Meet Jennifer Marko, President of Bottle Snugglers. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida and is married with one son who is now 4 ½. Continue reading to learn how she took an everyday problem experienced by most moms and turned it into a great product and successful business that now helps moms!
- Please tell us about your business and the service that you provide: I own a baby product business called Bottle Snugglers Feeding Helpers. They are a third hand for Mom when life’s little emergencies happen during baby’s feeding time. Now Mom can continue to cuddle and feed baby and have one occasional hand free to take care of another child or herself!
- What motivated you to start your business? When I had a baby, I owned a very busy public relations practice, and I soon found that sometimes I didn’t have enough hands to serve all of my masters, i.e. I couldn’t meet media deadlines, communicate with clients, and feed baby when they all happened at the same time.
- What kind of background or expertise do you have in your field? None! I was in PR for 10 years, and when I decided to get into retail and manufacturing, it was a giant leap of faith with a serious learning curve.
- What trends do you see in your current industry? I love that Moms are inventing products out of necessity and then introducing them to the market.
- What are the most demanding aspects about your business? I think it’s all about perspective, but one can really spend an inordinate amount of time working on launching a product. In my mind, it’s all about the amount of hours you put in and the number of “No’s” you get that lead you to the “Yes”, so I can burn the midnight oil or be more realistic in ticking off those hours.
- What are the most rewarding aspects about your business? When I get a great email from a customer who is so relieved to have a little help when she needs it via the Bottle Snuggler, that is perhaps my greatest reward.
- What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a business like yours? Find someone who is already in the industry, and ask them for advice. You can save many hours of research and avoid some big mistakes this way. You may have a great idea, but if the market circumstances are not right for it, you want to know this BEFORE you invest!
- What are you most proud of as a parent-preneur? I have had a home office since before my son was born, so it’s all he knows. I was very relieved when we had a nanny for him in our home from age 2 months to 18 months that I could always walk downstairs to check on him or just spend some quality time during the day. That is a huge benefit of having a home office.
- How have you been able to balance your time between work and your family? It’s never fully balanced, but as long as I have productive time at work AND productive time with my family each week, I consider it a success. I think it’s too much to think that we can do it all and do it well all the time. I just try my best every day, and I’m happy with how it has turned out so far.
- What has been the most effective way for you to promote and market yourself? For Bottle Snugglers, SEO (search engine optimization) has been the key. We don’t have a large advertising budget, so we really rely on optimizing our website to bring new customers to the site.
Finally: What does your “Milk Money” provide for you and your family? Being a parent-preneur allows me to provide a stress-relieving and problem-solving product to other Moms; it allows me to fulfill the business-oriented side of my personality; and it shows my son that Mommies are multi-faceted and multi-talented people who can do anything they want in life.