Simply Necessary Incorporated was founded as a family owned business by Tangela, and is now run with the help of her daughter. With it came the unique idea and best selling product The Kushies GoPillow!
Serving a multitude of purposes, the GoPillow is a wearable cradle pillow, a breastfeeding pillow with a built-in cover, a pillow and swaddling wrap, a toddler pillow with an attached travel blanket… and can even become a travel pillow!
Its usefulness and versatility couldn’t have been invented by anyone other than a passionate mom. Tangela tells us all about her journey as the owner and creator, and she offers some great advice for any mom who finds themselves on a similar path.
What makes your business special to you?
Simply Necessary, Incorporated is owned by a mother and a daughter.
The Kushies GoPillow is a convenient way to cradle and/or nurse a baby at home or on-the-go. This plush pillow can be worn on the arm to provide extra comfort and cradling support. It can also be used as a swaddling blanket. The wearable design provides moms privacy during breastfeeding. It is lightweight and portable, made of cotton with a polyester fill. The Kushies GoPillow is machine washable. The Kushies GoPillow is perfect travel gear for domestic and international family travel. It’s compact enough to fit inside of a carry on bag. Kushies GoPillow is available in 100% bamboo.
Tell us about the “aha” moment that led you to launch it:
After my daughter was born, I breastfed her for two years. I had the idea for the GoPillow because she was born with a head full of black, silky hair. Each time I would breastfeed her, the back of her neck along her hairline would perspire and my arm would be damp. I decided that I needed an arm cover of some kind – not just for breastfeeding, but for cradling my baby.
The original intent of the pillow was for cradling babies for breast or bottle feedings. I also knew it would be an excellent travel pillow. The idea for adding the privacy blanket came later. It was added after I was caught in a crowded area during a rainstorm at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I realized that a privacy blanket or cover would separate my pillow from any other nursing pillow on the market. The blanket turned the pillow into a multipurpose wonder!
How did you get your first customer?
My first customers were two postal workers. They helped me select the best packaging for mailing out GoPillows to customers. Once they saw the product they each purchased one for loved ones.
How do you measure your success?
After struggling to gain exposure for my invention for several years, I was able to license my invention to Kushies Baby. I summoned all of my knowledge and expertise as an effective communicator. I sought the right company to work with me. After scouring the world-wide web day after day, my mom-invented product went from being a local novelty to being available worldwide thanks to a licensing deal that I made with Kushies Baby!
Ever felt like throwing in the towel?
I felt like throwing in the towel on a regular basis. But I didn’t want to disappoint the people who believed in me. I also didn’t want to disappoint myself.
One thing you wish you would have known before you started:
I wish I hand known more about how public relations and marketing worked. I had to learn on the job. I’ve learned many lessons.
Best advice you have for someone who is just starting out:
Anyone just starting out should make a decision about how they want their business or product to be represented. They should identify a target audience and focus their marketing to that audience. Successful entrepreneurs should know who their competition is and be able to differentiate themselves from competitors. All entrepreneurs should develop an “elevator pitch” that can be delivered during brief encounters.
What is the best advice you received?
Know when to unplug. Always make time for yourself and those you love.
Whether you are looking for a valuable resource that supports making a change in your life, or you just feel like browsing around and laughing at some relatable mom and dad anecdotes, this blog was created for you and parents everywhere.
We are parents who are contributing to a vibrant change in the choices we make as consumers, and we appreciate the value of purchasing from parents who have chosen to stay at home.
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Oh, wow. How was it already 20 years ago?
And yet, anyone who was alive that day remembers it like it was yesterday.
It was a day I realized I was living in a false sense of security. I’d heard there were terrorists, heard that they had tried to take down the WTC in the past, but it wasn’t anything I felt threatened by. Ignorance was bliss— for me. And so many like me.
The night before the attack, I had an attack of my own. I started crying for absolutely no reason. I couldn’t figure out what had triggered it. I wasn’t even sure of the exact emotion I was feeling. It wasn’t sadness or anger. It was just pure overwhelm. I cried myself to sleep that night.
It wasn’t until months after the attack that I remembered that night of September 10th, and I knew. This may sound strange, but it was as if my higher self wanted to warn me— not about the attack— but about the change the was coming, and the abruptness of it, the magnitude of the shift it would create for all of us, removing how secure we felt in our comfortable little lives, how we saw and related to one another, how hated we were by some parts of the world, how expendable human life was to them.
For many of us, it caused us to shift directions.
My circle of friends got started right away getting married and having babies. I knew people who quit their jobs abruptly and got started looking for a career that fulfilled them. Some got out of bad relationships. Others started traveling. Our lives became shorter. We had less time. We didn’t want to wait any longer to do everything we ever wanted to do because it was the first time we realized the fragility of our lives.
Tomorrow was not guaranteed.
I see so many social media posts about how we came together as a nation and let differences go. Yes. I felt and appreciated that, too. But even that was an illusion. The truth is, that love we passed back and forth was only reserved for those who looked like us. White Americans.
The hate crimes against people of color sky-rocketed. Many of them were Americans too, but we didn’t mean to include THEM, did we. We only felt united together because we were against something else. We didn’t grow closer in love. We united together in hate.
In fact, to this day, I see people wave their American flags, and their blue lives matter flags, and remove abortion rights because they truly believe they are saving babies from hateful murderers… and I think they truly believe they are on the side of love.
Love of what?
White American Christian Men? Patriarchy? The right to not get vaccinated or wear a mask? No, it’s their love of freedom and their desire to protect their white American privilege. And they can’t REALLY do that unless they are against anything that threatens that. So, ask yourself, are they driven by love? Or hate?
I am not pretending there is an easy answer to this. If I knew what it was I would shout it from the mountain tops and use it to heal the world. Love helps, but it often shows up in disguise. It’s used against us so often now that we don’t even know what is real anymore. We are vulnerable, but we have the ability to become strong. I still believe that, and I will keep searching for the way to heal until I find it or die trying.
Final note: If you have not seen “Come From Away”, don’t wait. You can stream it now on Apple TV. It’s a beautiful way to honor and remember those who perished, all of those lives lost— people who left loved ones behind— and all those heroes.
Heroes who wore official badges, and many who did not.
Don’t deny yourself this beautiful story of what happened in one corner of the world on 9/11. We ALL have a story to tell about that day. For years, and even now, we tell others where we were when we first heard about it, where we watched the video of the planes, how we didn’t turn off our TVs for weeks, how it changed us… that day our perception of what we believed about our lives was shaken to its core.
The story about what happened to a small town of people in Newfoundland is worth hearing. Don’t deny yourself because you think it will be hard to watch, or because it will pull at your heart strings and make you cry. I promise, it will REPLENISH YOU.
When was the last time you saw an Avon brochure? If it has been quite awhile, you may surprised to learn that Avon has a lot of exciting new products as well as the tried and true classics and favorites. Rosemarie Kahn is a Gold Leader and top seller with Avon, where she has lead award winning teams for many years.
Rosemarie discusses the trends she sees in her industry, the challenges she has faced, and what she is most proud of with her role as a ‘parent-preneur’. Rosemarie also shares some wonderful advice for others who might want to start a business like hers.
What motivated you to start your business?
I had worked other direct selling/mlm companies prior to Avon. I always dreamed of being a successful business owner and I found it very appealing that many of the mlm companies’ start up costs were very reasonable. However, for some reason or another I never achieved the levels I wished for through the previous companies. After getting married and purchasing our first home, I would frequently find an Avon brochure on my door. I was not an Avon user at the time but loved cuddling up in my bed at night with a cup of tea and going through the many pages of products. I was really surprised at the affordability and decided to place some orders so that I could experience the products. Soon after I decided to join the company. I was not really looking for much except to get my products at a good discount and maybe sell to a few people here and there. After attending my first meeting and seeing the sales amounts of fellow representatives I decided to get serious about Avon. Not long after, I was introduced to the Leadership program and started building my own team. It took me approximately six years to build my business to a point where I could leave the 9-5 working world and make Avon my main source of income.
How did you get your first customer?
I passed around a couple brochures at my previous job and one of my coworkers was thrilled to find out I was selling. She was already an Avon customer that no longer had a current Avon Representative and she was excited to place an order with me.
What kind of background or expertise do you have in your field?
Since I had been involved with another work from home business dealing with cosmetics and skin care prior to Avon I did have some training in the field although I was very happy to find that Avon offered much free training and support to help me grow my business.
What trends do you see in your current industry?
Honestly, the last two years have been my most profitable ever. Regardless of the economy I find that customers still find the money to purchase such items as lipstick, perfume or a skin care product. We also offer many daily needs items such as shampoos, deoderants, etc. Customers who have been paying higher prices for beauty items are more likely to consider our affordable products when watching their budgets without risking the quality.
What are the most demanding aspects about your business?
We adopted our daughter from China when she was a year old. During her first year with us, this was the point when I truly understood the ‘juggling act’ as a parent and a home based business entrepreneur. As a mom I wanted to give all my time to her and yet I wanted my business to continue its normal flow. I soon realized that I would have to make some changes in order not to feel overwhelmed. There were some Avon responsibilities I could do while she watched “The Wiggles”, took a nap or played with her favorite toy but it still was not enough time for me to be on top of my business as I was before. I found a great local babysitter and a mother’s helper (she sat for my daughter at my house while I was home) and between the two they covered about 15 hours per week. This really helped me catch up on my phone calls, do deliveries and coach my team without being distracted. I also started having some customers pick up their orders instead of having to personally deliver them and I held team meetings at my home. Now that my daughter is older she loves playing Avon with me. She thinks it’s fun to help me stamp my brochures, unpack and bag products and even likes to say a few words at my trainings.
What are the most rewarding aspects about your business?
I love that my earnings are based completely on my efforts. I also love the flexibility. My business allows me to schedule my work according to my family’s needs and not the other way around. The relationship building is also great whether it is with my customers or my team members. I have met some of the most wonderful people through Avon, not just business partners but also true friends.
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a business like yours?
If you are interested in starting your own Avon business you first need to understand this is not a get rich quick business. You have to handle it just asa you would any other small business. The sign-up cost ranges from $10 to $20 depending whether you meet with someone in person or sign up online but you must invest time in building your customer base. The cost of our brochures are very reasonable (approximately 100 for under $20 – though you can order as few as 10) and you can distribute them to your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, etc. I did not start off as a high seller but consistency paid off. Recruiting is not a requirement but if you find that you enjoy selling the product and are looking to increase your earnings, it is another way to earn additional revenue. I think it is also very important to team up (be recruited by) someone in which you like and feel you will work well with.
What are you most proud of as a ‘parent-preneur’?
I am most proud that my daughter is able to see that her mom can be both a devoted, loving and responsible parent while still having a career. I am also happy to be a ble to share the financial responsibility of our home and family with my husband. It’s a very satisfying feeling to put in the effort and see rewards. I think my daughter, even at a young age, understands that it is important to work at something you enjoy and the rewards one gains by being responsible. Because my career consists of connecting and socializing with people, my daughter has grown into a very friendly, polite and cutely entertaining little girl.
What has been the most effective way for you to promote and market yourself?
Handing out my brochures very consistently, word of mouth and through referrals, advertising both print and online, setting up tables at fairs. Fund raising is also a fun way to help a worthy cause while meeting new customers. My most recent Avon fundraiser helped my daughter’s pre-school raise money during the holiday season.
Why is Avon special to you?
It helps me support my family but it is more than just a source of income. It is an opportunity that allows anyone to start their own business at a minimal cost to earn extra money based on their schedule and personal commitment. It has been a major source of income for me for many years. It is also a community of women and men with similar aspirations. I have made many beautiful friendships through this business.
How do you measure your success?
By the income I earn, but also by the luxury of building my business on my own schedule. I am very happy that I was able to work from home when my daughter was young.
Ever felt like throwing in the towel?
Actually, not really. Of course there have been times of frustration or concern that come with the waves of having a small business but those feelings have been very short lived. It’s those who learn to ride the waves that increase their chances of success. The time and effort I have put in my business continues to pay me through my residual earnings and that is very rewarding. Plus, I’m currently experiencing the benefits of working my business online through social media.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before you started?
I wish I would have had a better grasp on working my business online earlier. There is much to gain for those that know how to navigate in a social media world while also building a face-to-face business.
What is the best advice you have for someone who is just starting out?
Seek out other business owners that inspire you and when possible pick their brains. Listen to what they say and apply their advice, techniques and tips to your business. Their trials and tribulations helped lead them to success and can help you put into play things that work while avoiding things that may not.
What is the best advice you received?
When I first started, a fellow Avon Representative advised me to reinvest half of my earnings in my first year back into my business for marketing purposes (brochures, advertising, tables, customer incentives etc). It helped me grow my business quickly.
What does your ‘milk money’ provide for you and your family?
My milk money pays for our mortgage, my daughter’s school, groceries, clothing and my daily spending.
- Identify your Biggest Challenge and then make a list. Ask yourself what your biggest challenge is at the moment. Identify your top challenges by importance.
- Clarify what help you need and help not get off topic.
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By preparing ahead of time, you can ensure you receive as much guidance as you need.
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I never hesitate to write and laugh about embarrassing details of my life and experiences as a father, but I dreaded writing this one. I knew I would have to in order to fill out this Bad Dad trilogy which was my stupid idea anyway so I could have just changed the rules and said,” Y’know what? This is the first trilogy to have two parts only.”, but then this incident would haunt me like a Tell Tale Heart so I’m just hoping confession is indeed good for the soul.
It happened on a day a couple of months after the police made their early morning visit to my home, I finished my breakfast and got ready to go to work. My wife was asleep upstairs (she was still pregnant with our 2nd). My two year old son was watching “Little Einsteins” on the downstairs television. Now this was usually the drill. I finish my morning activities and get ready to go to work. I pick my son up off the couch (he’s always been an early riser) and carry him upstairs, turn on the bedroom TV, and put him in our bed with his mother where he will watch quietly until his mom wakes up. I have no idea why I didn’t do that this time. Maybe he was really wrapped up in the episode or something. Maybe I didn’t feel like dealing with the two year old tantrum I was going to incur just from turning off the TV and moving him from one room to the other. Doesn’t matter now. Anyway I told him very rationally like you would speak to any 30 year old adult. “Braden, when this show is finished, go upstairs and climb into bed with mommy. Okay?” “Okay, daddy.” No problem, right? The onus is on him. So don’t blame me. I didn’t walk him to our front door, unlock it and run him out of our house. No, no, he did that on his own.
Sigh…yup. See my oldest child is really smart. Even when he was two. He’s also very strong willed. He wanted to go outside. So he did. He walked right up to the door (It was locked, Judgey Judgersons!)…unlocked it and walked out. Now luckily we lived in a condo complex at the time so it wasn’t right on a busy street…but he did cross the street IN the housing complex and walked right into an open door of a neighbor’s house. Luckily the neighbor was a kindly old woman who gave him a juice box and, not knowing the neglectful parents in charge of the poor child, called the police. The police had no idea who this kid was and were getting ready to take him down to the station when Braden pointed toward our unit and led the police to our front door (stinkin’ rat). The cops walked in our open door just as my wife was coming downstairs looking for her toddler son. Luckily they weren’t the same cops from the incident a few months ago. My wife was completely horrified of course and explained that she was at a severe disadvantage because A) she was in her first trimester and therefore overly fatigued and B) She was married to a complete idiot. Anyway Braden was fine, nobody was arrested, and we met our new neighbor who actually did some babysitting for us later on. This time we asked her and took our son over to her place ourselves. See? Everything worked out.
I was fully expecting the call from Child Protective Services that came a few weeks after this particular incident. My wife heard the message on our voice mail and completely freaked out, but I just sighed knowing that it was inevitable and hoping they would find my son a good home. In fact when they called back the first thing I said was “What took you so long?” Well it turns out it was completely coincidental. Somebody gave our phone number as a possible witness to a child abuse incident at a local park and Child Services was following up. It turned out be a mistake. We didn’t witness anything, we didn’t recognize the name of either party. We’re not even sure how they got our number. It was just a big misunderstanding. However my wife “pleaded” our case by saying “Are you sure nobody called to report us because let me tell you about our summer” She pretty much sang like a canary (Apparently since I have the most Italian blood in my family, I’m the only one who knows when to keep his mouth shut!). The Child Services woman laughed at my wife and said, “Relax ma’am. No one has reported you and the fact that you’re this concerned means you’re a very caring and good mother. Your husband on the other hand…”
Look I’m not trying to make light of this. It was a very scary situation and I have never forgiven myself. The Universe was sending me a warning not to be so lax in my parenting. I put a chain on the front door that was almost too high for me to reach (which is not all that high anyway) and I’ve kept a much closer eye on both of my kids at all times…oh right except for that one time…and that other time…but this is only a trilogy so you don’t get to read those stories. I wrote the last three articles because while I’m a super involved presence in my sons’ lives, I screw up a lot too. I was always an insecure kid, teenager, and adult so it stands to reason that sometimes I’m gonna be an insecure father too. It’s kind of why I started this blog in the first place. I just hope I’m hiding it enough from my boys. Anyway the police have never had to return (knock wood) so I guess I’ve gotten a little better. I still have to work on my stamina when playing “monster” though.