Baby Steps to Entrepreneurship: A Mompreneur’s Guide

Solving a societal need, one invention at a time.

Colleen Dyck | The Great Gorp Project

Wendy Armbruster Bell | Snugabell Mom & Baby Gear

Entrepreneurs are creative innovators and trend-setters who tap into their passions to help solve the world’s largest problems.

Wendy Armbruster Bell, founder of Snugabell, and Colleen Dyck, founder of GORP, are Mompreneurs: entrepreneurs and mothers that have established businesses while keeping family life at the forefront of their business plans. Ahead of Mother’s Day, check out this Q&A with Armbruster Bell and Dyck below:

Q: How did your Mompreneur journey begin?

Colleen Dyck, GORP: I relate very much to the saying ignorance is bliss. I had no idea how challenging it was going to be to start a food business. Competing in triathlons – along with a clean diet – was how I stayed active after delivering my first child. But I wasn’t pleased with the energy bar options I found on the market.

We are farmers, and I knew that we were growing some of the best ingredients on the planet, so I started experimenting and came up with my own recipe.

It took seven years of research, but we created a formula that not only delivers a great tasting bar, but also 11 grams of protein, six grams of fiber and a full gram of omega3.

Wendy Armbruster Bell, Snugabell: As an entrepreneur, I’ve established several businesses, with Snugabell being the most successful. It began with a degree in fashion design and technology, which ultimately led to a freelance position drafting patterns for clothing manufacturers.

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Entrepreneurs are creative innovators and trend-setters who help solve the world’s problems.

However, after giving birth, I wanted to be able to pump breast milk to feed my children and continue to build my small business.

My search for a hands-free pumping bra (that was functional yet still felt feminine) left much to be desired.

So I designed my own: The PumpEase hands-free pumping bra is for moms who aren’t willing to forgo fashion for function.

Today, Snugabell has six employees and delivers to customers in 14 countries around the world, with a goal to launch four new products by 2018.

Q: What Inspires You To Be A Mompreneur?

Dyck: As a mom who is also a business owner, I have a unique opportunity to revolutionize the workplace and custom design our environment to be more mom friendly.

Colleen Dyck, GORP

It also allows me to model for my children what’s possible if you persevere, surround yourself with great people and allow yourself to create what you imagine.

My goal is to inspire people to live their own adventure and to get outside, spend time in nature, exercise and create community.

It sounds cliché, but sometimes I think we all forget that the best things in life really are free: the amazing planet we get to explore, the communities that nurture us and the friends and family we love.

Armbruster Bell: As an entrepreneur and mother, I’m learning to embrace the word Mompreneur. My inspiration for Snugabell was to create a product that allows pumping mothers (who pump because of work, medical reasons or personal preference) to provide nutrition for their babies and continue to live their lives.

Feeding our babies can be a sensitive topic for moms. I’m inspired by the countless women who have reached out to thank Snugabell for making their lives easier.

Q: As a Mompreneur, what are your biggest rewards and challenges?

Dyck: Being your own boss affords some awesome benefits like flexibility with your time. However reward and sacrifice often live in the same boat. It’s easy to build your own schedule, but it’s almost impossible to stop thinking about your business after “work” hours.

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You are simply a puzzle piece in your success.

Never mind the pressure you feel to succeed after you hire employees and have more than yourself to worry about.

Other people depending on you for job security and a paycheck to support their families is a huge responsibility.

A work-life blend can be challenging, but make sure you are giving the best version of yourself to your family first.

Armbruster Bell: Entrepreneurship can be isolating, especially during the startup phase when your staff may work virtually or you’re still perfecting a business plan. Be sure to have balance in your life, for your kids, peers, friends and family.

At times, your work and personal life may blend, but you have the power to define the structure of your day. For example, I make time to deliver hot lunches at my daughter’s school every second Friday.

Q: What advice would you share with aspiring Mompreneurs?

Wendy Armbruster Bell, Snugabell

Dyck: Don’t wait to become confident before you act. Instead recognize that confidence comes as a result of action. Never pretend to be something you aren’t, and embrace and admit to yourself the things that you aren’t good at.

This allows you to be a proactive problem solver instead of hiding in your insecurity or shame.

You are simply a puzzle piece in your success. You need others to complete the picture.

Armbruster Bell: It’s okay to ask for help. Hiring an employee will give you extra time to work on your business rather than in your business.

I would also advise you to join an organization that provides entrepreneurial support, education and advice and to seek a mentor who can guide you when at a crossroad . goldbrown2

You might also like:

How to Put More Women on the Entrepreneurial Fast Track

Closing the Leadership Gap

How Young Women are Changing the Workplace

Colleen Dyck is President at The Great Gorp Project.

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Wendy Armbruster Bell is the Founder & CEO of Snugabell Mom & Baby Gear. As an apparel designer and patternmaker with over 20 years industry experience, she is currently producing the best selection of fashionable yet functional breastfeeding and pumping products on the market.

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