What inspired you to start your business?
I began my career doing product development for other people’s companies, which I really enjoyed. I was married to an artist and we were living pretty simply in New York City in the 80’s and I got pregnant with our first son and then a year later, I was pregnant with twins. With three children under the age of two it seemed like in order to survive I’d have to make something for myself that I’d have control over. I knew what I wanted to do and how to do it, so I just jumped in. I started my business out of existential fear and necessity but it definitely turned out to be the very best solution that has offered a very fulfilling, family oriented life.
What challenges have you faced as a woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?
There was definitely a bias against women when I first started speaking with factory owners, warehouse guys, shippers, fulfillers — all guys at that time. I needed to strike that balance of being tough but still likable — I’m sure that’s still true now unfortunately. I also got a lot of people asking, “who owns the business?” There was an assumption that my father, brother, uncle or husband must be behind me somewhere with the coin… and not quite believing me when I said, “I own it all.”
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
I don’t believe in taking on partners. I think a lot of women do it because they are afraid to go it alone but much of the time it turns out to be a mistake. If you aren’t good at numbers hire a bookkeeper — don’t take a bookkeeper on as a partner.
What three traits define you?
I’m definitely tenacious — I don’t usually give up without trying to crush the problem a hundred ways. I’m 95% confident — I usually trust my instincts when I’m developing a product or making a big decision. That being said, I ask for a lot of advice and options — weigh my options carefully but don’t usually freak out if I need to pull the trigger on something important. I’m nimble — I think I am capable of moving from one solution to another if things aren’t working, I’m easy with product development and try to think fresh and creatively every season.
What women inspire you?
Ruth Bader Ginsberg for her decency and the extraordinary intelligence she employs to protect people’s rights. My Godmother, Lodoise, who did a million creative things and all of them always beautifully and with affection and awesome skill.
As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?
Fear that I’ll screw up and lose it all. Managing people when things get complicated.
What are the biggest obstacles you see for young female entrepreneurs?
Their own self confidence. I think it is especially true for women who often believe that they aren’t capable of starting a business.
What do you love about being a business owner?
Freedom to leave work when I want to watch my daughter in a volleyball game. Satisfaction in accomplishing a complicated evolving challenge. Creativity and the ability to use my imagination to fulfill a vision.
What’s the hardest part about being a business owner?
Having to miss time with my children when they were little. The realization that all the responsibility is on you.
How do you define success?
Making enough time for your children or loved ones. Making enough money to be able to take care of your family and the people that depend on you. Consistently producing products I am proud of.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t let anyone push you into making a decision on the spot…either on the phone or in person. Always say, “let me think about that and I’ll get back to you.”
What’s your favorite career moment?
Every time I meet someone who knows my brand and says, “I love eeBoo.”
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I... ask advice and opinions…stay awake all night thinking it out a million ways until the solution comes to me.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… I should have asked for help when I needed it.
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… getting away from NYC on the weekends.
By this time next year, I will be… reviewing how much my staff and I have learned and accomplished in the past year.
The best thing that happened to me last week was… I followed up on a New Year's resolution.
To get my creative juices flowing, I… find time for myself to just be alone.
eeBoo creates refreshing toys and gifts that are 100% original (no licenses). eeBoo is committed to creating beautiful well-made products that; teach the basic literacy skills, promote attentiveness and empathy, encourage cooperation, honor diversity, foster good citizenship, promote respect for other cultures and the larger world we share, offer constructive and engaging alternatives to screen time, and revive wholesome pastimes that bring generations together.