Monday, June 18, 2012

Spotlight on Mom -- Kelly Yaep of Wee Drool, LLC

I have been waiting weeks to share this week's Spotlight Mom with you, as I am loving this must have item for any mom with a baby or toddler, who drools or is teething.  With two girls under the age to two, I have been dealing with constant drooling from the age of 2 months old with each, up until 22 months old, when Savannah's molars finally popped through.  If you came to visit, you would think I had my own laundromat service, as I was constantly washing, drying, folding and storing bibs and onesies.  On average, I would go through about 25 bibs a day -- no joke!  And, don't get me started on the number of times I had to changes tops and onesies.  It wasn't until I tried the Wee Drool waterproof, reversible T-bib from this week's Spotlight Mom, Kelly Yaep, that I finally saw an end to 4-5 loads of laundry a day.  Kelly created the Wee Drool bib out of necessity, as her boys were droolers like my girls, and she couldn't find a bib that would keep their shirts dry.  So, after a few months of working on prototypes, she finally came up with her final design, and thus a new mom-inspired business was form.  I am excited to share Kelly Yaep and her business, Wee Drool LLC with you today.  

Here is a glimpse at the amazing bib she created, which comes in a variety of colors and styles:

Tired of bibs ruining every outfit?  Wee Drool T-bibs are wearable waterproof bibs that are designed to protect your little one's clothing from dribble, drool, spit up and spills in an ultra chic green way.  Our unique three layered T-shirt like design will ease your mind of the worries that a normal bib poses while leaving your little one smiling in comfort.  Made from a blend of Bamboo Viscose and Organic Cotton, these T-bibs are the ultimate in softness, comfort, soak-proof protection and, of course style!  Bamboo Organic Cotton Fleece is as soft as a baby chinchilla and holds a nice weight for maximum absorbency.  Our hip modern prints make for a stylish cover-up solution that is inspiring a new generation to drool in style!  A new kind of bib designed for the eco-minded parent and fashion-conscious tot.  

Neat, huh?  If you have baby or toddler who is a drooler, this bib will help keep you sane, and cut down on the number of bib and shirt changes you go through daily.  Make sure you head back here on Friday, when I will share more about Kelly's Wee Drool bibs, and give one lucky reader a chance to win a Wee Ride bib. Also, I will be sharing a coupon code, for 15% off your total order, when ordering through Kelly's online store.  But, in the meantime, I would love for you to get to know Kelly more, as I share my Spotlight on Mommy Interview with her below.  Enjoy!

Name: Kelly Yaep
Company Name/Product/Service: Wee Drool LLC
Company Location: Irvine, CA
Company Website:
Age of Company: Just launched 2012
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: Leap and the net will appear - John Burroughs, Believe you can and you're halfway there - Theodore Roosevelt

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

I live in Southern California and have been happily married for 11 years.  I have 3 sons who were my inspiration for this business venture and constantly keep me on my toes (ages 8, 5, and 2).  I have always loved fashion and all things crafty.  I once heard if you're creative, you always find an outlet somehow, someway.  So when I became a mom, my creative outlet was planning themed birthday parties for my sons, making invitations, decorations and party favors.   I love spending time with my family, traveling, movies and musical theater.

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?

All 3 of my sons were heavy droolers from as early as 8 weeks old til almost 3!  Bibs were an essential part of their everyday outfits.  I tried every single type of bib out there and somehow their shirts were always soaked.  I even layered several cotton bibs on top of a plastic bib for extra protection.  Can you imagine what a fashion faux-paux that looked like?  As they hit the toddler age, it was just plain embarrassing to be out in public with them wearing a bib. 

When my third son was around 9 months old, I was talking to my husband one night about wanting a more stylish bib that resembled a graphic tee that would blend more with their outfit.  And that's how Wee Drool was born.  I began cutting up my son's shirts to figure out a pattern and then researching the most absorbent, eco-friendly materials in the marketplace.  I never really sewed anything before trying to make my first sample.  My little guy became my model for the many many prototypes.  Within 3 months I had a professional sample and the rest is history! 

What is a typical work day like?

I have 3 kids in very different stages, so my work day is very sporadic and different each day.  I drop off my 2 older sons at school in the morning, but I still have my 2 year old at home with me everyday.  I answer some emails and make some phone calls after drop off, but most of it takes place during his afternoon nap or at night.  After the kids go to bed is when I can research more, fill orders and prepare for the next day. 

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?

For a start-up company, I feel like there are struggles in every facet.  From dealing with vendors, to the manufacturing process and then of course there's also the business side to it too.  There has definitely been an exponential learning curve involved with every step of the process.  It can seem so overwhelming at times, but just taking one step at a time helps.  Before you know it, you've made a huge progress.  
What did you do in your past work life?

I've dabbled in a little bit of every area in the industry: assistant buying, fashion PR, asst. product manager, and product development.  Each experience helped my to see the whole picture from manufacturing to retail and has helped tremendously when starting my own product. 
What have been some of your major successes?

Since I am just starting out, every positive comment and order that is placed is a success!  I'm just so thrilled that my vision is now a tangible product that I can share with other moms. 

What have been some of your major challenges?

One major challenge was creating the perfect fit.  I had to rework the pattern several times over to make sure that it wouldn't allow for any drool to sneak through.  Also finding the right vendors was a challenge, whether it was for fabric, hang tags, sewing, cutting or screen printing.  Just when you think you've found the right vendor, you run into a problem and you have to start from square one again.  When you're working with vendors, they don't know your exact vision and you're always so excited to see a sample only to be let down by imperfections.  Just don't settle and keep at it until they reach your standards. 

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
God is definitely gracious because on those days that you feel like giving up, there will be some good news that will come your way from somewhere else.  My husband also keeps me going because he believes in me and my product and that's all I need. 

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
It's definitely not easy and I'm just starting out so I don't know how it will turn out if things start to really pick up!  I once heard to separate work time and family time though.  If you try to do both at the same time, neither one will benefit.  So when I play with the kids, I try to focus on them, enjoy the moment and not think about work.  When I'm working, I try to concentrate on what needs to get accomplished and not think about laundry, dinner, play dates, etc.  My family will always come first though!
What is next for your business?

Since we just launched, there are many mommy blogs out there that have expressed interest in writing up reviews and giveaways.  Be on the look out for that!  Right now you can only buy the product on my website, but in the next few months I hope to have gotten the product into trendy children's boutiques and other online retailers.  

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

You have to really believe in your product!  It's a long road ahead and there will be so many bumps along the way, but if it's truly a product that you believe in, that will be enough to keep you going.  Also have a good support system around you.  Being around people that believe in you keeps you staying positive.  Again, one step at a time and that mountain will soon become a mole hill!

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