The Story Exchange, Paula Roeske, PRK ProductsYour Name: Paula Roeske

Business Name: PRK Products Inc., a maker of baby food and bottle organizers

Type of Business: Children’s Goods & Services

Business Location: The Woodlands, Texas, United States

Twitter   @prkproductsinc

Reason for starting
I had sat on my baby product ideas for almost 10 years when I finally decided enough is enough, “Paula, make the time to take these ideas from paper to prototype.” I took my prototypes to a trade show and gained the confidence that I had very brand-able products so it was time to pull up the sleeves and dig in.

How do you define success?
In my youth I thought I knew this answer but the truth of the matter is success inspires, changes and molds you. It is not a “thing” you can obtain or achieve to hang on a wall or sit on your desk. It is not a financial portfolio that is filed away in your cabinet that maybe some would only deem to have. Nor is it I have the child that is most gifted, self-taught genius who is going to be the next Donald Trump. Success is when your heart still thumps when your husband smiles at you. When you see someone on the street truly in need and you reach for your pocketbook to help without thinking. Do you slow down life OFTEN enough to really smell the roses and make time for what matters most like putting down the dinner dishes to read your child a book. I have a lot of success in my life and it could not be without the love and support of my husband, children, family and friends. But I am not done yet!

Biggest Success
Making the decision to find the time to launch my company. People have asked me so many times, “Paula, you have four kids, you work for your husband full-time from home and now you launched your own company? How do you find the time?” My response is always the same, I reply,”You are asking me the wrong question. What you should be asking me is when did I decide to make the time.” We all have the same 24 hours a day in life. I can tell you this, yes my life is busy but, my life is not boring and it has made me appreciate all the little things that I was not paying enough attention to before. There are songs written about dying and how everyone should know how that feels because in that scheme of life traffic jams don’t matter and learning that when your children are arguing it is noise you will truly miss hearing one day. PRK has brought these lessons to my doorstep which I believe to be my biggest success.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Finding good companies to partner up with. I have been taken advantage of so many times. So many times in fact, that it has cost me to the tune of $300,000 plus. Now, I have the right people. Bottom line, just because you have a great idea does not mean that is enough. Just because everyone tells you this is going to be the “next must have item” does not mean “presto” it will happen. You have to know your industry. You need to be a student of your industry. Ignorance will only buy you hardship to your personal finances as well as to your own personal worth. AND to learn the word patience. If you can do those two things : Student of industry and truly understand the meaning of patience you can make it in anything. Knowledge is power and patience is gold.

Who is your most important role model?
My husband. He is a truly extraordinary man. He has managed to accomplish everything that he has set off to do in life in record pace. Always the brightest star in any company he worked in. Now he runs his own company that is one of the most well respected financial services boutiques in the country. He is a man that would give the only shirt off his back. And has a heart of gold – so giving. So incredibly giving. And whenever he is knocked down he always brushes himself off and keeps going. He never falters. He pays attention to the good in his life and not the bad. He always says 10% of life is what happens to you and 90% is how you react to it. This is not an uncommon statement but, he actually lives his life this way. The world would be a much better place if it was full of Dan Roeskes.