Through my business, Baby Swags, I often meet amazing women who are creative, inspiring, and all around great people. It is because of Baby Swags that I am able to share the stories of other hard-working moms here on VerifiedMom.com. I love to help celebrate what makes us all unique yet we are bonded together by motherhood. It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to, Erika Miller, owner of Babalu Baby.
VM: Hi Erika, thank you for taking a moment to answer all our questions! There are a lot of them so why don’t you start with telling us a little bit about you and your family.
EM: I am a wife and Mom to my son Maxx who just turned 6 in May. My husband Paul and I are thinking of trying for #2 this fall and considering I have over 12 Mom friends pregnant right now, I have babies on the brain. I am hosting 2 baby showers this year. We have seriously considered adoption as well but we are letting God lead. My husband and I have been married for almost 9 years now. I am a Mid-Western girl at heart (born in MN) but raised in San Diego. I’m a good mix of city and country. I love to be active. I enjoy reading and writing, doing arts and crafts, designing and creating, meeting new people and value loyalty and friendship. I have a strong faith in God and believe through Him, all things are possible.
VM: What did you do prior to owning your own business?
EM: My husband and I own an electrical contracting company here locally in Burlington, WA. I have had several management positions in retail. I was also a bartender and waitress and spent my high school years as a candy-striper for Coronado Hospital in San Diego. I have also worked in the car industry. I am grateful to have had experience in so many different industries.
VM: What do you feel has brought you the most success in promoting your business?
EM: Social Media definitely. Facebook is a great way to connect with your followers and engage with them in a more personal way. I really believe in relationships and developing that trust with your followers. Also, everyone loves giveaways and I love giving products away so that has been successful as well. It is also nice to partner up with other companies in your industry because it not only strengthens relationships but it is also a great way to promote new brands and get to know what is trending.
VM: What is your signature product?
EM: This is changing so it is exciting! My new positive tees and apparel for ages Newborn- 5/6 will be my main focus going forward. I will continue to keep a few lines like Yummi Pouch, Everything Happy, Wristy Buddy and Buttons Diapers.
VM: What are your 2014 business goals?
EM: As a mom, I feel strongly that children should be surrounded by positive, encouraging messages and images as much as possible vs things of a scary/evil/violent nature. I will never design items or tees with skulls or things like that. I’d rather my son wear things that are “inspiring” and that have to do with hope, happiness, positivity, laughter, innocence, joy and courage. My vision going forward this year is to create a line of positive apparel while also giving back to childrens’ causes. I have current plans to donate over 100+ cloth diapers to an orphanage in Peru with plans for more. My store will only carry product lines that give back and/or promote values such as love, kindness, hope.
VM: What do you feel some of the pros/cons are of working for yourself?
EM: I would say the pro’s are being able to set my own schedule and create my own vision vs following someone else’s. I am able to put family first and business second and for many that is not possible, sadly. Cons: I suppose time management! It is a constant daily juggling act. It is hard to shift gears but in the end, when you remember why you are doing what you do, it helps to stay focused on what is important and everything is done on a “One step at a time” schedule. While I would love to get everything done on my list each day, it is just not possible. As long as being a Mom comes first, everything else can wait.
VM: Do you have any advice for other WAHM’s just starting out?
EM: Follow your passions and your heart. Never give up. You will make mistakes. Its okay! It is part of the journey and that is how we learn. Trust your instincts. Don’t follow the crowd. Set your own path. I can’t emphasize that enough. As I look back there are so many things I could have done differently but I wouldn’t change it because I gained wisdom and experience.
VM: Tell us a little bit about your typical day as a mom.
EM: Up at 7am, take my son to school by 9am, I try to squeeze in “some form of exercise” , pray about my day ahead and then it is business until about 3pm when I pick up my son from Kindergarten. I focus on him the remainder of the day, we get outdoors or work on fun crafts then I prep dinner ( usually on the fly but I try to create healthy, easy dishes).
VM: How do you juggle work and family?
EM: I work while my son is at school or after his bedtime. My husband is really great about taking over Dad duty too when I am needing some focused time or have a long to-do list to accomplish.
VM: Who has been your main parenting influencer and why?
EM: My biggest parenting influence ironically is God. When I am feeling irritated, annoyed, impatient, overwhelmed and unappreciated, I just try to get into the Word because it is a great reminder as to how we should not only treat ourselves ( with love) but others and that includes our children. It is really easy to fly off the handle or get into a mindset of “day in day out, same ol’, same ol’ “ but I am reminded that life is such a precious gift and to appreciate every moment.
VM: What has been your biggest challenge as a mom?
EM: I’d say committing to a healthy fit lifestyle and staying consistent with my workouts and getting enough sleep.
VM: What are you most proud of?
EM: I am proud that my son seems to be embracing who he is and loves learning about God and the Bible. I didn’t grow up going to church so it is important for me for him to have that foundation. He always makes me smile when he recites Scripture verses. He says “God says “Never worry about anything”. I love that. I also love music and am happy that he seems to enjoy it too.
VM: Who or where do you go for support when it’s needed?
EM: My family and friends. I am blessed to have a wonderful support system. It is so important as a Mom and I really value it.
VM: What is your best parenting advice you could give to a new or expecting mom?
EM: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Becoming a Mom, while it is incredibly exciting, it is also a huge life change and it can be very overwhelming. Also, allow your family and friends to help with things like clothing and necessities. It is so easy to overspend and want to buy the best of everything, clothing, furniture, etc but really, your baby won’t care. Keep it simple. 🙂
Thank you Erika for sharing your insights on parenting and business. I wish you the best of luck as you continue to pursue your dreams! To learn more about Babalu Baby, visit www.babalubabyshop.com