The Mamalode Starter Series is an exciting opportunity for us to introduce you to some of the amazing people we get to meet. Starting something takes enormous amounts of work, faith, help and community. Every week we'll share another story of starting. So, community of Mamalode, read up, get inspired and check out these wonder-folk.
Tell us a bit about your business and how you started it.
Bexbags was first conceptualized about 5 years ago. I found a cute bag that was made from recycled plastic and filled it with the bladder from a box of wine. I cut a hole in the bottom of the bag to allow room for the tap, and voila, Bexbags was born!
I never had in mind to make this my business and it was only when I found out that I didn't make the Fire Dept. hire list a couple of years ago that I started to consider making this idea a reality. I had taken a desk job, and with that years tax return, I made the first prototype. Along with the ladies who sew for me, I spent the next year product testing and getting the design perfect.
I have a communications degree from Cal State Long Beach, which did nothing to prepare me for running a business, at least from the books side of things. It has, however, served me well by being able to make connections with people which is why this business is still alive. A year ago February, I was given a loan from a friend for $40,000. I managed to get to where I am today because of his belief in me and generosity. It took me less than six months to blow through that money (mostly because I thought I could live off of it). There were plenty of business trial and errors and basic first time business owner challenges to boot.
With a bank account of nearly nothing, I got a job in town to keep the income coming while I figured out what the heck I was doing. About a month ago, a patient at the office I work in saw the bag and we started chatting. He asked if he could put me in touch with his former marketing partner who now has her own company in Portland, OR. She and her partner and I just wrapped up discussions and are officially partnering. I'm super excited to be a part of a team that is going to take this baby to market. I've kept the intention of what I want this bag to do for me. I've kept it's success a constant belief, and although there is plenty of the story still ahead of me, I know that everything will happen in time.
What do your kids think about your job?
My kids have been huge supporters of Bexbags. My oldest daughter Tate (9) has invented the “Tater Tote”, which is still in the conceptual phase, but it's a lunch box for kids. It came to her from a story about kids getting their tongues stuck in water bottles and she thought having a bladder with a tap in a lunch box with a cup would help kids be safer. I love that they are able to witness the process, and at times be fully apart of what it takes to make it happen.
What’s your relationship with Mamalode?
I was first introduced to mamalode a couple of years when I first moved to Missoula. I went to a Mamalode marketing seminar, which was facilitated by my dear friend Karen McNinny. She invited me to come to the front of the auditorium as a demo to practice my pitch about the bag. It was a really ugly prototype, but people got the idea!