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.
Today we feature an interview with Michelle Vick, Co-Founder of The Baby Box Company.
Tell us a little bit about your business and how you started it.
My partner Jennifer Clary and I were inspired by the 75-year-old Finnish tradition that is credited with saving thousands of Finnish babies from SIDS over the years. We loved the idea of these boxes, and we were shocked to find that they aren't available anywhere outside of Finland. I would've been thrilled to receive one when I was pregnant with my daughter! Each box is filled with new mom must-haves (swaddles, burp cloths, first aid kits, etc), and the box itself is lined with a fitted mattress, making it the perfect safe spot for baby to sleep, or just relax during the day (kind of like a Pack N Play, but without taking up half your living room.)
We were excited by the idea of bringing these boxes and their extensive benefits to moms and babies across the globe, and as the business has expanded, we've been able to work with hospitals and nonprofits. We make charitable contributions through our box-for-a-box donation program (whereby we donate one for every one that is purchased), and we are also looking forward to collaborating with the March of Dimes in the fall.
What do your kids think about your job?
My 2.5-year-old is definitely not impressed! She thinks it takes way too much of mommy's time away from playground time. Though, she does love sitting in our Baby Boxes and putting her dolls down to sleep in them!
Tell us about a total mom + biz fail?
Years ago, when my daughter was just an infant, I had to take a work trip and pump every few hours. On the flight from LA to NY, my flight wasn't that crowded and I was sitting next to a woman who slept the whole time, so it was easy to pump discreetly. Unfortunately, on the way back, I was sandwiched in between two giant men, and there was only so much my nursing cover could do to hide what was going on. After 20 incredibly awkward minutes of pumping, I was finally done, so I quickly unscrewed the bottles…so quickly, in fact, that I accidentally spilled a little breastmilk on the pants of the man next to me. I don't know who was more horrified, me or him!
Share with us a total win (brag away!)
Luckily, I love what I do and I work for myself, so I feel pretty happy with the work/life balance that I'm able to achieve. My daughter and I play in the morning before her nanny starts at 8 am, then we often grab lunch together (or head to a class or playdate, about twice a week), and then we have dinner and go through the bedtime routine together in the evening. I'm able to do this while working about 8+ hours per day by spreading out my work hours and interspersing them with mommy time. After she's in bed at night, I'm back at my computer. And then the weekends are all about family time! Except, of course, during naptime.
I do wish I slept more, I certainly don't hit the gym as much as I used to, and we eat sandwiches and quesadillas far more often than we eat healthy made-from-scratch meals, but overall the system I've figured out works for me and my family. And luckily I have the most incredible, supportive mom friends I could ever hope for (couldn't live without them!), so I set a lot of play dates and dinner dates where I get to double up on spending time with friends while also spending time with my daughter.
What's your relationship with Mamalode?
I have long been impressed by the quality of writing on Mamalode! It's smart and stylish without trying too hard. Some of the stories make me cry, some of them make me laugh, others inspire me, but I always love how Mamalode makes me feel connected to a wider community of mothers and fathers.