(323) 863-3603 admin@ourmilkmoney.org
Meet Tangela Walker-Craft!

Meet Tangela Walker-Craft!

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.

Marketing to Moms

Marketing to Moms

The goal of any business is to make money.  To that end, many businesses should be focusing on a multi-billion dollar market: moms.  Marketing to moms is the wave of the future…and the wave of now!
Why are moms so important?
Moms are enterprising.  According to BSM Media, Inc., the amount of money spent by moms is already over the trillion dollar mark.  That’s more than the budget of some third world countries!
Also according to BSM Media, Inc., almost ninety percent of moms consider themselves the financial head of the home.  The husband may be the one in many cases that brings home most or all of the money, but moms are usually the ones that make the ‘how-to-spend-the-money’ decisions.  Moms shop for everything that is related to the household: clothes for the kids, appliances, electronics, outdoor furniture, accessories and home improvement items. 
The majority of husbands who shop for these items will consult their wives before buying them.  Why do they do this?  It is because the wives tend to do most of the research into the products to find the best one on the market for them.  Moms influence as much as eighty-five percent of the purchases for their homes.  That’s a huge number of moms!  Over seventy million!
Take a moment and think about all of the tasks that moms handle in a day.  The tasks can include housework, driving kids to and from school and activities, cooking meals and managing finances.  They need to keep all of these things straight…and to that they usually employ a wide variety of technology.   It is quite common these days to see a mom sitting at a park, watching her kids playing while browsing/working on an iPad, iPhone, or other such mobile device. 
Moms are typically quite savvy on the internet.  For many years, the trend has been for moms, and women about to become moms, to come out of the ‘9-5’ workplace and come home to start their own business so they can be home with their children.  To that end, moms have developed a network of blogs, websites and forums designed to teach moms everthing from designing websites, starting businesses online, marketing to other moms, all while managing their homes.   With all of this additional knowledge, moms’ buying power has increased exponentially.
Marketing Mistake?
Traditionally, the only products marketed towards women were household and cooking products.  This goes back to the old thought that a woman’s place was in the home.  Many companies are now seeing what a huge detriment that approach has been to them. 
Women and moms have made a huge imprint in what was traditionally a man’s world.  Women are not limited to office jobs.  They are CEOs and CFOs.  Women don’t just ‘surf the internet’, they are becoming entrepreneurs with increasing influence over internet marketing.  These days, having moms shun your product because you are not marketing to them means that they are spreading the word via the internet and in their own communities. 
The Future
Moms are influenced by other moms.  Several generations of moms are coming together to influence spending habits of major corporations.  In the future, you can expect this trend to continue.  As moms become more ‘connected’ in the world, their influence over spending will increase [as their circles of influce do]. 
Gain the support of savvy moms with your products/services and your business will reap the benefits. 
Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.