It’s simply a fact of life that when parents travel with children their favorite toys must come along for the ride. Even if that means mom and dad are stuck carrying it all.

Before having her son, Lise Lafontaine chalked up the need for parents to tote toys around as simply a responsibility. After he was born, though, she quickly learned how much of a pain that could really be. Inspired by that realization, determined to make it easy and fun for kids to carry their own stuffed friends, Lise came up with Carry Me Babies.

Tell us a little about Carry Me Babies and what inspired it.

To tell you the truth I hadn’t really given much thought to children’s apparel until I became a mother. I noticed that parents were constantly struggling with transporting toys on family outings, but I only chalked it up to parental responsibility. It wasn’t until my darling son came into my life that I realized how burdensome keeping track of my own child’s things could be. After always carrying my son’s little bear Harry I thought to myself why can’t they hold their favorite doll or bear in the same fashion as mother carries their baby in snuggly, that’s how Carry Me Babies® was born.

What makes your product unique?

What makes Carry Me Babies® clothing and apparel unique is the design’s fusion of a toy and garment into a useful piece of children’s apparel. The patented concept permits children to easily insert or remove their favourite doll or pet from the carrier on the front of the t-shirt at their own leisure. The purpose is multifaceted as it allows children to gain enjoyment by carrying their toy and it also helps to develop social responsibility. Parents no longer have to worry so much about keeping track of toys because Carry Me Babies® hold toys in place. Another important feature of the design is that it will bring comfort to young children undergoing transitions. Children will feel reassurance knowing that their toy will be close to them while experiencing changes that everyday life can bring.

The clothing line has been created for children between the ages of 18 months to 12 years. Each themed garment is beautifully illustrated with an imaged five-point harness to encourage child safety practice and security. It also encourages positive nurturing capabilities and endless hours of imaginative fun & games as the accompanying toys are easily carried with pride in a specially placed pocket on the front of the shirts.

The varieties of characters were designed with a diverse artistic flair. Designs are culturally sensitive and great effort is implemented to creating names, slogans, or images that are ethnically appropriate. Each of the stuffed toys can be inserted in a front carrying pouch, which is stitched on top of the artwork of the t-shirt. All shirts are printed and embroidered with the Carry Me Babies® logo to ensure awareness of the product’s presence on the world wide web (http://www.CarryMeBabies.com) Parents can be reassured knowing that, the t-shirts are 100% pre-shrunk cotton, making them machine washable and durable.

Where are your shirts manufactured?

For now the shirts are manufactured in China until I can find a manufacturer in North America.

How long did it take for you to find a manufacturer that you liked? What was the search like? What was your criteria?

Actually it only took me about four months to find a manufacturer that I felt was a good match for Carry Me Babies®. At first I looked at Mexico but I found that was a huge communication problem and the quality just wasn’t there. By biggest criteria was the quality of course then the price.

How many different shirts do you offer? What are they and how much do they cost?

Right now we have 5 characters available and two different styles which are short and long sleeves. The cost for each shirt is $19.99 for short sleeves and $24.99 for long sleeves. All shirts include a doll or pet that matches the shirt’s artwork. The ABC 123 shirt comes with all four dolls and is $29.99 for short sleeves and $ 34.99 for long sleeves.

Any plans to add to your product line in the near future? If so, willing to share any hints?

Yes we have 5 more characters coming soon. We have Minou Minou our white little cat, Little Chief our Canadian aboriginal doll with a hidden moose, Snoozy Suzie a night shirt which includes a 4 x 5 feet blanket that matches her doll’s blanket, Very Veronica our Asian doll which is absolutely beautiful and finally we have Prima Dayna for all the little ballerina fans who just love dancing. That’s not all wait until you see the next character come down the walk way.

What do you enjoy the most about being a stay-at-home mom and entrepreneur? What is the hardest part?

The best part of being a stay-a-home mom of course is being home for my son and sharing all his special moments. The hardest part is you don’t when to stop working.

What are some of the lessons that your business has taught you?

One of the biggest lessons that I have learned is sell your products before you manufacturer them. The second lesson I learned is watch peoples actions not what they say. Third is you will get a lot of “no’s” don’t take it personal, take that no and use it as fuel to keep going.

Do you have any tips that you’d like to offer fellow mom entrepreneurs that are just getting started?

Don’t give up, keep going, people will always have opinions about how you should do things listen to them but always go by your gut instincts. You will make mistakes but take them as learning lessons not mistakes. Remember that when you do become successful don’t forget to help another mom by sharing your knowledge.

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