Meet Elysse Fleece. She is a military wife and a mom to her Little Monster as he is called. She started Kozzy Bottoms from a love of cloth diapering and her passion for crafts. Its been a great way to keep the family together and it’s soothing for her. She has always loved to craft and to be able to do this for others is amazing. She never would have thought this would be her!
Please tell us about your business and the service that you provide.
Kozzy Bottoms is a online children’s boutique. We carry many “green” products that are associated with cloth diapering and parenting. Along with the accessories and diapers we hand make hair accessories, tutus, clothing and more. It’s a great way to get all your shopping done at one place. www.kozzybottoms.com
What motivated you to start your business?
We started cloth diapers later in the game and loved it. We listened to everyone in the start how we would hate having cloth diapers and then when I actually saw a cloth diaper I was shocked! There are no pins to stab or boiling or trouble. You simply put them on just like a regular diaper and then wash it vs. trashing it. After doing cloth we found the advantages to be so amazing we wanted to help other families see this. The money you save, better for your baby and the environment and they potty train sooner. Its just a great thing to try, at least try.
What kind of background or expertise do you have in your field?
We cloth diapered our son and I remember vividly how intimidated I was when I bought my first used diaper. I was so scared and confused when I got it home. I wanted to help other from feeling that confusion and its harder to step in and try cloth diapers later. We cloth diapered my son before his first birthday so we have been there with the confusion and the frustration.
What trends do you see in your current industry?
Cloth is becoming a huge baby product! Its so great to see how people adapt to it and want to try it. The stigma that was associated with it; the pins, and tucking, and folding and diaper services and the poop are all a distant memory now. You can find pretty much every style, color or print of diaper that you want so there is no excuse. They are a great investment and as people have to pinch money now they are seeing the value in cloth diapers. It is so great to see how people are wanting to do better for their babies and themselves and cloth is something that people should consider.
What are the most demanding aspects about your business?
Time management. As a military wife I have to manage with a deployed spouse and the demands of his job, a very active toddler who is a boy (enough said right!) and still taking care of the family and house and create our products. Being able to give each thing the attention it deserves is something that I am still trying to figure out a year later.
What are the most rewarding aspects about your business?
I love getting pictures of children in our products. There is nothing more rewarding then seeing a smiling child because they are so happy. Or a parent who was so confused about diapers and then just seeing that moment when it clicks. Being able to help someone is such a great honor.
Being able to be home with my son is another reward all on its own. I love that I have been here for all his firsts. As hard as it can be to manage everything seeing my son happy and getting involved too is so much fun.
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a business like yours?
Learn time management and do your research. It is so much harder to implement things then it seems. It all looks so easy on paper but to actually time things is so much harder. And ask for help, there is nothing wrong about asking for help.
What are you most proud of as a parent-preneur?
That my son is able to see his mom take something she truly enjoys doing and create a business from it. It is a great thing for my son to see that he is not limited by dreams and that with hard work he can make it a reality. That my son is also following in my footsteps already! He actually makes a couple of our products which is fun to sit down and create together. It’s a great bonding and learning time and to be able to do that with my son and still make it a business is the best.
How have you been able to balance your time between work and your family?
I still have the worst time with it. I find it makes for very very late nights where I am still trying to get things done but I am learning to ask for help or to just put things on the back burner. No everything needs to be completed right then and there; there is a time to do everything. Just make sure it’s on the calendar or I forget! I must have at least 6 calendars in my house just to keep track or orders, appointments, play dates and even when the garbage goes out. Its learning to find the balance that works for your and your family.
What has been the most effective way for you to promote and market yourself?
Facebook and word of mouth. We try all avenues for getting our product out there and we have great friends who have helped us along the way.
Finally: What does your “Milk Money” provide for you and your family?
The ability to one day take a family vacation! We want to be able to take our son to Disney and have a actual family vacation. There is always something preventing us from having a real family vacation and one day we hope to be able to turn off the phones, the computers, pack away the combat boots for a while and just enjoy time together as a family.