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Name: Sarah Wells

Business: Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bags, a seller of stylish breast pump bags

Industry: Clothing & Accessories

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.

Reason for starting: My concept for a stylish and functional breast pump bag came about after the birth of my daughter, Maddy. Breastfeeding was really important to me, but the transition back to work carrying a breast pump brought about challenges. I felt like a pack mule schlepping a purse, lunch and an ugly pump bag; the bag also screamed “I’M PUMPING HERE FOLKS!” and detracted from my efforts to be fashionable. It was like wearing a Chanel suit with dirty old sneakers. This is how Sarah Wells bags were born.

Related: Read about another female entrepreneur providing stylish accessories for women. 

How do you define success? Success is having the confidence that I have done or am doing my best in three categories: 1) Me: I am challenging myself intellectually and professionally and always growing, 2) Family: I am providing financially for my family and serving as a role model for my daughter and 3) Customers: I am offering moms who buy my stylish breast pump bags both a high-quality product as well as an excellent customer service experience.

Biggest Success: Every time I sell a stylish breast pump bag is a victory. In the beginning of launching a business, each sale is both difficult and triumphant. I keep track of each sale on a chalkboard in my home office; instead of saying “X Number of Sales” my tracker says “X Number of Moms” as I want to always remember that each purchase is a person for whom I’ve gained their trust and their hard-earned money.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Gaining broad exposure is the biggest challenge I face as a small business owner in this niche. Accessories (handbags) and mom/baby products are competitive categories. Furthermore, stylish breast pump bags is a brand new niche. I need to gain both brand recognition as well as product awareness. I address this challenge everyday by employing every marketing strategy I can find; I’m in “test and learn” mode, where I am willing to try anything at least once.

Related: 5 Things No One’s Ever Told You About PR

Who is your most important role model? My own mother. My mom was the Executive Director of a nonprofit, amazing spouse and a phenomenal mother to three children (not to mention a stint as town mayor and trainer of seeing-eye-dogs for the blind, in her “spare” time). She taught me that women can have their cake and eat it too, the value of hard work and that I can be a leader and an innovator.

Twitter   @sarahwellsbags

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Edited by The Story Exchange