Barbara Schantz founded Baby Dipper in Huntsville, Alabama in 2005.
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
Baby Dipper, LLC manufactures innovative and easy-to-use infant care products for busy parents.
How did you come up with the idea for Baby Dipper?
When my first set of twins were about 6 months old, I needed a bowl that would let me feed them using only one hand. I tried many different types of bowls and when I was unable to find one that worked, I decided to design my own.
What were you doing before you started Baby Dipper?
I worked as a Product Specialist for Volvo Cars of North America training sales consultants about the features and benefits of Volvo cars. Baby Dipper is my first start-up business.
Did you operate your business from your home? What were the challenges and benefits to this strategy?
Yes. It is definitely a cost saving and it allows me to work off and on throughout the day. The main challenge is finding quiet time to concentrate and get everything done with the kids to take care of.
For women entrepreneurs, what specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become an entrepreneur? Are there specific advantages, disadvantages to being a women business owner?
Young women entrepreneurs just need to be told that they can do it! Having worked in the auto industry for 8 years, I learned to deal with male coworkers and business contacts. Don't even think about the fact that you're female. Concentrate on the fact that you know what you're talking about. The nice thing is that there are lots of contest and opportunities that are only for women, so take advantage of those.
Social marketing is consistently being written about in the small business space. Has it worked generating business for you?
Yes, it has. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook have all been helpful. Each has its own nuances for making connections, so take some time to explore what each has to offer.
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
Getting the product out to review bloggers. This gets the word out to their readers and also keeps the web site high on the search engines since the link gets posted many places.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Thoroughly explore your market and manufacturing options before committing too much to it. A provisional patent is a great and inexpensive place-holder for a year while you take some time to explore. Find some mentors in the industry if you can as they will be very valuable to you.
Thanks for your time, Barbara! It is amazing how many Moms there are who are inventing new products. Good luck with Baby Dipper!