There are plenty of puns that I could use to introduce Julie Pickens & Mindee Doney. When you enter the type of business that they have, it’s hard to avoid them. Rather than pick on them, these women deserve to be applauded. If you’ve ever chased after a child with a runny nose and found that even the most common of tissues don’t make the job any easier, you’ll understand why.
Julie and Mindee are the inventors of Boogie Wipes, a saline infused nose wipe that makes the process of blowing little noses go much more smoothly. As further proof that their business was destined to stick around, they generated over $1 million in sales within the first year and look to potentially triple that number this year.
Tell us a little about your business, Little Busy Bodies, Inc. and your products.
Often referred to as The Boogie Moms, friends Mindee Doney and Julie Pickens developed the first ever saline nose wipe called Boogie WipesÂ® as a solution for their kids’ sore, red, runny noses. Using the idea, their business backgrounds and mompreneurial spirit they formed Little Busy Bodies, Inc in May, 2007. They took the concept through an intensive research and development process, hiring a chemist, surveying consumers and interviewing manufacturers. In December, 2007 they sold their first pack of Boogie Wipes. Sales went on to reach $1.1 million their first year of business. Little Busy Bodies now operates out of Beaverton, OR and employs 12 full-time employees (9 moms) including Julie as CEO and Mindee as CMO. The company will triple their revenue this year reaching just over $3million in sales. They now offer 7 saline nose wipe products to 40,000 retail stores across the US, Mexico and Canada including; Wal-Mart, Rite Aid, Nordstrom, Walgreens, Toys”R”Us and Kroger.
As mom business moguls, Mindee and Julie now share their entrepreneurial knowledge with other inventors and business owners through speaking engagements and media platforms. They encourage Moms to embrace their strengths in their Business of Being a Momâ„¢ and bring them into their journey as an entrepreneur. They have appeared on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, NBC, ABC and FOX morning shows across the country and are the resident Mompreneur experts on Family Matters Radio. The Boogie Moms have stolen the spotlight on the front page of The Oregonian business section, front page of the Beaverton Valley Times, as key notes of the Oregon Inventors Conference and on blog talk radio shows like Classy Mommy, Chatterbox and Entrepreneur People. They were recently recognized in the as one of Top 50 Leading Moms in Business by Start Up Nation. They have been quoted as innovation experts in industry publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine, HAPPI and Chain Drug Review. The Boogie Moms are a finalist for 2009 Oregon Entrepreneur of the Year, the key-note speakers for the National Moms in Business Unite conference, in San Diego in September and MC’s of Moms ReInvented in Tampa this October. Their first book, The Business of Being a Mom â„¢ will release Holiday, 09.
How many different sizes, scents, and etc. do they come in?
We actually have 10 Skus already!
Our signature 30 count Packs come in Fresh Scent, Minty Menthol and Great Grape.
90 count (3- 30 count packs) bundled in the above scents — Sold online and in Sams Club.
Boogies on the RunÂ® (individually wrapped Boogie Wipes) come in Great Grape and Fresh Scent in packs of 10 or a Clip Strip combo pack (4 of each scent)
Boogie Bag is 92 Wipes — 2 packs of Fresh Scent, 16 Grape Singles and 16 Fresh Singles — Sold in Costco, Canada.
Can we expect any new Boogie products in the near future?
Yes, we always have something in the works, this spring you can expect:
Unscented 120 Count
Tooty Frooty 120 Count
We plan to be doing a whole different kind of Boogie on a beach in 5 years. Ha! We try to run the company every day like it will be passed down from one generation to the next but have always planned for an exit as well. Our focus right now is stability, strategic growth and paying showing a positive ROI for our investors. Beyond that, we want to take care of our support network of friends and families and live up to our potential as business women and mothers. We really make a conscious effort to focus on the purpose behind all our team goes through every day. We feel blessed to be providing income for other families and careers to other parents. We are confident we have a role in sharing with other moms what we learned on our Boogie Wipes journey, inspiring moms to follow their dreams and take the happiness that life offers them..that it owes them really. We would love the chance to do more of that kind of work no matter how it all plays out (speaking engagements etc…). On the business side of things, whether we are the ones to do it or someone else, there is still a lot of real-estate to be claimed in the category of saline nose wipes and we are focused on being the pioneer, leader and best around from Chicago to Hong Kong to Ottawa.
You have a book coming out soon called, The Business Of Being A Mom. Would you mind telling us a little about your new book? Do you have an official release date yet?
Mothers Day 2010, The Business of Being a Mom will parallel the journey of becoming a mother and becoming a business owner. Many of the badges women earn as mothers are also learned in an office and moms have an advantage going into business. They are resourceful, determined, insightful, patient and not to mention fully functional on very little sleep. The book will be filled with our stories of starting Little Busy Bodies (some will seem fictional but we can prove every word of them) as well as tried and true resources for new entrepreneurs including where to find a manufacturer, how to determine the best business model, what a CFO is and how to service large retail chains.
In what ways has your business expanded/changed since you first launched back in 2007?
It was a big adjustment for us when our growth meant hiring help and becoming employers. Taxes and Payroll and Benefits — Oh MY! When it was just us, we worked from home in our sweats all day sometimes, really come and go as we wanted. We still maintain a degree of that (since that flexibility is why we started in the first place) but there is much more accountability necessary when you have an office and employees clocking in at 8am. They need leadership and motivation and we want to be in the middle of the synergy that runs the business, which means one of us being at the office pretty much every day 8-6. Its also been very fun to see more and more people use Boogie Wipes and have friends and family call to tell us where they see us popping up. We were on a plane last week and the mom in front of us pulled out a pack and sang their praises to her friend. Priceless for us!
How long did it take for you to formulate the right mix to create the Boogie Wipe? What was the designing process like? Did you hit any roadblocks during that time and, if so, how did you work around them?
About 6 months to land on a formulation we felt good about. Our biggest roadblock was not understanding the chemics of wipes and formulations and then trying to apply them to our patent. We hired a chemist and did a lot of Googling! It was also frustrating in the formulation process because the media has given some safe, tested and easy to use ingredients a bad wrap (parabens for instance). They get a hold of isolated, inaccurate information and by the time it reaches the masses, its too late to correct. We had to spend some time coming up with alternatives to some cleaning agents and preservative systems to be sensitive of those types of buzz words. In the end though, it was worth it. We love that we can pick up a product and know right away if it’s something we want to use on our kids or not. We also had to search a little to find a manufacturer to meet our available budget for a minimum run. We urge other inventors not to give up until they do, it took us a few tries but negotiation, persistence and a confidence can work wonders when you are not getting the resolution you want.
As two very busy mompreneurs, I can only imagine what your schedule must be like. Do you have any tips or tricks that have helped you balance your time between business and time for family?
We are not big fans of that B-Word! Balance. We have yet to have a day where we put out head on the pillow thinking we gave everyone, everything they needed that day. There is very rarely a balanced day. BUT – there are some days filled with work and some days filled with kids. What has worked for our families is to truly do our best to be IN the moments with our kids. Your kids don’t want 5 games of Candyland with you while you are distracted on your phone or thinking about your meeting agenda, they want one game of real giggling and goof and joy. They know when they are a priority for you. Hate to sound clichÃ© but good ol’ Quality vs Quantity is what helps us achieve a good mix of work and life. A few other tips – Use your outlook calendar, start a carpool, hire a babysitter at least once a week to focus on your business (it deserves that from you) , say no to anything that takes your time but does not give you satisfaction and make sure your partner in life is on board with your vision and understands the determination and commitment you will all have to make to have to reach it.
What advice would you like to offer fellow mompreneurs that are just getting started?
Good ol KISS – Keep it Simple Sister! Mompreneurs tend to have many many good business ideas and yet get overwhelmed at the workload, financial constraints or where it would take them in the future. While we do recommend having a plan and understanding what your willing to sacrifice, don’t spend a lot of time worrying about how you will ship to Target until you get your meeting with them. First, get the product right, get your marketing right, align your resources. Really, break it down not just to a “To Do” list but “What I need to do TODAY” How do I get to the next step? Stay focused there, especially in the beginning. Around the time you start emptying the kids piggy banks or taking on debt, you can worry about those bigger questions, you will have much more wisdom on your side. Also, be confident in what skills you do have. Most moms are very able to manage large amounts of responsibility, if you have made the choice to make some of that responsibility running a business. Find confidence knowing that helping it to grow and flourish will take many of the same skills and character traits it takes to raise your children. You will be better at it than even YOU know!