Prototyping your success: The Glitter & Spice story

“I didn’t invent teething necklaces. . .But I knew that other moms would want [to wear] something stylish.”

Prototyping your success: The Glitter & Spice story

What does it take to go from business idea to lady boss?


This new column features an entrepreneur, who happens to be a mom, each week—walking us through the process of how you too can take your ideas from dream to reality.

If you missed the article featuring Rachel from Rags to Raches, a crazy-popular kids clothing company, on how she got her big idea, you can read it here. This week, we're discussing the second step every entrepreneur needs to make on her journey: Testing and prototyping.

Testing and prototyping a new product can be a grueling process.

Yet designing a product that people love—and more than that, a product that people buy—is one of the most important parts of creating your business.

One entrepreneur who owes her success to prototypes and testing the market is Lorene Mah, founder of Glitter and Spice—a baby accessories company that makes stylish teethers for both mom and baby to wear. A stay-at-home mom turned entrepreneur extraordinaire, her products have been featured in Vogue, Glamour and Harpers Bazaar. She's also attended the Academy Awards and the Emmys, gifting her products to celebrities, and been awarded 2016's Award for Best Small Business in British Columbia.

Her prototyping process is one that any new business owner can learn from—testing demand in small batches through social media posts and then measuring the interest against real product sales.

And it all began when Lorene's youngest child started teething at just two months old.

After growing frustrated with the lackluster options available, and on the hunt for stylish teething jewelry, Lorene decided to make her own—by starting small, at home, with 100% food grade silicone that she initially handcrafted herself.

Her instinct—to combine an elegant aesthetic that appeals to moms with a much-needed product to help baby, turned out to be the key to her success. But it's her openness to trends, iterations and feedback that has helped grow the business.

Lorene's commitment to early prototyping and testing paid off: in the span of a single year, she's grown her monthly sales to over $25,000 per month with minimal spend on marketing and advertising. In fact, within one month of business in 2016, Glitter and Spice exceeded the entire previous year's worth of sales. “Word of mouth is so important in the baby industry. Moms really talk to one another so if you get your product right, you won't have to spend much on advertising."

I sat down with Lorene recently to chat find out what she can share with her fellow lady bosses and aspiring lady bosses. With a huge generosity of spirit she dispelled some profound insights about the importance of testing and prototyping, what life as a lady boss looks like and how motherhood shapes the way she does business.

What did the first iteration of your product look like?

They were very simple teething necklaces. I had two styles, one used geometric silicone beads and one used round beads in a gradient pattern. They were very simple and classic; I wanted to focus on the colors. It was a monochrome and more modern than other teething products, and then we started adding wood to it.

How did the production process go at first?

I'm a stay at home mom, so I started working at night after the kids went to bed. It started out as a couple of hours doing it in my bedroom. There's this little ledge where the window is and I literally had my beads and string set up there by the window. I literally stood there, made necklaces and watched TV. It was very casual—nothing serious.

We definitely started small!

Join Motherly

What were some challenges you had in creating the initial set up for production?

After a while I realized, okay, I can't stand for hours on end. Little by little it started taking up more spaces of our house. It just kept growing and growing!

Would you say to start a business that you need to embark with a lot of overhead like an office or a storage facility?

Honestly I never invested more than $100 into the business, and that was for the initial supplies.

I said to myself, “If I don't sell anything at all I still need to be happy."

Turns out it took off! Other moms were looking for teething jewelry that didn't force them to abandon fashion. I reinvested what I'd earned back into the business as opposed to using it like a salary and I was able to place larger and larger orders for our materials.

Everything grew organically, even our logo! I held a contest on Instagram for a free necklace, and what came of it is the logo we have today. Making it work is about being resourceful and asking people for help. I'm thankful that we have so many generous and talented people and that I didn't have to spend very much to get things going.

If you can, I would recommend growing organically. It's not necessarily always possible though, I understand that. Depending on your business sometimes you do need to invest to get everything set up.

What did you focus on in terms of differentiation?

For me, the way I see it is that everyone has a different style. So my goal was to be able to have as many styles and colors as possible, and even to have the option to customize ,so anyone looking for teething jewelry could find exactly what they were looking for. I wanted to have a large breadth of products to meet as many customers' needs as possible.

Testing new product categories became very important for us.

What really put us on the map is when we started offering the teething necklaces that toddlers and children could wear. When we started testing those we were quickly approached by Harper's Bazaar. They wanted to feature our children's teething jewelry in their magazine because it was different, it was something new.

Look for that when you're considering how to design your product. Stay unique, stay creative.

You always have to be innovative – always keeping on your toes.

Have you tested a product that has failed?

Absolutely! We had a teether that held three different teething toys. It was funny, it had a great response on social media but the sales weren't there to back up the hype. So it ended up being one of those things that just died out. It was one of the harder products to make as well, so the lack of sales coupled with the difficulty of manufacturing made it an easy one to mark in the “failed" folder.

When you're testing new products you really need to be attention to whether or not its generating revenue.

Creatively, what were you inspired by next and what came of it?

We are constantly looking for new inspiration. We strive to be original and have something that's exclusively ours.

When we added in wood to our teething necklaces it was because we wanted something a bit different. And the response to that was really great. So we are riffing off of that success and creating custom wooden teethers—not necklaces—in a few custom created shapes.

When you find something that works, design-wise, it can be a good idea to test out other iterations of a similar product. It's a great way to get existing customers to come back too.

Did you do any consumer testing or focus groups?

Yes—I highly recommend running small focus groups—even if it's just a group of your friends. I'm the type of person that I always need someone with me when I'm shopping because I just can't decide—I want everything!

Fast-forwarding to now, what new styles or products are you working on and how is the prototyping process going?

I mentioned we were prototyping our new wooden teethers, and testing out a new manufacturer at the same time, which is always hard. There's a lot of back and forth trying to convey the vision you have in your head. To transform that idea into a final product, a perfect product, there's just so much work that goes into that.

For example, the first prototypes I got back of the wooden teethers were two times too large! We ended up finding a new manufacturer because there were just too many things that they let slip through the cracks. When you're choosing a production facility, attention to detail is so important. And always trust your gut. If you don't think your current manufacturer is a good fit, spend the time to find someone who is. Your brand will benefit hugely in the long run.


Don't rush through this process. People have the tendency to rush because they want to get the product out there. But that's your reputation on the line. Do you really want to send out something that's not perfect? A lot of people make that mistake.

How important would you say confidence is in creating a product line and starting your own business?

You have to believe in what you do. And how you view your company makes all the difference. Perception is reality. If you are confident about what you do, people pick up on that.

I always dream as big as I can, and so far it's all happening according to how I envisioned it.

How does being a mother affect the way you run your business?

It does in a big way. Everything in my life revolves around my kids. Everything I do is because of them. So it's hard to imagine what it would have been like without them to do this. I mean, I probably wouldn't even have done it at all.

The whole reason I started Glitter and Spice was because of my son, my second child. My first baby, Emma, was super good teething-wise. But when my son was born, he started teething at two months old. I went on a hunt to see what I could find for him and to my surprise there wasn't a lot out there. Noah also had problems focusing while nursing—he would be all over the place. So I wondered if I could create something that would address both problems.

A necklace could function as entertainment as well as something that soothed his gums.

I mean, I didn't invent teething necklaces by any means.

But I knew that other moms would want something they could wear that was stylish.

And now, many of our customers don't even have kids and they still buy and wear our necklaces. That's the biggest compliment to me.

I work a lot harder than I would without my kids. There's more on the line.

Part of it is chasing balance. It makes you work harder. It pushes me to do more so I can get more. More time with the kids, more success with the company, more everything.

And I want to make something that my kids are proud of, something that they can take over one day.

Is there any one piece of advice you'd give to aspiring lady bosses?

Human nature is about perception. If you've got 50,000 followers on Instagram versus a brand with 3,000, people automatically think, “that must be the original" or “that must be the highest quality brand." So that's the mindset that I approach everything with. Whenever we were featured in a large media publication I would use that notoriety across all our communication channels.

Look at the big picture. It's not about instant results. Think big, dream big, and you'll get there.

Join Motherly

In This Article

    How one company is making a huge difference for LGBTQ youth

    Take notes, all you other brands, this is how it's done

    Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

    This article is sponsored by H&M. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    We spoke to Chris Bright (he/she/they), Director of Public Training at The Trevor Project, who works closely with H&M. Chris shared with us the Trevor Project's important mission, and what all brands should do to best support LGBTQ youth today.

    1. For those that do not know, what is The Trevor Project's mission? What is it all about and its impact on society?

    The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, and LGBTQ youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight or cis peers. Our mission is to end suicide among the estimated 1.8 million LGBTQ youth under the age of 25 in the U.S. who seriously consider suicide each year.

    Founded in 1998, The Trevor Project launched TrevorLifeline, the first 24/7 national lifeline supporting LGBTQ youth in crisis alongside HBO's broadcast of the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor. The first calls were answered that night. Since then, we have grown from reaching several thousand LGBTQ youth per year to becoming the preeminent resource for LGBTQ young people in crisis, directly serving over 200K LGBTQ young people in the last fiscal year alone. We work tirelessly to save young lives by providing support through our free and confidential crisis programs on platforms where young people spend their time — online and on the phone. In addition to TrevorLifeline, we offer 24/7 digital crisis services including TrevorText and TrevorChat, as well as TrevorSpace, the world's largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth.


    H&M + The Trevor Project

    2. Can you describe the nature of the relationship/partnership the Trevor Project has with H&M?

    Our collaboration with H&M has been remarkably successful, with H&M driving awareness of The Trevor Project and our services among its audience while also demonstrating its strong support of LGBTQ young people. H&M first partnered with us in December 2020 during our "Every Single One" holiday campaign, where they donated $250K in matching funds for Giving Tuesday. This helped The Trevor Project have our best-ever Giving Tuesday moment.

    Our work together has had extensive impact, allowing H&M to engage employees, customers, and community members in conversations about LGBTQ Allyship through Trevor's resources and mission. We're thankful for H&M's support, which helps us continue to operate and improve our 24/7 life-saving crisis services so we can serve more LGBTQ young people.

    3. Why was H&M the right company to partner with?

    H&M is an established yet relevant brand that has the attention of young people, and we're always so thankful to partner with youth-facing brands that can not only spread messages of love and support, but also can increase the awareness of our crisis services and resources. We know that H&M genuinely cares about creating a better future for LGBTQ young people.

    4. What do you see as the biggest challenge or struggle for LGBTQ kids today?

    LGBTQ youth are incredibly diverse, with so many intersecting identities and unique experiences — making it difficult for me to pinpoint what might be the single biggest challenge or struggle for all LGBTQ youth today.

    What I can say, however, is our research reveals numerous challenges or struggles that may be more prevalent across the board for LGBTQ youth. According to our 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, which captures the experiences of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth ages 13 to 24 across the U.S., nearly 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. Over 94% of LGBTQ youth reported that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health and more than 80% of LGBTQ youth stated that COVID-19 made their living situation more stressful.

    What's clear is that while there is no single biggest challenge or struggle for our LGBTQ youth today, it's critical that we find ways to uplift and support each and every LGBTQ young person that we can.

    5. Since it's back to school time, are there stressors or situations that are uniquely heightened for LGBTQ youth, other than the standard new school year jitters, that people don't necessarily know about?

    Our research has found that LGBTQ youth who reported having at least one LGBTQ-affirming space had 35% reduced odds of attempting suicide in the past year, with LGBTQ-affirming school environments having the strongest association with reduced suicide attempts. Since the onset of COVID-19, the volume of youth reaching out to us has significantly increased, at times nearly double our pre-COVID volume. Feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anxiety have been heightened as a result of the pandemic, further emphasizing the need for LGBTQ youth to have access to spaces that affirm their identities, such as gender-neutral bathrooms, trans-inclusive sports, and positive extracurricular activities such as Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs).

    LGBTQ youth who reported having at least one accepting adult — whether it be teachers, coaches, or counselors — were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year. The Trevor Project created the Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention, which includes requirements for teacher training, mental health instruction for students, and policies and procedures for suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. Now, more than ever, it is crucial that as in-person learning returns, schools provide LGBTQ students with safe learning environments where they can feel empowered, supported, and accepted by their peers and educators.

    H&M + the Trevor Project

    6. In what way is the support that The Trevor Project provides crucial to LGBTQ youth, especially as it pertains to suicide prevention?

    The support that The Trevor Project provides is so crucial because suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people — and LGBTQ youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight or cis peers. LGBTQ youth reach out to Trevor because we are LGBTQ-affirming and a trusted provider of crisis services. All of our volunteers are highly-trained to answer calls, chats, and text from LGBTQ youth 24/7 when they are feeling suicidal or need a safe, non-judgmental place to talk.

    Almost three-quarters of youth stated that they either would not or were unsure if they would have another service if The Trevor Project did not exist. We aim to be there for every young LGBTQ person in crisis with a clear message: you are loved, your life has value, and you are never alone.

    7. What do you think the responsibility is for brands to be involved in pro-social, activism-related work?

    Everyone can play a role in creating change and building progress in our society. Brands — especially those with large platforms and influence — have a responsibility to fulfill that role as well. We recognize H&M and our other brand partners for helping spur progress on important issues, and we encourage others to follow suit. Beyond the essential financial support that brands can provide to nonprofits like The Trevor Project, there's also a direct benefit for the community when brands are loud about their support of Pride; we've found that more than half of youth said brands who support the LGBTQ community positively impact how they feel about being LGBTQ. Finally, it's important to remember that Pride doesn't begin and end in June — the opportunity to support Pride is 365 days a year. We are thrilled to have H&M as a year-round partner for The Trevor Project, demonstrating their authentic support for our work.

    8. What is one of the biggest impacts or positive results you have seen come from the partnership between The Trevor Project and H&M?

    We wouldn't be able to do the work we do and make the progress we've made without our brand partners like H&M. The Trevor Project has experienced significant growth in the last few years with the implementation of our five key program areas: crisis services, peer support, research, education and public awareness, and advocacy. Since 2019, we've been working to scale our volunteer training to increase the number of crisis services counselors on a yearly basis. In addition to original, intersectional monthly research briefs, our research team launched the world's largest survey of LGBTQ youth mental health in 2019, and has released a total of three national, annual reports. We've ramped up Trevor's advocacy work on the local, state, and federal levels to protect the rights of LGBTQ people, including bills to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy that have been in introduced in 40 states. H&M's partnership helps us advance this work by raising significant funds and awareness for our mission. During June 2021, when H&M served as one of our key Pride Partners, our crisis counselors served over 19,500 crisis contacts with free, confidential support via phone, chat, and text.

    9. How important is it for LGBTQ+ youth to see allies in popular culture, be it a celebrity or high profile person, mainstream brand, etc.?

    LGBTQ representation in the mainstream media is extremely important as it makes LGBTQ youth feel seen, validated, and confident that they are not alone. Over 80% of youth said that celebrities who are LGBTQ positively influence how they feel about being LGBTQ, and more than half of youth said brands who support the LGBTQ community have a positive impact on their LGBTQ identity. As we continue to see increased visibility for marginalized communities in popular culture, diverse images will become normalized, which in turn creates a safer, more accepting world for all of us.

    10. For people who want to get involved with a cause like The Trevor Project, what is the best way to make a difference?

    There are a number of ways to get involved with The Trevor Project – from making a donation (TheTrevorProject.org/Donate) to applying to be a volunteer (TheTrevorProject.org/Volunteer) to spreading the word about our resources.

    Affirming spaces and support systems work to save young LGBTQ lives. People can be active in their communities to ensure that more safe, affirming spaces are available and thriving. Even making an effort to respect someone's pronouns and encouraging those around you to do the same can make a huge difference. Our research has also found that LGBTQ youth who report having at least one accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt. If you get the opportunity, be that one person for a young person in your life.

    If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project's trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.

    Our Partners

    This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

    One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

    I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.


    Honestly, it's no wonder. Originally designed as a better blanket for luxury hotels and engineered with textile experts to create this uniquely soft fabric, it has made my bed into the vacation I so desperately want these days.

    The comforter is made up of two layers. On one side is their signature knit "snug" fabric which out-cozies even my most beloved (bought on sale) cashmere sweater. The other, a soft quilted microfiber. Together, it creates a weighty blanket that's as soothing to be under as it is to flop face-first into at the end of an exhausting day. Or at lunch. No judgement.

    Miraculously, given the weight and construction, it stays totally breathable and hasn't left me feeling overheated even on these warm summer nights with just a fan in the window.

    Beyond being the absolute most comfortable comforter I've found, it's also answered my minimalist bed making desires. Whether you opt to use it knit or quilted side up, it cleanly pulls the room together and doesn't wrinkle or look unkempt even if you steal a quick nap on top of it.

    Also worth noting, while all that sounds super luxe and totally indulgent, the best part is, it's equally durable. It's made to be easily machine washed and come out the other side as radically soft as ever, forever, which totally helps take the sting out of the price tag.

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    Here is my top pick from Sunday Citizen, along with the super-soft goods I'm coveting for future purchases.

    Woodland Snug comforter

    Sunday-Citizen-Woodland-Snug-comforter

    The bedroom anchor I've been looking for— the Snug Comforter.

    $249

    Braided Pom Pom Throw

    Because this degree of coziness needs portability, I'm totally putting the throw version on my list. It's washable, which is a must-have given my shedding dog and two spill-prone kiddos who are bound to fight over it during family movie night.

    $145

    Lumbar pillow

    sunday-citizen-lumbar-pillow

    What's a cozy bed without a pile of pillows?

    $65

    Crystal infused sleep mask

    sunday citizen sleep mask

    Promoting sleep by creating total darkness and relaxation, I've bookmarked as my go-to gift for fellow mamas.

    $40

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

    Shop

    Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

    The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

    Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

    We know new parents are busy (hello, understatement of the year). Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments, healing from birth and the general adjustment to #newparentlife, the days can fill up quickly. But a lot of people are caught off guard by how busy pregnancy can be, too! That first trimester is so often full of symptoms—like nausea and fatigue—that can make previously easy or simple tasks exhausting. The second trimester begins and (usually) we start to feel better. But then our days get filled with planning out baby registries and deciding on questions like, "Where will this tiny new human sleep?" And before you know it, it's the third trimester—and, well, then you're in the home stretch. Plus there are so many appointments!

    All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

    And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.


    Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

    Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

    Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.

    Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

    When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you'll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you'll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)

    Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

    Pregnancy is wonderful—but it's a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.

    You've got this.

    Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

    The Motherly Birth Class

    pregnant-woman-looking-at-her-belly

    Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.

    $79

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

    Shop

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


    Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)

    $139

    Secret Agent play set

    Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

    This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

    Stepping Stones

    Stepping-stones

    Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

    $99.99

    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

    $30

    Sensory play set

    kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

    Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $19.95

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Foam pogo stick

    Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

    Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

    $16.99

    Dumptruck 

    green-toys-dump-truck

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

    $22

    Hopper ball

    Hopper ball

    Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

    $14.99

    Pull-along ducks

    janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $16.99

    Rocking chair seesaw

    Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

    This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

    $79.99

    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $79.99

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $24.75

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

    Shop

    12 fall maternity sweaters for every stage of pregnancy (and beyond!)

    From turtlenecks to convertible cardigans, we've got the goods.

    If I'm being honest, the thing I look forward to the most about winter is sweater weather. After all, sweaters are like the adult equivalent of a beloved blankey, right? They're soft and cozy and when you slip into your favorite, it feels like maybe everything is going to be ok after all.

    But if you're dressing a bump, transitioning your wardrobe can be overwhelming. Your tried-and-trues are likely going to have to stay packed away and investing in new favorites when the need is only temporary can get expensive. Luckily, sweaters are some of the most forgiving pieces, lasting long after pregnancy in some cases.

    We've rounded up some of our favorite fall maternity sweaters for every stage of pregnancy and beyond.


    Isabella Oliver Abi Greencash Maternity Jumper

    Isabella Oliver Abi Greencash Maternity Jumper

    Made from a blend of recycled wool, recycled cashmere, recycled polyamide and Tencel, this side button sweater is sustainable fashion at its finest. The fully-functional buttons make it a great piece for nursing as well.

    $119

    Seraphine Nautical Cotton Maternity and Nursing Sweater

    Seraphine Nautical Cotton Maternity and Nursing Sweater

    Classic nautical stripes and breathable cotton make this timeless sweater a year-round staple.

    $75

    Motherhood Maternity Chevron Stripe Maternity Sweater

    Motherhood Maternity Chevron Stripe Maternity Sweater

    For a different take on stripes, we're crushing on this just-colorful-enough chevron number.

    $50

    PinkBlush Camel Boatneck Bubble Sleeve Maternity Sweater

    Pink Blush Camel Boatneck Bubble Sleeve Maternity Sweater

    Who says your bump needs all the attention? From fall photos to date night, this simple stunner lets your decolletage take center stage.

    $49

    PinkBlush Mock Neck Exposed Seam Maternity Sweater

    PinkBlush Mockneck Exposed Seam Maternity Sweater

    With the drop shoulder, side slit and exposed seams this relaxed sweater will be your go-to all season long.

    $51

    Seraphine Textured Knit Cape Maternity Sweater 

    Seraphine Textured Knit Cape Maternity Sweater

    Every mama needs a cozy turtleneck in her closet. This roll neck style with its curved hemline and ribbed knit detailing keeps the chill out while looking chic.

    $89

    Tupelo Honey Carolyn Cropped Pullover

    Tupelo Honey Carolyn Cropped Pullover

    Show off that adorable bump with this 80's-esque cropped piece. We love it with a tank and leggings, but it's perfect with jeans too.

    $69

    Hatch The Riley Sweater

    hatch-the-riley-sweater

    If you've got room to splurge, Hatch makes some of the most versatile and quality maternity clothes out there. The Riley sweater is no exception. With its seriously sophisticated camel hue and snuggly merino wool knit it will last well beyond the bump days.

    $298

    Ingrid + Isabel Rip Jade Crop Nursing Sweater

    Ingrid + Isabel Rip Jade Crop Nursing Sweater

    Designed for the early stages of pregnancy and nursing, Ingrid + Isabel's Rip Jade Crop features zippers on the side for easy access and a sweet dusty rose hue we love.

    $94

    Bump Biddy Isabel Turtleneck Knit Poncho

    Bump Biddy Isabel Turtleneck Knit Poncho

    Fuzzy and fabulous, this poncho style sweater is sure to get you all the compliments.

    $72

    Seraphine Grey Cotton & Cashmere Waterfall Maternity Cardigan

    Grey Cotton & Cashmere Waterfall Maternity Cardigan

    If you ever wished you could wrap yourself up in a blanket but still look tres chic, this one's for you. Wear it buttoned for a more polished cowl neck look or hanging loose, cardigan style.

    $109

    H & M Mama Fine Knit Vest

    h-ana-m-mama-fine-knit-vest

    This wrap-style cap-sleeve knit is chic enough for going out but cozy enough for staying in.

    $34.99


    Shop

    Manager's viral post about flexible working hours is making moms feel seen

    Because life happens whether you're on the clock or not.

    LinkedIn

    If there's one thing we've all learned during these past 18 months, it's that we're capable of being a lot more flexible than we probably ever thought we could be. Because, well, we've had to be. Primarily when it comes to work.

    We've all learned the importance of being a little more understanding, and one manager is hitting the nail on the head about being flexible at work in a LinkedIn post that has gone viral. And it's resonating with working moms, big time.


    Raise your hand if you're a woman and you've found yourself apologizing to your colleagues and supervisors about having to duck out of work or call off because your kids are sick. How about going into immense detail to "justify" why you need to take time off for your family? Yep, I see you've all got your hands raised!

    Though employees, women in particular, have basically been conditioned to do these things, this LinkedIn post basically gives us the validation that it's OK to not be a machine—because life happens.

    Megan Witherspoon, the Vice President of Communications at Altria, wrote about flexible working hours from a manager's perspective and it quickly went viral. Why? Well, it's a must-read. So go ahead and dive in.

    "I DO care that your daughter is home with yet another ear infection," she writes. "I DO NOT care that you'll be offline for 2 hours this afternoon for her doctor's appointment."

    Since we're all in for an anxiety-ridden school year when it comes to sicknesses—even the common cold ignites panic in most of us now—this line is especially validating to read.

    "I DO care that a bus driver shortage means you don't have reliable transportation for your son," she continues. "I DO NOT care if you need to get back to me in an hour after picking him up from school."

    Witherspoon also talks about the importance of taking vacation time and prioritizing your mental health, because a healthy employee is a happy employee. And happy employees stick around—because they want to.

    She concludes her post by reinforcing the idea that, as a boss, she cares about the things that are happening in the lives of her employees. And that as long as your work is done and done well, it shouldn't matter how or when you do it. Especially now, amid an ongoing pandemic that impacts our lives in ways both big and small every single day.

    Life happens. Flexibility is a valuable currency—at home and at work.

    News + Trending