Molly turned her idea of making baby sunglasses into a booming business — she started Babiators, you know those adorable little kid-friendly aviators? They are now sold in over 3,000 stores worldwide! Read on below for her advice on balancing business and motherhood, favorite baby products and more!
Tell us about Babiators. How did your brand start? Why sunglasses?
My partners and I launched Babiators (our “baby aviator” shades) six years ago when we noticed children squinting in the sun and realized how difficult it was to find awesome, durable shades for the under 7 set.
We wondered if we were onto something when Sarah Jessica Parker’s, Khloe Kardashian’s, Hilary Duff’s and Jennifer Garner’s kiddos (among others in Hollywood) were all spotted in our new shades. Then, Ellen selected them as gifts to her pregnant mamas on her Mother’s Day Giveaway episode. A surreal moment!
Today, Babiators retail in over 3K doors and 45 countries and is the leading sunglasses brand for babies and kids. Made from a durable rubber that withstands the rough & tumble adventures of any child, our sunglasses are BPA-free, offer 100% UV protection (very important for kids’ eyes to prevent sun damage!) and are guaranteed against loss and breakage.
For us, childhood is about getting outdoors and exploring. We want Babiators to help keep every child safe and stylish while they’re out on those awesome adventures.
What’s the most challenging part of motherhood and owning your own business?
There is never enough time in one day to accomplish everything I hope to accomplish (we all feel this way, I’m guessing – both parents and entrepreneurs). I’ve accepted that I can no longer complete my to-do list each day. Instead, I prioritize the top three (the most important, not necessarily the most urgent) items and work to finish those.
How do you stay organized with your work and family life?
We just built a new home, and my husband Ted and I were intent on not filling it with clutter. Trying to live and work in a clean, organized space inspires me to stay organized throughout my life. Spoiler alert: This doesn’t always work, but it’s helping!
What’s your morning routine like?
Thankfully, Ted takes our son to school each morning (and often spends one-on-one time with our baby boy until the sitter arrives at 9am — love you, babe!). Mornings are my best, most productive time to work. I usually sit down in front of the computer with oatmeal and a large mug of hot coffee. I try not to make morning appointments, and I usually don’t get up from the computer until lunchtime. I like to do school pick-ups and take my meetings, phone calls, appointments in the afternoon, too.
Tell us about your beauty routine and favorite products.
I stick to the basics during the day– just blush and under-eye concealer – so I can pretend that I got more sleep than I actually did. For those, I love Benefit’s Benetint “liquid blush” (which gives you a perfectly-flushed pink cheek) and Chanel’s liquid concealer stick.
Oscar Blandi texturizing spray (the best dry shampoo) and Ellnet Satin hairspray are also staples. I use a gentle cleansing lotion from my dermatologist to wash it all away each night and Dry Bar’s “Morning After” shower cap to extend a good blow dry. For a big night out, I head to a makeup counter to have my makeup done properly. Know your strengths (and doing my own makeup is not mine!).
What are your top 5 newborn essentials?
- SwaddleMe sleep sacks
- Aquaphor — for diaper rash, drool rash, dry skin, wind/cold burn
- Renting a hospital-grade breast pump (vs buying an expensive home pump, hospital pumps are far more efficient) — Yummy Mummy in NYC ships everywhere
- Mother’s Milk nursing tea
- To capture those beautiful and fleeting newborn moments, a family photoshoot with an awesome photographer — we hired our Charleston friend and Babiators photographer Gray Benko
What are your favorite sites, apps, books or magazines to read about motherhood and kid/baby?
As a first-time parent, the only book I read was Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. It helped my oldest Sawyer get on a sleep schedule as an infant – Godsend! Since then, I’ve read two stand-out books on parenting: The Danish Way of Parenting (for thinking about raising resilient, happy, whole children) and 1-2-3 Magic (for understanding how to effectively discipline). Love them both.
Also, our eldest is an early reader, and I believe the app Endless ABC helped hone those skills. We downloaded on our phone for plane, car rides and the long restaurant visit – in moderation, of course!
What kid’s brands are you loving right now?
In addition to those cool aviator shades by Babiators (wink, wink), I am loving nature-inspired patterns in neutral tones. Specifically, forest patterns from Rylee & Cru, animal swaddles from Milk Barn Kids and cult/pop sweatshirts from Mini Rodini. I don’t have daughters, but if I did, I’d love the little Gunner & Lux necklaces for them (designed by an adorable mini-entrepreneur!).
If you can offer one tip of advice to a new working mama what would it be?
Be gentle with yourself. And don’t feel guilty about sometimes prioritizing yourself too. A happy mama is a better mama.
Images by Lindsey Belle Photography
An Interview with Babiators’ Founder, Molly Fienning
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