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Name: Sherri French
Business: Spbang, reusable snack bags
Industry: Children’s Goods & Services, Home & Housewares
Location: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Reason for starting: While living in Shanghai, China and working in the automotive industry in 2013, I was tired of throwing out plastic lunch bags nightly and could never get the fabric reusable snack bags clean. I knew I could make something better, both a mother and as a manufacturer. I was able to take my skills from my ‘day job’ and apply them directly to my own product using automotive processes and materials. After 8 months of development in China, on a factory floor, 5 hours south of Shanghai in the middle of nowhere, we were able to take an idea from my head and make it work in reality.
Spbang ‘s unique, durable and environmentally friendly snack bags are crafted with food safe material that contains no lead, no BPA and no phthalates. The best part is you can put them on the bottom rack of your dishwasher daily and they come out sparkling clean! November 2014 brings a new snack bag that allows parents to write notes to their kids daily while the kids can color in the patterns on the bags. All coming clean and ready for the next day’s use!
Related: Read about another female entrepreneur who turned an idea into a business here.
How do you define success? Success isn’t financial to me. It’s being able to accomplish tasks to the best of your ability both in my business and in my home. I constantly have 50 balls in the air whether it’s my business or my family. Being able to recognize that sometimes you can’t have it all. I think success means so many different things to so many different people.
Biggest Success: Moving our production from China to the USA within the first 6 months of business and manufacturing for the same price as China!
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Brand awareness. We have been in business for 11 months and no one knew who we were. We are competing against many big time companies that have an array of products. I’m a department of ‘one’ who wears many different hats. Sales rep, PR firm, shipping and receiving, packing etc. Amazingly we have received a ton of PR. Both locally and nationally. I don’t have the finances right now to go and hire a big firm to get the word out about us. Thankfully I haven’t had to. My husband the other day said I should stop manufacturing bags and get into the PR business.
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Who is your most important role model? My husband. He is my bank and my ear. He is an executive in the automotive industry and has the ability to see my business in a completely different way. He couldn’t care less what celebrity was using my bag or which trade show I am going to. He is always looking at the bottom line and often throws reality back at me. I am forever grateful to him for his support and insight.
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Edited by The Story Exchange