Today I’m so grateful to share an interview with a mama who is super inspiring to me — Elle Rowley who co-founded the brand Solly Baby –which many of you may be familiar with. Elle is the epitome of a hard working woman. Along with her husband, she’s built an incredibly successful brand (right from her home!), filling a niche she saw in the market. She’s also the mom to three with one on the way. Read on for her business advice, beauty routine, what she’s reading and more!
Tell us about Solly Baby and how you started the brand?
After using migraine-inducing carriers that left me feeling like a packhorse with my first baby in 2009, I wanted something comfortable and chic to wear my second baby in so I could not only best meet his needs, but also so I could still chase after my toddler as well. There were only a few other wraps on the market and they were heavy and hot and didn’t appeal to me aesthetically so after making my own wrap, falling in love with the experience, and discovering through the feedback of friends that I had done something really different, I decided to start making and selling them on Etsy. As we sold there I could see there was a real demand from other moms like me so I took it to the next level by sourcing better fabrics and real manufacturing. I got the word out through social media, which in 2016 is an obvious route but in 2011, advertising through social media was really just beginning.
What challenges did you overcome when starting your business and do you have any advice or tips for other mom’s starting a company in the kid/baby space?
Because I don’t have a business background, every part of it has brought with it a major learning curve. Also, making decisions that sometimes slow the growth of the business, but are in the best interest of my family is never easy, but I never regret them.
My advice to other women is to sure your product adds value in the marketplace. Don’t just make a product for the sake of making something. Do something that truly adds value to your customer’s lives and that they can’t get anywhere else. I get tired of seeing new businesses that are just poor copies of someone else’s business or gimmicky type products that is all in the marketing. Conversely, I am SO inspired by products that are truly innovative and give the customer a real experience.
What’s the biggest misconception about baby wearing and what should new moms know about it?
That it’s hard! If you can figure out how to install a carseat or collapse your stroller, baby wearing is a cinch! I wish moms knew how sweet and rewarding the experience of having your baby so close is, not just the practical side.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Always meditation/spiritual time first thing in the morning before the kids are up. Then it’s a quick rush to exercise, get ready for the day, and help Jared get kids out the door. A few days a week I volunteer at my children’s school in the morning and work in the afternoon but the other days I work until after lunch, from home unless I have meetings at our office in Carlsbad or LA, and then Jared works in the afternoon until evening. I spend that time with our toddler and then with my older kids when they get home from school. Evenings are spent together and once kids are in bed Jared and I are able to hang out, which might just be my favorite part of every day.
What websites, books, blogs or apps to do you like to read about motherhood or kid/baby content?
I love the motherhood articles on Glitter Guide! I also love Mother Mag, Mini Mag, and I’m such a nerd with parenting books. Simplicity Parenting is my current favorite. I’m also reading The First Forty Days about postpartum health and it’s blowing my mind.
How would you treat yourself with a Saturday to yourself?
A late brunch by the beach, then I’d get my nails done or a massage, meet up with friends for lunch, and then spend the afternoon shopping at antique stores by myself, and end the day with a date with my husband. Lots of food. Always.
What’s your beauty routine like?
Fast! Dr. Bronner’s soap and coconut oil. My skin is incredibly sensitive and most soaps and lotions irritate it. Taking fish oil every day is essential for me to protect against breakouts. Tarte makeup is my favorite because the ingredients are so clean I can wear a lot, when needed, without it bothering my skin. I’ve loved Tubby Todd’s new Mama line for the rest of my body.
What’s your favorite kids book?
What are your 5 must haves for new moms?
Am I allowed to say a Solly Baby Wrap? Because it really is my top essential! I also love my 4Moms Rockaroo swing, Tubby Todd bath essentials, a pack of ARQ organic onesies, and a Dock-a-tot.
What’s the best piece of advice you can think of for a new mother trying to ‘balance it all’ ?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t make you any less of a mother.
Images care of Elle Rowley.