In our brand spotlight, we feature Abound brands who are ready for retail. This week we sat down with Jeri Dean and Jina Miyamoto, a mother-daughter team who owns MomoGo Baby. MomoGo Baby sells baby seat inserts for shopping carts, high chairs, and swings, is based in California, and has been in business for one year.
Robin: Why did you decide to start MomoGo Baby?
Jeri + Jina: The decision to start this business stemmed from an overwhelming response to sell what we invented. The invention of the MomoGo occurred when we realized a product did not exist to address a problem that parents and babies faced every single day.
The problem was that little babies who are strong enough to sit up (4 months) were still very, very small for public seating spaces like shopping carts and high chairs.
This problem forced parents to either shop with a stroller, put a car seat in a shopping cart (leaving no room for groceries), carry baby in a carrier (making it difficult to load cases of water or large items like dog food), or stuff blankets in shopping carts and high chairs to support the baby.
R: What were your jobs before MomoGo?
J + J: Before MomoGo and still currently, Jeri (mom) works as an administrator for the Department of Education (25 years), and as a single mom, has always owned businesses on the side to supplement her income to raise her three children.
Jina (daughter) recently graduated with her bachelor’s degree, launched a food delivery business of her own, and now works full-time on MomoGo.
R: How did you make your first prototype? What changes have you made to your product since then?
J + J: Our first prototype was made with batting, material from a local store and a sewing machine on the kitchen table. We used this seat for quite some time until we realized through all the attention we were getting when ‘out and about,’ that maybe this is a product other parents would want.
We then hired a professional textile engineer to create a professionally made prototype. With this prototype, we began asking friends and family to use the MomoGo and provide feedback. After 8 different prototypes and 18 months later, the MomoGo on the market today was created.
The safety features of the seat were slowly added throughout the prototype process making the MomoGo a product that provides support, security and safety for babies.
R: How do you make your product? What’s your process like?
J + J: A manufacturer makes our product today. We have a fulfillment center we keep stocked with inventory and as inventory lessens, we place orders with our manufacturer. From the time of order to landing in the US, approximately 45 days are required.
R: What’s your day to day like? Do you have any favorite and least favorite parts?
J + J: Day-to-day operations include filling business-to-customer and business-to-business orders, product design, marketing and constant reflection, goal setting, research and planning. We do not have a least favorite part!
Since launching the MomoGo, the learning curve and journey has been amazing no matter the ups or downs of the process. Satisfied customers letting us know everyday through posts on social media platforms, emails or reviews, is our favorite part of the day!
Using the MomoGo ourselves with our own little ones when shopping or in restaurants, and seeing people’s reactions of, ‘Where did you get that?’ ‘I wish I had that when my children were little,’ or ‘What an amazing and smart product!’ is also a favorite part of our day and is really the drive behind what we do. We love that so many parents’ and babies’ lives have been enhanced and made convenient because of our MomoGo.
R: What was your initial investment? How did you get the money?
J + J: $60,000. It was all we had in our joint savings accounts.
R: Where was the first place you sold your product?
J + J: Mini expos, social media platforms, and our website.
R: Where do you sell your product now?
J + J: We are on multiple online platforms only: Amazon, Macy’s.com, Walmart.com, Overstock.com, Zulily, and Jane.com.
R: Where would you love to sell your products in the future?
J + J: We’d love to get into retail stores.
R: What’s your marketing like? Is social media an important part of your business? If so, how?
J + J: We market our product at trade shows and baby magazines, with ads on our social media platforms and Google.
R: How did you go about getting Google and social media ads set up? What advice do you have for businesses that want to start advertising online?
J + J: This is a tricky question with a tricky answer because we are still trying to navigate online advertisement. We have invested a lot of money into hiring different marketing professionals which resulted in great financial losses.
Through our experiences of working with businesses and learning from failed attempts however, Jina is very tech savvy and has learned the “ins and outs” quite well.
Our advice is to listen to your intuition and research, research, research. If you can learn how to logistically target your audience and create captivating ad campaigns on your own, it can help you save a lot of money while still creating brand awareness.
We think hiring a professional marketing company can add great value to your brand, you just want to make sure you are financially postured for that investment.
R: What are some of the most frustrating challenges and/or moments you’ve had with MomoGo Baby?
J + J: Making the wrong investment choices in marketing services and not knowing how or in what way marketing could best benefit us. Finding a trustworthy, quality manufacturer was also a daunting task. However, we are extremely fortunate to be in partnership with a reputable and quality manufacturing company today.
R: How did you find a manufacturer? What tips do you have for businesses trying to find a manufacturer?
J + J: Alibaba is a valuable resource that connects businesses with manufacturers oversees. Alibaba offers quality, dependable references and services to secure your partnership from design to delivery.
The biggest tip we have when trying to find a manufacturer, is to do your research and learn both the cultural and professional practices of the country your manufacturer is located in. This will ensure effective communication and production. If possible, actually visiting the site of your manufacturer will also provide excellent feedback of the quality and dependability of the business.
R: What are some of your greatest achievements and victories you’ve had with MomoGo Baby?
J + J: Obtaining all certifications and licenses relating to our product. Additionally, securing both a patent and a PCT was a very satisfying achievement as well.
R: What was getting all the certifications and licenses like? Did you have extra steps because your product is used on babies?
J + J: The licensing and certification process is very long, tedious and numerous, but necessary, so the sooner one can begin, the better. There are many business attorneys and new product development businesses that can help a new business understand what is required in order for a product to be on shelves or manufactured. Because our product is used on babies, an additional certificate we needed to secure was the CPSC (Children’s Product Safety Certificate).
R: What advice do you have for people who want to sell a product?
J + J: Ask yourself, ‘Why do you want to do this?’ ‘What is the purpose?’ ‘Why would other people want it?’ You must be passionate about your product, you must believe in your product! Keep going, always keep going!
R: Is there any business advice or quotes you’ve heard that you think about often?
J + J: “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.” -Jim Rohn.
“Always work to get ready to be ready!” -Abraham Hicks
R: What’s your favorite thing about being a business owner?
J + J: Working as a mother-daughter team has been the best experience in the world! Being business owners allows us to make others happy, which in turn, makes our lives richer.
R: Was it scary to decide to go into business with each other? What are the joys and frustrations of having a business partner?
J + J: Being a mom and daughter team has been anything but scary. It has been enlightening to see the strength that two different generations can contribute to a business.
One possesses the experience and knowledge of owning a business, understanding contracts and professional interactions, while the other, who was born into a world of technology, brings the knowledge and talent of the “e-world.”
We compliment each other very well and respect what we both offer as individuals. We are faced with many frustrations, however, because we are connected so tightly as family members, our goals align perfectly and our intentions for the business are in sync.