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's Starter Series features Joe Ebner, founder of Baby's Got Soul—fun, funky, and creative designs!
Tell us a little bit about your business and how you started it.
Baby's Got Soul specializes in fun, funky, creative designs for newborns up to 6-years-old. I've always collected funny, witty one liners with the hopes to convert them into t-shirt designs one day. Once my brother and best friends began having kids, I realized there weren't many baby gifts that I thought were creative enough that I wanted to buy. That's when I began printing and gifting my own onesies with the ideas I had written down over the years.
The gifts were a huge hit so I kept creating more designs in my free time until I had enough to try and sell to the public. I began selling at farmers markets in San Diego and the response at my booth was fantastic. People would walk by and laugh at the all the funny, witty designs. I focused on creating even more designs to offer a little something for everyone and offer creative clothes that you typically don't see.
I built and launched my website in November 2014 and now expanding into boutiques in southern California with other cities coming soon. Getting feedback from the farmers markets has been really helpful when rolling out new designs. Talking to all the parents has lead to some great new design ideas along with meeting some really incredible people. So I just try to make fun designs to make people laugh and smile a little.
What do your kids think about your job?
Thick skin, hard work, and determination have been the keys for me. Since I'm doing everything from the designing, printing, selling, and marketing by myself I'm always trying to pick up new tricks from 'experts' in each field. I'm always reading and researching ways to create fresh, new business ideas. Trying to figure out unique ways to get the Baby's Got Soul brand out to anybody looking for baby clothes.
Taking a step back to look at the big picture has been helpful to look at things from a third person's perspective. It's too easy to get bogged down with all the day to day work and lose a little focus on ways I can grow my biz.
Tell us about a total biz fail.
Luckily I haven't had any 'huge' business fails so far. However that doesn't mean I haven't managed to lose product while being a klutz. Once I printed a whole box of onesies and was tripped up by a pothole while walking to my car. I managed to dump the whole box of fresh clean onesies into a mud puddle. Needless to say, those became the most expensive rags I own. Business lesson #1…don't be klutz.
Share with us a total win (brag away!)
I launched my website at the end of 2014 so my goal starting out 2015 was to drive online sales via numerous channels and get placement into baby boutiques in southern California. The online sales continue to grow and I now have boutiques carrying my products in San Diego and Los Angeles. I just added three more boutiques this week.
Each boutique has selected different designs to carry, which is great for me since it gets a diverse sampling out to the masses. That's what's nice about having so many design, there's really something for everyone. I plan on continuing the snowball effect and roll out to many more boutiques in new cities across the country very soon.
What's your relationship with Mamalode?
Elke and I have a fantastic mutual friend (Kerryn Gerety) that used to live in San Diego. When I told her I was launching Baby's Got Soul, she immediately told me how her amazing friend Elke was who has this wonderful magazine (Mamalode) and made the introduction.
Once I saw Mamalode I was thoroughly impressed by the creativity and in depth articles. I had to share it with all my friends' wives and family members. There's so much content covering so many topics, it's amazing. You can tell they really like what they do and I'm honored to be included in their Starter Series.