As time progresses and we see the effects of global warming and what some products REALLY do to us, we have come to realize that we need to reevaluate what products we are buying and putting on our bodies. Lisa Hom of Parasol has redesigned diapers to be Disposable Baby Underwear that reflect the essence of the Modern Parent. One that is not only free of harmful materials, but is also soft, sleek, and stylish in design. Let’s not forget that this subscription-based product gets delivered to your door and makes sure you never suffer from running out of diapers!
There a lot of “eco-friendly” diapers out there and and even some diapers with cute prints these days (we won’t name names) How would you say Parasol is different?
I wanted to reimagine what a diaper could be. We spent years developing a diaper that uses less wood pulp, creates less shipping waste, is completely safe for your baby, and lets you express your personal style with bright, vivid, hand-painted designs. Even more importantly, I wanted to create a diaper that is luxuriously soft and comforting. Modern parents are demanding responsible materials, but they are still forced to settle for the rough and bulky quality of eco brands. Parasol is a game changer in that regard. I LOVE watching parents’ reactions when they touch and feel our diapers for the first time – that’s when they truly understand just how different Parasols are.
What was it like to start a business based on a subscription service model and how to do see your business evolving in the long term?
It made sense for us to start with a subscription service because we wanted to provide parents with the convenience of receiving everything they need when they need it. As we continue to grow our Parasol family, we will continue to add more features and flexibility to fit the changing needs of our subscribers. We have already launched a Shop and Gift Subscriptions, but we will continue to evolve. Looking ahead, I definitely see the possibility of launching our products in physical retail stores to expand our exposure to parents and give them another channel to purchase through.
Tell us about the way you work with artists to create your packaging and the designs on your diapers. How are you supporting the community?
I have always been incredibly inspired by artists and where they draw their inspiration from – nature, architecture, color, emotions. With Parasol, we wanted to work with artists from around the world and showcase their modern and chic styles on our packaging and product. Much like a fashion brand, I want to constantly introduce newness with each season and bring our consumers design options that speak to their personal style. We also want to support and promote the artists that we work with by telling their story and letting their designs tell the story of our Parasol brand.
Parasol is a family brand and it’s important that we set a great example through our company policies and actions. Our flexible policies allow mothers the freedom to spend time with and take care of their children without impacting their ability to grow within the company.
What makes you choose an artist to work with?
It’s key to find the right fit for each product we launch, so we look for artists who understand the story we are trying to tell and can help us translate it in a visual way. I’m constantly looking for new artists for us to work with. It doesn’t matter if someone isn’t a pattern or textile designer, we are excited to meet a diverse group of talent.
Can you tell us how your business supports women, outside the aspect of providing an amazing, safe, chic service for mama & baby?
I know first-hand what it’s like to have a baby (x3) and continue wanting to build my career. Parasol is a family brand and it’s important that we set a great example through our company policies and actions. Our flexible policies allow mothers the freedom to spend time with and take care of their children without impacting their ability to grow within the company. We also have a dedicated private nursery in the office for mothers to use (stocked with our diapers and wipes, of course!)
Since we launched in April, we have also donated our products to MOMS OC, an organization in Orange County, California that supports low-income women from pregnancy through the child’s first year. This is just the beginning, and we will continue to support women in all stages of her life and her career.
What is the best business advice you’ve ever been given?
As a new founder, I was not sleeping. I wasn’t able to define the lines between work and home, so I just kept working with every minute of every day. But it wasn’t something that I was able to maintain in a healthy way. One of my mentors, who is also a female CEO, told me that starting a business is not a sprint… it’s a marathon. Much like being a parent, I needed to stay healthy and happy to be the best CEO for my company and employees.
What advice do you have for female entrepreneurs starting a business?
Find a business that you are truly truly passionate about. That gives you the best chance for success. Starting a business is a huge commitment and it requires a lot of your time and energy (much like a child). So make sure that this is something that you will be excited to wake up for every morning, and committed to nurture even when there are challenges to work through. If you love what you do, it will show.
Did you raise money? Can you tell us about your experience?
Parasol was funded by a couple of initial investors, but we will be raising a round of funding later this year. I would be happy to give an update on the upcoming experience.
You highlight families with really active lifestyles on your site. How does this relate to the Parasol philosophy?
Parasol parents have made a shift from the generation before them. Rather than defining their identities by a traditional view of what parenthood should be, we see parents now opening up their entire worlds to include their children. Whether parents are living active lifestyles by dedicating themselves to their craft, their sport, or their art, they all believe in raising their children within that context. Every Parasol parent is on a journey, and it’s that journey (both intuitive and adventurous) that we honor.
I quickly found that asserting my opinion and voice earlier in the conversation was all I needed to do. I had creative ideas and smart solutions to share, and men and women had no choice but to stop and listen.
With such a strong focus on safe and comfortable diapers for babies, we could imagine that living healthy is important to you. How do you keep up your wellness routine? What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness to me means staying active, eating well, taking time out for yourself and finding ways to be inspired. All of these things are hard to do when you are busy being mom, so I actually schedule everything ahead of time in my Google calendar! Whether it’s a pilates class, hip hop dance class, a hike with the kids, or an indoor soccer game, being active always re-energizes me. I can’t say that I get much downtime, but even small “breaks” are helpful.
What are your opinions on adopting and maintaining and well-rounded lifestyle? How do you achieve this with such a busy career and family?
As a mom of three, CEO of a startup, and wife, life right now is certainly a beautiful hustle. It’s not perfectly balanced and I always wish I had more hours in the day, but the busy schedule also makes me more grateful for the downtime I do get. With the convenience of technology, you will catch me checking emails on the treadmill and sneaking in a quick call when I’m in line at Target. But I’m also very aware of being present and in the moment when Ella wants to craft together or Kellan wants to play in the backyard. I also think it’s super important to plan new adventures together – whether it’s a global vacation, a day trip to explore the city, or cherry picking at the local farm.
What’s been the biggest challenge you have faced career wise and how did you overcome it?
When I was in my late twenties and early thirties, my biggest challenge was demanding respect in a room full of men. Working as a buyer, I managed men and I met with vendors who were all male. Once I stepped into a meeting and was asked if I was the secretary of my two direct reports, who were both men. I’m 5’2” and I have a baby face. So I first tried to command respect by dressing older and wearing heels. But I quickly found that asserting my opinion and voice earlier in the conversation was all I needed to do. I had creative ideas and smart solutions to share, and men and women had no choice but to stop and listen.
Tell us something unexpected about yourself.
I have always been a risk taker and I love trying new things. I loved sky diving and hated scuba diving. In my late twenties, I joined a back-up dancing hip hop group. I tried co-ed indoor soccer last year and I fell in love with the sport. I want more tattoos.
What’s in your 5 year plan?
My vision is for Parasol to be a global brand. Babies, parents, and families around the world deserve to have baby-safe, high quality family essentials that fit their modern aesthetic, while also being comforting and empowering. Baby products was a natural way for us to launch the brand, but I want to continue extending our core values to to other categories, including feminine hygiene and incontinence products. Parasol is in a unique position to bring a sense of empowerment and confidence to the family at all the stages of life.