For this issue of Behind the Diapers I had the pleasure of interviewing not one but two amazing business women – Priscilla and Sheresa of All About Baby – Boutique and Education Center. Most cloth diapering businesses we see are online only. Priscilla and Sheresa not only have an online business, they also have a shop where they provide classes as well has place for other like women to come to. For this article I interviewed each lady separately and together so we can get their individual and combined perspectives on their business and each other.
How did you meet your husband?
My roommate in college was dating a guy at the time that was friends with my husband, Kevin, and they introduced us. We got married 5 years later – on the campus of the college where we met.
Tell us about your children.
Priscilla – All About Baby
I, hands-down, have the most amazing children (I know, every mom says that but it is definitely true in my case!)! My daughter, Ansley, is an Earth Day baby – she’ll be three in a few months. Ansley is a cuddly, fun, wonderful child and is so funny! I am always amazed at what she will say or do (wants to be just like her mommy – sometimes to my detriment!) She keeps me on my toes but I wouldn’t have it any other way!! Connor is a fun-loving, rough and tumble little boy who turned 1 in December. His big blue eyes make all the old ladies at the grocery store swoon. He has just learned how to walk, can say his sister’s name (his first word) and mama and daddy. He is very smart and if he wants something, he’ll figure out how to get it!
You stated in your site’s about us page that after you decided to use cloth diapers you changed your way of parenting. Can you expand on that? What else has changed?
My attitude towards the way I approach things changed a lot. In the beginning, I was convinced by well-intending people that I should be very rigid because ‘schedules are important’. Although I do believe that schedules are important, I also believe that kids aren’t one-size-fits-all. So, I changed from doing what I was ‘supposed’ to do to what felt natural and made Ansley (and subsequently Connor) a happier, less fussy baby. I am not the pushover parent that hands her child anything to keep them quiet but if my child wants me to pick up him or her, I generally do. I don’t believe you can spoil a child by holding them, hugging them, kissing them or telling them you love him/her.
What were the challenges with starting a business during late pregnancy?
How did you overcome those challenges? It was definitely hard to start the business that late in my pregnancy and with a VERY young toddler at home (Ansley and Connor are 19 months apart). I felt really guilty because my children needed me so much and I also had this pull to grow the business and make it awesome. Fortunately, I have a VERY supportive husband that used to help me pull orders and input inventory at nights after the kids went to bed. He’s even been known to play a few Facebook games with ‘likers’ when I had to feed Connor.
What do you love about your business?
Everything! Seriously, there is not an aspect that I don’t like. I love finding new brands and exposing new mommies to cloth diapers. I love having a place where moms can come and nurse and just hang out if they want. It was my goal (and Sheresa’s too, of course) to create an environment where people could meet up and feel comfortable.
How did you meet Sheresa ? What was your first impression of her?
This question makes me laugh before I even start typing. I was doing everything on my own at the time. I happened to tell my friend Taryn that I had decided to make the leap and open a physical location. I remember her saying, well, that’s great but there’s something you should know and then she told me that this other person had the same idea as I did. I was pretty bummed out to hear about this other person named Sheresa who I had never met. But almost immediately, I got an email from her asking about meeting to see if we could partner (apparently Taryn told her about me as well). I agreed to meet her thinking I would blow her off but when I got there, I realized that she was a pretty smart lady and that our visions were very, VERY similar. With one successful meeting under our belts, we had several others and then decided to partner so she came on in September of last year. A lot of people are shocked that we get along as well as we do considering we had never met before all this but we are very well-suited for each other.
How did you meet your husband?
We met in college through mutual friends. We were married 2 1/2 years later on campus in the chapel. The rest is history!
Tell us about your son.
Sheresa- All About Baby
Cole is full of life at 19 months, I can only imagine how much he will grow and change from the toddler that he is, to the little boy he’s becoming…all in the blink of an eye! We are so blessed to have such a sweet boy. His laugh can light up a room and it melts my heart. Though he doesn’t say “I love you” yet (we’re working on that one), he gives lots of hugs and kisses, often unprompted. He has a big heart already.
You state in your “About us” page that the biggest obstacle in trying cloth for most is the inability to touch and feel them in person. How do you help your customers, family and friends overcome this obstacle?
We offer education, both online and in store, on the diapering process (Cloth Diaper 101) and the diapers we carry. We have newborn rentals for some of our brands and are working on a Try It Out rental program where families can try out different brands and styles of diapering before committing to their stash. We love working one-on-one with mamas and dads, in person or by phone or email, and we are committed to helping families find solutions that fit their baby and lifestyle.
How do you balance life as a working mom?
Very carefully. I loved being a SAHM to Cole, but I wanted to be able to help other moms, and I find value in what I’m doing. At the end of the day, as long as I’m helping others, I can make it work. I’m still in the learning curve right now, too, so I might have a better answer for you in a few months. I’m sure I’ll never have it mastered, but I think the key is putting God and family first; the rest falls into place when you do that.
|Room for nursing moms or for sitting and chatting|
What is your advice for another mom starting a business?
Do something you love. I absolutely love what I’m doing and that makes the sacrifices worth it. Find others who are passionate about what you are doing and connect with them. Be it a business partner, friends, or family members, you will need the support. Enjoy small bites of success; you probably won’t make millions overnight (though I think you should always strive for that). One of my personal mottos is “Reach for the moon and if all else fails, you’ll land among the stars.” Plan well and dream bigger!
How did you meet Priscilla? What was your first impression of her?
Priscilla and I met through a mutual friend. We had a few email conversations and then several in person meetings before we committed to this endeavor. My first impression was that she was very committed to helping moms – and reserved about the idea of partnering with a stranger. I think my impression was spot on, but after meeting together a few more times, we realized that our visions aligned and we could make a pretty good team. I can’t imagine being in business without her as a partner.
With Priscilla and Sheresa
I’d love to hear about your partnership.How did you decide to open All About Baby Boutique together?
Priscilla: It took a little while for us to decide it was the right move. It was definitely not instant. We had several meetings discussing ideas and thoughts and they were so similar, it seemed natural in a way. I can’t say from Sheresa’s perspective but I could not have planned it any better!
Sheresa: I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Welcome to the store!
How do you divide the responsibilities?
Priscilla: Very carefully. Seriously, though, we manage to really do well to compliment each other, I think. We both handle orders and customer service and the day to day stuff. I seem to do more of the finance stuff and Sheresa is a wiz on the website.
In addition to selling diapers , you provide education. Please tell us about that.
Sheresa: We have lots of great classes at the shop! We have a lot of pregnancy classes going on – things like Lamaze, early pregnancy education, couples massage during pregnancy and even support groups like the birth circle. We also offer ‘how to’ classes like CPR, cloth diapering 101, baby wearing 101 and things like that. Lastly, we offer mommy and me classes like Salsa Babies (wearing your baby while dancing), and Spanish Splash. We have had a lot of fun with our classes and are always adding more so stay tuned!
Is there a lot of overlap between your customers and your students? Do you find that a student becomes a customer and/or vice versa?
Priscilla: I would say yes. Many people that come for classes wind up doing a little shopping. We have the classes on a calendar in the retail space.
Tell us about your most embarrassing moment or an unusual story from your life.
|cloth diapers and carriers|
Priscilla: Sheresa and I talk about everything (pretty much) business-wise before we do it. And email is a wonderful thing for just that. Unfortunately, email is not so great when you hit reply instead of forward. :/ This has happened on more than one email but fortunately, I have never said anything bad – just thoughts I would rather have not had the recipient know.
What is one of your guilty pleasures?
Sheresa: Sometimes I eat ice cream straight from the carton :) It’s really yummy that way and there’s no clean-up.
What one thing have you always wanted to try/do/learn, but have not had the time or resources to do?
Priscilla: I would love to do yoga. When I do it, I feel amazing and invigorated. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? I just can never find the time and when I do find time, I find a zillion other things that I *should* be doing instead. One of these days….
What are your dreams for the future?
Sheresa: I want to see All About Baby succeed and thrive and I hope that we can always find ways to help moms and be involved in our community. I dream of more children to fill our house with love and laughter. And someday, I want to vacation in Tahiti! Someday…
Thank you Priscilla and Sheresa!
|Business: All About Baby – Boutique and Education Center
Mamas: Priscilla and Sheresa
Products: Our boutique carries not only a great diaper selection, but also a lot of handmade, natural, & organic products for mom & baby. Our Education Center has classes for mom, baby, & toddler. And our brand-new diaper service is sure to meet the needs of the family that wants to be green without the laundry! Check us out in person in Greensboro or online.
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