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Name: Kelley Legler
Business: Baby Jack and Company
Location: Franklin, Wisconsin, U.S.
Industry: Children’s Goods & Services
Reason for starting? I was let go from my marketing job upon returning from my maternity leave after having my first child, Jack. Needing a creative outlet, I learned how to sew. Creating literally saved my sanity after having postpartum depression. I used this newfound passion and turned it into a positive, profitable business that connected other families. We evolved and grew, now selling in stores all over and designing our own fabrics.
Baby Jack and Company creates comfort with our security-tag blankets. What started as a textile product turned into generating awareness for causes like pediatric cancer, CHD, infant loss and premature birth. Our children’s security blankets not only bring value in entertainment and comfort, but they are connecting families with similar interests and giving back to hospitals in the U.S.
Related: Read about another Children’s Goods & Services entrepreneur here.
How do you define success? I feel that having success coincides with the tenacity to never give up. Failure is part of the journey with success. And without it, you will never see how far you have come. I believe that, if you can personally adapt to the reason for failure, learn, grow and then reach a goal, you should smile.
I strive to develop a brand that has meaning. Baby Jack and Company is more than a manufacturer of children’s products. We have a give back campaign that proves that kindness is contagious by placing products in the hands of children in need. What is amazing is that we encourage others to use their network for good and give back to their local hospital or organization with our loves. Spreadthelovey has distributed over 3,000 loveys to kids in need and connected families. Once a family receives a gift of a lovey, they want to use their following and bring in donations. It’s a snowball effect that started with one person, and now we have had over 100 parents working hard to #spreadthelovey. From a business perspective, it is brand reps and families with our product, which is increasing more hospital gift shops and retailers. Everyone wins because of kindness.
Biggest success: My personal success is when I physically moved out of my basement into my own office building. To outgrow what you have known for so long and invest in a property to invite more growth was a big things for us. We now fulfill our orders out of a warehouse and office while enjoying our children on site as well.
I am passionate about my purpose to comfort kids and families during a time of need. I invest my entire heart into these kids that are making a difference on their prayer pages and working with their network to do good deeds and #spreadthelovey. Each and every family that is connected because of our product keeps me going, as a mother, business owner and human. From the very beginning my business has been about making people happy; it’s been a purpose from the beginning.
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Sales reps have been our biggest challenge and finding the most credible ones. We have been fortunate to be connected to a great company that has supported us during our growth. It is important to be present at every possible trade show and represent your own brand. You begin to inspire sales reps, and they learn your story — eventually being able to sell your product after seeing your passion and purpose.
At the end of 2015, both my mom and mother-in-law were diagnosed with cancer. Being a primary contact and support for both of them, I took the time to be there for both of them for the first part of 2016. As an entrepreneur and business owner, there are many decisions and factors that get postponed because of a different purpose. Both of these women taught me so much throughout owning my business, and without both of them I wouldn’t be where I am today. Devoting more time to take care of family made an impact on my business but put more value and focus on my passion for helping others with our items.
Related: This 6-Horse Startup Helps Kids with Special Needs
Who is your most important role model? My role model and mentor is a woman who has been in this business for over 40 years. With her wealth of knowledge, I have been able to grow my business and start designing my own fabrics. She introduced me to the contact at my factory and continues to be a light in my life. I found her out of kindness. I donated a baby blanket for a baby shower she was throwing and did not flinch when she asked for a gift. I have learned that if you can be anything in life, Be Kind.
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Edited by The Story Exchange