Recognized as one of Fortune’s Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs in 2013, Sari Davidson is the CEO of BooginHead, which is now a multimillion-dollar business with products in Walmart and Babies R Us. Sari is one of the most focused, determined, and driven entrepreneurs that I have ever met.
Intentional with her time, Sari knows how to maintain her remarkable energy level and she is focused and strategic with her resources. Sari epitomizes what I call being thoughtfully ruthless, where you intentionally focus on your time, energy, and resources to catapult your business growth.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
When my son Jake was one year old, he would throw his cup off his high chair and out of his stroller over and over again just to watch me pick it up! I went searching for a solution, some product that would fix this problem, and I found nothing.
I’m a natural-born entrepreneur, and when I couldn’t find the solution to my problem, the logical next step was to create that solution myself. I made my first product, the SippiGrip, with a sewing machine at my kitchen table, and 10 years later I have 12 product lines and over 100 products in major retailers all over the world.
Tell us about your business.
BooginHead helps people ”Get a Grip” on parenthood with stylish baby essentials.
We make simple, elegant, unique products that solve the kind of problems that don’t ruin your day, but certainly make it harder – lost and dirty pacifiers, dropped sippy cups, teething pain, drooling, and soothing.
New parents have so much to do and so much to think about, and we want to make products that take the little worries away so they can focus on the big stuff.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Yes! Right now you can enter the code WOMANOWNED at checkout and receive 15% off your purchase of $20 or more on BooginHead.com.
- Fastest Growing Business for the Eastside and Washington State, Puget Sound Business Journal
- Most Powerful Woman Entrepreneur, Fortune Magazine
- Top 50 Mompreneurs, Babble
- Certified Woman Owned Business
- Sold in Target, Walmart, buybuyBABY, Rite Aid, Amazon.com, and internationally in the UK, Latin America, Japan, Australia, Guatemala, and Canada
- Recognized in 425Business Magazine, Woman’s World, the Huffington Post, ABC’s Good Morning America, PopSUGAR, and the Today Show
Where is your business based?
BooginHead in Issaquah, Washington, a great little town about 30 minutes east of Seattle.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
At first, I was running BooginHead from home at night and on the weekends while still working full time in the HR Department at Microsoft. I made prototypes of the SippiGrip and handed them out to friends and family for feedback, constantly refining the product until I knew it was the solution that I and parents everywhere were looking for.
My next step was to launch the company and the product at a trade show, where it was picked up by Target and put in-line as a Parent Invented Product. Through it all I kept my full-time job but made a promise to myself – when BooginHead hit $1 million in sales, I’d leave Microsoft to focus on my company. BooginHead was founded in 2007, and I hit the $1 million milestone in 2010.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
BooginHead has been in business for 10 years and hasn’t had a concerted marketing effort until recently, so the truest answer is… just producing a unique, innovative, superior product to all others out there.
Now, we’re getting the word out on social media that parents everywhere love our products and we’ve revamped our website to be more representative of who we are as a company, but the single most effective way of getting new customers is being the most trustworthy product on the shelf.
We are always striving to bring the most innovative, fashion-forward and safe products as possible to our customers.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Copycats. BooginHead is a small company producing awesome, innovative stuff. We have had companies big and small rip off our designs ever since we were founded in 2007.
Yes, we have patents and yes, we will defend them, but what most people don’t realize is how very expensive and resource-draining it is to defend your intellectual property.
The big companies who build their businesses by knocking off smaller companies are counting on the fact that we just don’t have the resources and time to combat their theft.
How did you overcome these challenges?
We combat copycats by constantly innovating, and by being first to market with the best products we can make. BooginHead is run by only seven people. We have less overhead, fewer hoops to jump through, and can make decisions and act much quicker than big companies.
We are efficient and nimble, and while the other guys are spending their time knocking off a product we launched last year, we’re already working on the next big thing. We usually have about 12 months before we get knocked off, but then again, that’s 12 months of lead time to keep innovating ahead of the game.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Ironically I stay motivated through the difficult times by referring back to my past difficult times. I often say to myself – if I was able to survive THAT then I surely can get through THIS!
I remind myself that I am stronger than I was then, and I have more support and resources and that it will work out in the end. I tend to go into hyperfocus mode when the stress and stakes are at the highest.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Besides the extensive, uncompromising quality control we do on our products and all our materials, all our patterns are hand-designed by our Creative Director so they are unique from anything else out there.
We focus on bold, classic patterns that are on-trend in fashion to create looks that appeal to parents as well as children. It’s important to us that our products are not just functional solutions, but stylish and comfortable, too.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
To remember to take it one day at a time. Looking too far in the future can paralyze you with feeling overwhelmed and fearful. If you take it in chunks, in projects, or one day at a time, it’s much easier to swallow.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea for something, you don’t need to wait until it is absolutely perfect to bring it to market. I have made so many modifications over the years to my products based off customer feedback or online reviews, and I wouldn’t have that feedback unless the product was already available in the marketplace. Look at Apple! they are always coming up with a newer version of their iPhone.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
LinkedIn for many different reasons has been a great resource. It is my number one tool I use for recruiting but it is also how I got into Walmart.
I connected with the Assistant Buyer and built a relationship so that she helped me get to the main buyer and my products on her desk at the right time.
Never underestimate the power of relationship building at every level and the tools to help facilitate that.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
This most recent one from CNBC caught my eye – because it really is true: LearnVest CEO: Being your own boss is ‘like getting punched in the face every day.
Being an entrepreneur has really taught me to have thick skin, to take the punches and keep on going.
I have become a lot better over the years of not being swallowed up by bad news, but to go into “solve mode” instead, and then move on and through whatever roadblock with action and a plan.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Right now, we are looking to tame the beast that is e-commerce. We pride ourselves on our strong partnerships with brick and mortar businesses like Target and Walmart and buybuyBABY, and e-commerce is a whole new world.
We’re constantly looking for and attending webinars, online training classes, and seeking other retailers’ personal experiences with e-commerce.
We’re also searching for the right charity partner who advocates for and supports the Autism community. My son is autistic and I have learned firsthand over many years that there is much work to be done to support our autistic friends and family, and it’s important to us that we be a part of the solution.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
The next few months for us is to bring our new ideas through to the prototype stage so we can present them to our retailers at the start of next year. We also aim to stay focused on growing e-commerce, but continue to foster and support our already strong and growing brick and mortar business.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Hashtags #booginhead #babyessentials