With my first child came the inspiration to write and self publish a book of baby accessory patterns. Through helpful suggestions of friends, I sold over 11 000 copies of that book.
With my second child, came the need to hold my newborn securely so I could have my hands free to keep up with my two year old. I had tried many different baby carriers with my first child and didn't like any of them. So what was I going to use? I need a baby carrier that "worked".
Once I faced my problem, I dug out my fabric and sewing machine and started to design a baby carrier. I wanted a carrier that would support my daughter's head and neck so her head wouldn't bob back and forth. My additional challenge was that my daughter wanted to be held facing away from me! ! ! I selected flannel to be next to her face and designed a pillow filled with fiberfill to support her head. The pillow gave her wonderful support even if she fell asleep "facing-the-world.
After testing the product with my daughter and other mothers and baby's in the neighborhood. I sat down to think if I should try to market the carrier and how I should go about it. Initially I thought about selling it as a pattern but quickly decided to have it patented and sell it as a readymade carrier.
While my books were sold mail order, this time I set out to wholesale the carrier to retail stores. Not afraid of the telephone I found wholesale suppliers for my materials. Living in White Sands, New Mexico, I found production near by in El Paso, TX.
After deciding to call the baby carrier "The Sling" and call the company Babies by Storm I purchased a booth at the Juvenile Products and Manufacturing Association show in Dallas. We made quiet a few sales but more importantly I found a sales representative.
Sales were improving and I was starting to add other Sales Representatives when as luck would have it, my husband go orders to go to Germany! Not willing to stay behind, I took the necessary steps to close down the business. Fortunately, during my marketing I had contacted a person who called me back and asked if I would be interested in licensing my carrier to them. They would handle production and marketing and pay me a royalty for each unit they sold.
That arrangement worked for over seven years. Since we were back from Germany, I decided to begin production again. For a while, I was making the The Slings in my basement with the help of my cousins. This time it took over 2 years to find production and all of the wholesalers for the materials.
Now three moves after our return from Germany, I have two areas for production capability and continue to pursue marketing The Sling.
To help you with your endeavors besides the books recommended and written by Liz, I would suggest contacting your local University to see if they have a Small Business Development Center. They have a wealth of inexpensive information and many resources to assist you. Additionally, I would contact SCORE these are retired executives that want to help business succeed. Additionally, if you are working with a product in the baby products area, a book that I found helpful is Turning Your Great Idea into a Great Success by Judy Ryder.
You can visit my website at www.babiesbystorm.com