Remember I told you I met some awesome people at Playtime New York in July? Today’s Mompreneur is Emily Bennett. Emily is the owner of Baby Blastoff! and let me tell you her and her business are so cool! I was drawn to Emily’s Playtime booth because it was eye catching. And not in the glitz and glimmer type of way (even though I love a good glitz).
Emily’s booth stood out because it challenged the norm. When was the last time you saw a truck on a pink shirt? A cooking utensil any shirt? Emily is combating stereotypical gendered messaging one baby at a time! I told you she was cool.
Baby Blastoff! wants to support children in their interests rather than just what society thinks their interest should be. And they do so by being fashionable. So much messaging happens so early on in the life of children that this brand is necessary to begin challenging that! Emily took on the challenge when she started the brand in 2012.
We weren’t able to sit down for a chat and both of our schedules were a little crazy but Emily was still kind enough to do a virtual interview with me.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
For a long time I wanted to be a cartoonist. I still love New Yorker cartoons. In fact, I often clip my favorites and send them in packages along with Baby Blastoff! product.
What were you doing before you came up with the idea for Baby Blastoff?
I was a teacher for the public schools in Albuquerque. I taught Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade. Then I took time off to be with my son. My background is in art, so when the idea came to me, it was natural for me to say—“Okay, time to draw a dump truck and print it on a pink onesie.”
How did you come up with the name Baby Blastoff?
I had a hard time coming up with a name for my business. I wanted something that would express my message without being too heavy handed. I was home visiting my parents, and my dad had my son on his lap and was playing this baby game that he plays with all babies. He says to the baby “Are you ready to blast off?” Then he counts down “5…4…3….2…1… BABY BLASTOFF!” while launching the baby into the air. And I thought—that’s perfect. It expresses exactly what we all want for our children–to blast off into lives full of possibility–lives unimpeded by external barriers.
Three things you’ve learned since starting the company.
I have learned that you can learn to do just about anything from YouTube. I have learned that good sales people are amazing. The good ones are like therapists; they help you identify what you want and help you get it. They support your dreams. I want to be like them. If you haven’t already, hug a salesperson today! And how to create a mobile store that can be put up and taken down in an hour and all fit into my Honda Civic.
Where do you see the business being in five years? In fifteen?
I’d like to see my products distributed across the U.S. and in Europe. That’s the dream.
Why should we shop your brand?
- Help break down stereotypes for children from day 1.
- Support Made in the USA products and feel good knowing your dollars are supporting jobs for people right here at home.
- Support a small, woman owned business and feel good about giving your dollars to a grass roots company.
- Enjoy a high quality, unique, and soft-as-can-be product that will “wow” at the baby shower or the moms group.Who is your biggest inspiration?
I am not sure I have one person only who is my biggest inspiration. I am inspired by all the other women business owners who I have met virtually or in-real-life who have taken risks, who have tried something out, and made it clear that I can do that too. Together the stories of these women feels like the strong proof that women (and moms) can and do accomplish a lot.
Three brands other than yours that you support.
I love and support all the other brands that are a part of the #clotheswithoutlimits campaign. All mom owned businesses, working to make a difference for their kids. They can all be seen at clotheswithoutlimits.com
Do you believe in Mommy guilt?
Yes, definitely. Working from home means that you never leave work and
also never leave home. Both starting and running a business and running a
household are jobs that never end and always have more that you could be
doing to make them better. There is no weekend. I’ve come to the
conclusion that balance is impossible…only taking care of one, then
taking care of the other, back and forth…while you wash dishes, emails
pile up. While you answer emails, children make a giant mess of something
in the living room. You post on instagram while sitting in the parking lot
at the grocery store. The emotional pull between the two worlds is a
constant struggle, and I think it is similar for most working moms. Am I
doing enough to help my business thrive? Am I giving too much to my
business and neglecting the needs of my children? Every. single. day. is a
redo of doing my best to figure out how to do both to the best of my
current ability– and without passing out from exhaustion.
What’s a piece of parenting advice you would like to share?
I am not sure anyone should look to me in particular for parenting advice, as I am winging it just like everyone else… but the one thing I try to remember is— Holding your child close can cure most grumpy moods, most pains, and most temper tantrums.
And finally, you favorite knock-knock joke?
My son (5 yrs old) thinks this one is the most hilarious thing–
Knock knock. Who’s there? Interupting cow. Interupting cow wh– MOOOOOO!