Q & A with Mia
My name is Mia Carr and I am the CEO of Simply Mommy LLC and the co-creator of the Snuggle Me™. My husband and I have 7 children which we homeschool on our 20 acre homestead south of Duluth, Minnesota.
How did you come up with the idea for the Snuggle Me™?
My mother-in-law and I came up with the concept of the Snuggle Me™ after the birth of my twin sons in 2006. I struggled to juggle the demands of having twin newborn babies along with a toddler. The idea for a sensory lounger that snuggled a baby came to our minds. I had just taken a sewing class a few months before, so I pulled out the sewing machine, sewed up a few examples and we finally found a design that did exactly what we imagined.
What was it like starting your business?
With clear dreams and a lot of spunk, we got to work! I remember the very first show we did, which was at a local craft fair. We came with a homemade sign and 12 handmade Snuggle Me's. I remember seeing the first pregnant mama approach our table, eye's avoiding us as we waved her over. I'll never forget that day as the turning point for me. I was hooked and began to learn and absorb every bit of info I could on business and marketing (in fact, it became an obsession), and after 10 years have come a long way.
How do you juggle homeschooling and being a CEO?
It is a work in progress, for sure. Most days I feel pretty scattered, but some are reasonably calm. Our oldest boys are now 12, 10 and 10, which makes things a whole lot easier as they can handle a huge amount of the daily chores. They are also reasonably independent in their schoolwork now, which helps. We have been at this their entire lives, so they are very used to me working from home, having conference calls and traveling when necessary. In fact, they all pitch in hauling boxes, printing orders or helping pack up for a show.
What do you do in your spare time?
As a family we do a lot of hiking and camping, (in fact we took off and lived in a camper for 4 months last summer). I do a lot of reading, chicken tending, gardening and cooking. I also play dress up, blocks and legos.
Did you use the Snuggle Me™ with your kids?
We hadn't invented the Snuggle Me™ with our first 3, but for our last 3 we did. Not to brag, but man, it was a game changer. It was amazing to be able to have that secure sensory lounger while you recover. I found sensory lounging helped me get a better night's sleep. Anytime I wasn't holding or wearing my littles, they were laying in their Snuggle Me™
Why did you choose to focus on organic products and keep them made in the US?
We are crunchy moms at heart and really feel like there are so few choices for moms concerned about toxins and synthetics. Sifting through all the options, even the ones that claim to be "safe" and "natural" and "organic" can be disheartening. We also felt there were no companies out there willing to step up and provide a sensory lounging product for families. As for keeping our business in the US? That was a no brainer. It's one of the best places to create very high quality items, especially when you have such a close working relationship with those making your products.
What has been the most exciting part of building a business?
At first it was the little accomplishments, like getting real money for what you were doing or when we first saw people talking about us on the internet. Now it feels much bigger than that. It's the realizations that you had this idea in your mind, then you made what you envisioned in real life and people actually found it valuable and fell in love with your same idea. Now other companies are coming in to copy our same ideas, which makes you feel annoyed at first, but then gives you a bit of a big head. To me, that whole journey of bringing my vision to life has really been the most exciting part of the process.
What advice do you have for others wanting to start their own business?
Don't quit. If you don't know the answer, someone else in the world does. Look at how other successful people solved a problem and apply that solution to your specific issue. Learn and work on what you're building everyday. You will fail...a lot, but the lessons you will learn will grow and shape you in ways you can't even imagine yet. You will be thrown out of your comfort zone and that's OK.
What future do you see for the Snuggle Me™?
Oh man, I feel we are just getting started. I see us expanding further internationally and replicating the success we have had here in the US. I see us deeply connected with the natural birth community and being a strong advocate for families. I also see us starting a non-profit and paying our great success forward.
Mia is always available at Info@SimplyMommyOnline.com or by TEXT at 651.257.7220