How many people can say they’ve encountered a diaper bag that was gorgeous enough to be a handbag too? Apparently anyone who has purchased one of the bags sold through Maelee Baby.
Lindsay has given her line of diaper bags a look on the outside which would fool any untrained eye. However, the real treat is in the bag. She has conveniently placed a series of pockets within each bag that will allow any mom on-the-go to find a place for everything their child might need.
What was the inspiration for MaeLee?
As I tried to pack my second daughter’s diaper bag with a toddler tugging on one leg and crying baby in my arms, frustration built as I attempted to run through the mental checklist of what I needed – bottles, pacifiers, toys, snacks, the list goes on. And sure enough, as soon as I got to my destination, something was always missing from the bag.
I began to think what would make my life easier and the formation of Maelee began. My mission began to improve the design of the diaper bag to display style on the outside and complete organization on the inside. It’s all about labeling, the solution to my problem! The labeling system not only keeps everything organized but it’s also a checklist so you leave home with everything you need. And while you’re on the go, every pocket is labeled so you can easily find all of your supplies.
What separates your diaper bags from the competition?
Our first project was to tackle the oh-so-essential diaper bag. But it is more than just a “diaper bag.” It is Mommy’s Bag. Our stylish bags come armed with a full set of customizable labels so mom can organize her Maelee bag to fit her needs. And as baby grows, the bag transforms from a baby bag to toddler bag to mommy bag.
What has the consumer feedback been like? Care to share a testimonial or two?
Here’s a few testimonials.
“I’ve been looking for a diaper bag that not only looks great, but also keeps all of my supplies organized. My new Maelee bag is just what I’ve been looking for. The pockets and labels allow me to customize the interior for the needs of my newborn and toddler. It helps me save time and always be prepared!”
– Lindley, Dallas TX
“I REALLY love the bag, it is beautiful. My favorite features are the pockets on the outside….SOOOO convenient for my cell phone, keys and lip gloss :) I love not having to dig through the inside to grab my little stuff.† I also like the organization of the inside pockets…keeps everything so neat. I really do love it!!!!”
– Mindy, Virginia Beach VA
” I really like the diaper bag. The stickers have not fallen off at all. I carry it as my purse/diaper bag! I think you have a GREAT product!!!”
– Lisa, Suwanee GA
We’ve also received positive retailer feedback as well, “The outside fabrics and colors are fabulous and are being compared to a ‘Petunia Pickle Bottom’ likeness of quality.” But, at the same time, we received concerns over the inside lining of the diaper bag. Everyone loved the bags but they were looking for a darker, sturdier lining. So, we took the feedback and implemented it. We offered to take back all of the bags at our expense and replenish stock with new bags. We truly value our customer’s feedback. We mean it when we say we want to make mom’s life easier!
How long did it take for you to build your business up from idea to launch?
The ideas first came to me in November 2007, but it wasn’t until January 2008 that I began to act on the idea. From then, it took 8 months to launch in September 2008.
What is the hardest part of being an entrepreneur?
- Succumbing to external and internal pressure causing you to second guess yourself and not go with your gut feeling.
- Making mistakes that cost you money like the replacement of our inside lining and trusting people are giving you a fair price.
- Starting a business during the worst economic time in our history since The Great Depression.
- Being patient and remembering that a business does not become successful overnight.
- How hard it is, which I know shouldn’t be a surprise but I had no idea how many mistakes that I would make and how much I would learn in the process of making them. There have been so many times that I have wanted to give up but I lean on my husband to give me support and things find a way of turning around.
What’s the most enjoyable?
- To own something that’s totally your own
- Developing products for moms that we truly believe can make their life easier
- Flexibility to work around our kid’s schedule
- Ability to be creative and apply passion toward something we care about
Have you always imagined yourself as an entrepreneur or is this something you stumbled upon?
I’ve always known that I wanted to do something on my own. For the last four years, I’ve been thinking of ideas and writing them down with the hopes of acting on them one day.
After climbing the corporate ladder for more than ten years, seeing too many co-workers get laid off and having children, I decided to leave the corporate world in search of more flexibility, time with my family, and control over the fast-paced demands of motherhood. As a mom on the go, I recognized the need for a quality, high-style baby product that would help keep mothers organized.
What’s the largest goal you have for your company?
With business success, I would love to bring other moms onto the Maelee team. Moms looking for a challenge that allow them to use their skills, education and creativeness, but also be a part of a work environment that truly puts family first. I envision a work environment that allows moms to come in after their children are off to school, work hard and have fun doing it and leave when their kids are out of school.
What would you like to see happen for MaeLee in the next year?
Maelee wants to deliver product solutions that make mom’s life easier allowing her Free To Be Mom. We have a line of burp cloths, toddler bags and 2 new bag designs coming out in the next year.
Do you have any bits of advice for other entrepreneurs interested in entering the baby supplies business?
Make sure that your idea is unique. The competition is too fierce to come out with something that’s already on the market. Also, if you are considering starting a business, get a mentor. Someone that has been through the process, can answer questions for you and guide you through difficult decisions. In retrospect, it would have been valuable to lean on someone that has been “through it.” We have had so many questions and the learning curve is long. However, we stay grounded. If it were easy, then everyone would do it!