~ By Sari Davidson
My son, like many babies, liked to toss his sippy cup. I, like most parents, got tired of chasing it. Life was very different back in 2005. The internet was there, but it wasn’t the e-commerce megastore it is today with every single product you could ever dream of, waiting for you on Amazon.com. There were a few parenting forums and support groups, but nothing like the communities and forums we see nowadays. Interestingly, brick and mortar baby stores were everywhere and yet I couldn’t find anything to help me with these cup throwing exercises. It seemed like such a simple thing…why was there no strap or tether out there designed to attach to a cup and a highchair at the same time, so parents don’t have to play the game of pick-up-cups-and-clean-spills ad nauseum?
Well, what to do when you’re a natural-born entrepreneur? I created a solution myself! I designed, developed, and created my first product, the SippiGrip, with a sewing machine at my kitchen table. Fellow parents tested my prototype and it immediately became clear I had something special on my hands. From that point on, there was no turning back for me, no matter how hard things were going to get.
Pushing Through the Struggle
As expected, it wasn’t easy. At the start of my entrepreneurial journey, it was very difficult leading a double life. I was working at Microsoft full-time while also working on my new business, BooginHead, full-time. I had two young children and zero employees. I was so grateful for the support and community of other parents. After we’d moved to Seattle, I was on maternity leave with my second son and joined a PEPS group to meet people in the area, figuring it would also give me some semblance of normalcy in this hectic life I had committed to. I was the sole breadwinner for my family, while also trying to accomplish the dream of owning a successful business. I was also stretching my limits, taking huge chances. I bought a ticket to Los Angeles and pitched my product to QVC! I set up a tiny table at a huge industry trade show with my one little prototype! Big risks can mean big rewards though and my risks paid off. Buyers from Target, on the hunt for parent-invented products, placed an order, and BooginHead moved full steam ahead.
As an entrepreneur at heart, I don’t think I ever “thought small.” I was not the person who went to local fairs to sell my product. I went straight to large-scale manufacturing, approaching big retailers like Walmart. I remember plowing through those meetings, pretending that I understood what was being asked of me, and then researching and learning the skills to make the partnership happen after I left. I’d go into Microsoft during the day and then at 5 o’clock, I’d be managing all the pieces of my newly found business, from invoicing to dealing with manufacturers to shipping products from my garage.
The Value of Support
To this day, I am so grateful for the support I received from my mom groups and PEPS and for the friendships I forged to the personal insights and informal product testing my peer group happily helped with. I had a circle of reliable parent friends to bounce ideas off of, validation that this dream I was chasing was necessary, and I was providing solutions to parent problems not just within my own family and friends, but to parents everywhere. The community I found in PEPS gave me the confidence I needed to persevere, pushing me past the hard times and believe in myself as an entrepreneur, business owner, and parent.
I promised myself I would leave the security of my full-time job once I reached $1 million in sales. It happened in 2010. Now, the little company I’d built in my kitchen back in 2005 employs a team of seven (all moms!), 12 product lines, more than 100 solution-based products, and we’ll be introducing our next great innovation in October. After 12 years, the SippiGrip will be getting an upgrade. Made in the USA of food-grade silicone, this award-winning product that launched the company will be stretchy but strong, compact but expandable. It’s still super easy to clean, compatible with just about every cup, bottle or toy, and just as committed to solving parenting woes as it ever was back in 2007.
I am who I am today because of the support and community I found when I needed it the most – from mom groups like PEPS – back when I was young, struggling, and dreaming big. That’s why BooginHead is such a proud sponsor of PEPS, providing direct aid to families who need financial support to join, and we’re thrilled to offer PEPS members a 20% discount on BooginHead.com with your purchase $20 or more! Just enter the code PEPS when checking out your cart. We hope BooginHead can help you “Get a Grip” on parenthood with functional, and stylish baby essentials!
Sari is the owner, founder, and CEO of BooginHead. Sari and the company have been recognized as Puget Sound Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Business for the Eastside and Washington State, Fortune’s Most Powerful Woman Entrepreneur, Babble’s Top 50 Mompreneurs, been featured on Huffington Post, Thrive Global, LadyBossBlogger, Medium, Inc.com, and 425 Business Magazine as their “Powerhouse Entrepreneur” in an article about women changing the business landscape in Washington State.
Looking to start a business? Sari makes time to mentor, too.
BooginHead products can be found in all Target, Walmart, buybuyBABY, and Rite Aid stores nationwide. We’re proud to be in H-E-B in Texas, and Military families can find us in Army Air Force Exchange.