baby body suits are ironed and packaged with love.

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?  

Our biggest challenge has been finding organic cotton bodysuits at a reasonable price. The cost for blanks is high because organic cotton is hard to come by these days.

What did you do in your past work life? 

We met because of our common television news backgrounds...and decided to start our marketing company in 2004. We own Flair Marketing and Advertising in addition to our newest company, Ocha Baby LLC.

What have been some of your major successes? 

Getting into Whole Foods!...and unsolicited PR mentions in several local magazines.

What have been some of your major challenges? 

Learning how to dye with tea, it’s harder than you’d think.

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

We take turns motivating each we love Ocha Baby and are really inspired to see this wonderful “green” product succeed.

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

The fact that both of us have children about the same age helps. We always support each other and understand the challenges of balancing work and family. We also share a wonderful nanny for 5 hours each day which gives us time to really concentrate on the businesses.

What is next for your business? 

We’d like to get our e-commerce website up and running in the coming months. We’d also like to expand the line to include t-shirts, hats and maybe even high-end tea-dyed dresses.

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

Patience is definitely a must...follow your passions and don't give in to doubts. You can do anything if you believe in yourself (and your product)!

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