In the wake of the controversy following Fuzzi Bunz’s and Eco Nuts’ failure to get funding from Shark Tank investors in the past few weeks, I remembered Ilana’s and Amy’s success in Canada’s Dragon’s Den from last January. I decided to catch up with them and hear how this win affected their business.
Please tell us about your family.
How did you meet your husband?
Ilana: One of the best decisions I ever made was to move to Montreal to study Graphic Design because not only did it set me off on my very exciting career path, but it also led me to my husband!
Amy: We met at church in Australia when I was living there. He is from New Zealand but was also living in Australia at the time. He saw my birkenstocks and lovely pedicured toes and his heart was mine. We still go to church together as a family every Sunday and our faith (Latter-Day Saint) is a big part of our lives. It keeps us united, which, after 12 years of marriage, is code for “in love”. ;) And I still wear birkenstocks and have lovely pedicured toes.”
Tell us about your children
Ilana: I have three girls, Azure age 8, Phoenix age 5 and Ione age 2.2.
Amy: I have three super tall, strong boys who are absolute sweethearts: Bailey (9), Davray (8), Sacha (5) and I have a little girl who was born on my birthday almost two years ago. I am in love with all of them – in case you couldn’t tell! ;)
How did you both meet? How long have you been friends?
Ilana: I think I can speak for both of us on this one! Amy and I are both ardent homebirthers and when I was pregnant with my first and she with her second we were the only English speaking customers of our French-Canadian midwife, so she put us in touch! One thing led to another and we ended up in business together.
What inspired you to create AppleCheeks?
Ilana: Amy and I got our feet wet in retail and at the time we were both committed cloth diaperers. We had a few brands in store at the time but we were never satisfied with either the quality of the products or the level of customer service these companies were willing to offer their (read OUR) customers, so we decided we could do much, much better! And we did
How do you separate responsibilities between the two of you?
Ilana: We are very complimentary personalities and as well our strengths are complimentary, so the evolution of our partnership has logically followed. From time to time we do sit down and re-evaluate our roles to be sure we are not overlapping, but for the most part it’s just worked out nicely!
AppleCheeks at Dragon’s Den.
Last January, Ilana and Amy appeared at Dragon’s Den seeking investors to support the growth of their business. Here is a clip from that show.
Ilana: The exposure has been AMAZING! We had been warned that things would explode but I don’t think we really believed it. We have achieved the next level of brand awareness and are quickly heading for the next one after this one!
What was the response?
Did you get more visits to the site?
Do you think you converted more disposable users to cloth?
We have since noticed how hard it is for companies to do well against the millionaires and are glad it was such a positive experience for cloth diapering and for AppleCheeks!
What are your plans for AppleCheeks?
Ilana: Diaper domination! Ha ha! We would love to continue with our current business model and expand it to include other related products that have a larger market appeal.
On a personal note
How do you balance running a growing business with family?
Ilana: We’ve set up our work week to be family friendly. Our work day ends by 5pm at the very latest, often earlier, and Fridays are a work from home day. And for me I have gotten very good at compartmentalizing and switching into family mode when I’m not at work. It took a few years but I have developed faith that the world isn’t going to explode if I let my guard down
Amy: Well normally I would say that I have a wonderful husband who is a fully participatory partner and then some…. But this year he has gone back to school in Ottawa (1.5 horus away) so there is NO balance. We are hanging on by a thread. But next year will be better (“I hope” – she says with quiver in her voice).
Living or deceased what famouse person would you like to meet?
Anything else you think would be fun for others to know about you?
|Business Name: AppleCheeks Cloth Diapers
Mama: Ilana and Amy
Description: AppleCheeks is a mom-owned Canadian cloth diaper company with a reputation for excellence! Not only can we claim that our products outperform on every level, but our customer service is second to none!
Founded: April 2008
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