4 things you should know before you start a business with your best friend

How friends and founders of Wonderhood Toys did it. 

4 things you should know before you start a business with your best friend

Girls can be anything they dream. From engineers to scientists, any future is within reach. As mothers and fathers, we firmly believe this.

But surrounded by damsels in distress and toys that show women in traditional roles (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), moms, and besties, Andrea Wenner Hollander and Solange Schipani decided it was time to expand toy horizons.

Enter Wonderhood Toys. Motivated by statistics that girls feel they can’t or don’t pursue their interests in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), they created a line of toys that inspired girls’ creative and scientific sides.

We loved this photo and caption recently shared by @lauries_little_ones: Creativity, childhood & light. � These are things well-worth focusing on as we begin this new week. My sweet niece, Ella, is playing with The Grand Hotel by @wonderhoodtoys #build #create #light #dream


A post shared by Wonderhood Toys (@wonderhoodtoys) on

Since launching, they’ve been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, People Magazine, Huffington Post, and Good Housekeeping, as well as receiving numerous awards and accolades.

But it hasn’t always been roses.

Building a business with your bestie is full of ups and downs, and today the founders of Wonderhood Toys are sharing exactly how the experience differed from their expectations.

Hey, it’s Andrea and Solange here!

Here are four myths we busted about running a business with your bestie:

Myth 1: We would always agree

Fact: As it turns out, we don't always agree! There are a lot of decisions to be made when you're starting and running a business, some minor and some major, so it's inevitable that there are times when you and your partner are not aligned. Most important when those instances arise is that we're honest and respectful of each other's opinions, and work hard to be open-minded as we listen to each other's perspectives. So far, we've done that really successfully and have been able to work through any disagreements without a problem.

Myth 2: The combination of our two business degrees was enough

Fact: We thought that between the two of us, we'd have the range of skills needed to be successful. We both have business degrees, and we pursued really different paths post-graduation, so we thought that we each brought different skills and experiences to bear. In fact, we're missing a few! For example, we both use social media casually in our personal lives, but we quickly learned that it's a totally new world out there when it comes to using it as a tool to build your brand and communicate with customers. We're both a little older than the generation of millennials that grew up with social media so that's a big one where we've had to hire external people to help us.

Myth 3: Between the two of us, we could do it all

Fact: There's a lot about this industry that we don't know and we've really had to lean on some helpful mentors for guidance and advice. We've turned to a few industry veterans on a whole range of issues, from distribution channels, to logistics and inventory management, to PR and social media.

Some have helped us by actually rolling up their sleeves and working alongside us to get some things done, like shipping out almost 300 individual packages to our Kickstarter backers, and some have helped by answering our many questions and sharing their knowledge and experience.

We feel really lucky that we've been able to turn to a whole network of friends, family, and colleagues for guidance, and each time the people we've reached out to have been generous with their time and advice.

Myth 4: Our vision for the company was the same

Fact: When we started out, we both had a very similar vision for where we wanted to see Wonderhood go and what our strategy would be to achieve those goals.

We've heard some horror stories from other co-founders about how their visions really diverged as their companies evolved or their personal lives changed. We tried to learn from those stories and had some very direct conversations up front, and even more importantly, we continue to check in with each other about the big picture on a regular basis.

We're happy to say that our expectation has in fact been reality in this case. We remain very much aligned on what we would like Wonderhood to become—an internationally recognized brand that makes high-quality, multi-dimensional, creative building toys for girls—and how we think we can get there. That unified vision has been incredibly beneficial as we've gone forward in building this company and as we think ahead to what's next.

Want more? Here are more Motherly insights from Andrea and Solange.

How do you make your mornings run smoothly?

Solange: It's all about routine for me. Everyone in my family knows what's going to happen when we get out of bed. Clothes are already picked out for the kids, my husband and I know what each of has to do to get everyone out the door on time, the girls know what they need to do, and then we all just go to it.

The lifehack or tip that has changed my life. . .

Solange: Lists! I make a list each night for everything I need to get done the next day, whether it's for my family, our business, or me personally.

What superpower have you discovered as a mom?

Andrea: Patience. I've always been a pretty patient person, but having kids has taken that to a whole new level!

This quote inspires me. . .

Andrea: “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.” —Alice Walker

To me Motherly means…

Both: Unconditional love. No judgements, lots of understanding, and just lots of love no matter what happens.

Haley Campbell is the founder of Beluga Baby and creator of the ultimate bamboo baby carrier. She is a regular contributor to Motherly and is an avid advocate for entrepreneurs, and for the new generation of mothers making the world their own.

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Tenth & Pine: Gender-neutral and butter-soft basics for littles + bigs

In 2016, after a stage four endometriosis diagnosis and a 10 year battle with infertility, Tenth & Pine founder Kerynn got her miracle baby, Ezra Jade. As a SAHM with a Masters in Business, she wanted to create a brand that focused on premium quality, function, comfort, and simplicity.

She sought out premium, all natural fabrics and factories that shared her core values, practicing environmentally friendly manufacturing methods with fair and safe working conditions for employees. As a result, her made in the USA, gender-neutral designs check all the boxes. The sustainable, organic basics are perfect for everyday wear, family photos and any adventure in between.

Lucy Lue Organics: Sustainably and ethically-produced modern baby clothes

This family-owned and operated business was started by a mama who wanted out of corporate America after the birth of her son. Thoughtfully designed to mix-and-match, Lucy Lue's sustainably and ethically produced collection of modern organic baby clothes only uses fabrics that are "environmentally friendly from seed to seam." Their gorgeous, earthy tones and comfy, minimalist styles make the perfect addition to first wardrobes from birth through the first years.

Sontakey: Simple bracelets that speak your mind

Sontakey has been such a hit in the Motherly Shop that we knew it was time to expand the line. And since these beautiful mantra bands look so stunning stacked, more options = more fun.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less

Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners
Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.


"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

Keep reading Show less