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Elle Rowley is the enterprising mama behind Solly Baby, the super light wrap used to carry your baby.  The all around perks to baby wearing are quite astounding, and we can’t figure out why there was a time this had gone out of style! Thanks mama for bringing this back. From creating her own carrier, to selling on Etsy, to launching her very successful business, Ella’s #STARTUPSTORY is definitely one to be read and inspired by.

solly baby

Just make sure you are really adding value. Don’t start something just to have a business, make sure you are really starting something you care about and you want to share.

Tell us your startup story. How did you start Solly Baby Wraps?

After using migraine-inducing carriers that left me feeling like a packhorse with my first baby in 2009, I wanted something comfortable and chic to wear my second baby in so I could not only best take care of his needs, but also so I could still chase after my toddler and meet her needs as well.  There were only a few other wraps on the market and they were heavy and hot and didn’t appeal to me aesthetically. After making my own wrap, absolutely loving the experience, and discovering through the feedback of friends that I had done something really different, I decided to start making and selling them on Etsy. From selling there I could see there was a real demand so I took it to the next level by sourcing real manufacturing and I started working through social media to get the word out. In 2016 that’s an obvious route but in 2011, advertising through social media was really just beginning.

What do you think sets your brand apart?

First to market for our particular carrier has been huge, but I’d also like to think that really staying true to our brand values and our community has set us apart.

What has been your most successful marketing tool?

Instagram is still such a strong tool, but its power is definitely on the decline. We are excited to try pushing other platforms now to see if we can find something equally successful.

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Why baby wearing? What are some of the benefits to mama/daddy and baby?

As a baby wearing educator, I’ve studied so many that now I have a hard place even beginning to make a list. It reduces postpartum depression and colic, regulates baby’s heart rate and body temperature, and increases bonding and just a certain level of confidence that you can go out with your baby as well as take care of other children. It really is such an amazing tool for any parent. It’s hard to believe it ever went “out of fashion”, but I’m so grateful for its resurgence in the last decade.

It reduces postpartum depression and colic, regulates baby’s heart rate and body temperature, and increases bonding and just a certain level of confidence that you can go out with your baby as well as take care of other children.

What’s been the best part of what you do?

I love telling the stories of mothers as much as I love sharing great products with them, so social media has created the perfect place for an entrepreneur like me to find the stories of real parents using our product, even if it’s just a snippet from someone’s day, and to be able to share them. I’m still amazed I’m able to share our product in this way and that it’s been as successful as it has been. It’s so fulfilling for me personally.

Do you have a fave quote?

“Align your personality with your purpose, and no one can touch you.” – Oprah

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What’s the funniest thing you’ve done baby wearing?

At some point after having Frances, my third, I found myself posting an (upper body!) photo on Instagram while I got my postpartum vaginal exam to encourage people to wear their babies at the doctors office because it makes it so much easier and you don’t have to worry about germs. Later that day, I was like, “I should probably reevaluate my sharing boundaries.”

I live for the adorable picture of babies on your Instagram they are sooooo cute! How do you find them?  Do people send them to you ? Have you created a hashtag or do you see them when people tag you?

I know, right?! So many darling babies! We are so fortunate to have so many people tagging us each day. I still go through them almost daily because they make me so happy.

What was the biggest challenge with getting Solly off the ground?

Cash flow! It was always cash flow.

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What’s the business like today? Do you have a big team?

We actually prefer to keep our team as small as possible and to contract out wherever possible. We have an office, but I prefer to work from my home office (which, this pregnancy, is often my bed!). All of our production is in Los Angeles, which is so nice because we can visit often to oversee our fabric production and sewing.

You must have made some amazing friends with mamas who love your wraps! Can you tell us a few of the inspiring women who wear them?

I am not super into following celebrities, but I will say that I randomly met Anne Hathaway a few months ago who has been wearing her son in our wraps. That was, like, a moment, you know?

But, mostly, I just like seeing every day moms wear and love them. I’m most inspired by the moms who are quietly working hard and loving their babies the best they know how.

I’m most inspired by the moms who are quietly working hard and loving their babies the best they know how.

Any advice of mamas who dream of starting their own business from home?

Just make sure you are really adding value. Don’t start something just to have a business, make sure you are really starting something you care about and you want to share.

solly baby

 Can you share 3 pearls of wisdom that you’ve learned along the way?

 

  • Make your own definition and then align your business goals with that definition (read: money does not always equal success or maybe it does for you, but make sure you ask yourself that question).
  • Always look up. If you really want to take your business to the next level then know what that looks like. It’s easy to get stuck in startup mode with all the other startups around, but you should always know the next step for your business to get it beyond that level. It’s easy to stay in startup land forever because it’s comfortable, but don’t be that kid that graduates high school and sticks around for the next 5 years. You can do better than that.
  • Enjoy it and don’t let it own you. I constantly remind myself that relationships matter so much more than any business.

 

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