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Step 1: Ding ding—I have an idea!

Featuring Rachel Nilsson—founder of the incredibly trendy Rags to Raches, a baby clothing company, which was recently featured on Shark Tank.


We all have them. Ideas. Little nagging feelings that maybe, just maybe, we could be on to something.

But how do you know if your business idea is “the one”? How do you know if it’s a boom or a bust?

There’s intuition, there’s know-how, and then there’s sheer pig-headed determination. For an idea to work, you need all three. It’s not a magic formula by any means, but it’s an excellent place to start.

No one knows more about those three things than Rachel. Her brand, which was already blowing up in popularity before Shark Tank, has reached incredible levels of success thanks to their feature and subsequent deal with Robert Herjavec. Her big idea? That moms and dads want stylish baby clothes that are easy to put on and off (see: no snaps). She had an idea, and the feedback was tremendous.

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Rachel’s business has been named one of the fastest-growing in Utah (where she lives) and her brand was deemed by The Huffington Post to be one of the “top 15 coolest kid brands in America.

And we so agree.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down (via Skype) with Rachel to find out how she got her million dollar idea.

Looking more like an MTV rock star than baby brand CEO, Rachel has lilac hair and wicked smoked-out eyes. But who looks like the stereotypical CEO these days anyways? Being a successful lady boss is all about being true to yourself, rocking your confidence and owning your awesomeness. (Truth be told, she’s got that rock star quality, sure, but in speaking with her there’s not an ounce of arrogance or an air of superiority.)

The entrepreneur is more than happy to share how she first had the idea for Rags, and what has made it soar.

***


How did you get the idea for Rags to Raches?

It started originally by selling my kids hand me down clothes online, and that’s where the name came from. But as far as the romper, which I feel is our main focus now, that came about after I had a baby.

I found my husbands t-shirt and I thought, “I’m going to cut into this ‘cause the fabric is so soft,” and I tried making a romper with no snaps. My husband would always put the baby in an outfit with snaps and then just never do them up. So I decided to try to make something with a really stretchy neck that you can just pull on and off, and still have it look cool and stylish. That’s how the romper was born.

Then, I posted it on Instagram where I’d been selling my kid’s clothes, and the reaction was so crazy that I realized I was on to something.

Other moms were in the same boat in terms of being over the snaps.

What motivated you to pursue this idea?

We were literally broke. It’s a great motivator.

I wanted to make us a little extra money while my husband was studying for the bar all summer.

And then, before I started baby clothing, I worked in adult clothing, right after I graduated high school. I created clothes for a retail shop in Utah that had five locations. I was hand sewing those for almost a year, and it became so crazy busy. I got so burnt out and I just ended up walking away from it.

When that happened I realized that the reason people loved what I was making was the fit. They liked the way it fit, and it was really unique. I remember when I walked away I learned that the next time I come on to an idea like that, I need to take action quick. I learned I’m best NOT sewing and being stuck all day behind my sewing machine.

So when Rags happened, I knew I needed to manufacture to be able to scale up from the start. It’s so worth it, even in the beginning when you find it’s not necessary completely. That saved my butt.

Did you have moments of doubt?

Of course! Everybody’s a hater! There’s so much doubt.

When you’re running your own business and when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re constantly on the edge of a cliff. You have to decide, “Do I want to jump off this cliff and make my life a little bit busier and a little bit more stressful and take this huge risk? ‘Cause this could fail tomorrow.”

All the money you’re putting into it, and the time. I mean, I have a family. And I’m constantly doubting whether I should take this to the next level. At this point, I always jump. Because, why not? So far it’s worked out.

I’ve had someone tell me, at the beginning when I was still working out of my garage, that I wasn’t legit because I wasn’t working out of a warehouse. She actually said, “Why are you so deceiving, you’re not a real company! You’re not legit because you’re still doing it out of your house.” It caught me off guard because it was so blatant. And at that point we were still doing really well. We’d been approached by Vogue and we’ve had all these major publications come to us.

I don’t blame the haters.

I’m the kind of person that their doubt fuels me.

I need to prove to myself and to everybody else that I can do this.

I can’t believe that she said that. It’s how everybody starts! It’s all a façade at the beginning!

I know! I mean, Apple computers started out of their garage. The coolest part about being a business owner is that you realize 90% of people, maybe 100% actually, have no idea what they’re doing!

Everybody’s just doing their best and hopefully it’s panning out and working. And for some people it’s working out better than others. But if you can realize that right off the bat, early on, it’s so much less intimidating. Most everyone else started out not knowing anything.

And when you’re pitching big companies you can walk in and realize that they were all just like you!

I feel like that’s why Shark Tank was really unintimidating. Somehow I had it in my brain that these guys all started somewhere, and that they can at least appreciate hard work. And they commented on that at the end. They asked how I was so laid back. I just imagined them as normal people; they started somewhere just like I did!

Did your experience of being a mother contribute to your drive to make Rags work?

I think the multi-tasking aspect of being a mom is a benefit for any woman that goes into business. Being a mom you’re always cleaning the counter, while on the phone, while you’re feeding your baby with your foot. It’s constant! It’s like that all day long.

And business is the same. You learn how to prioritize and multi-task. I actually think that’s one thing that women have an upper hand in over men. And a lot of that is because you were trained to do that as a mom.

How important is confidence in starting your own company – whatever industry you may be in?

Having confidence is crazy important, but also really hard to have. I look at anybody that says, “I want to start a business” and I always tell them now is the time.

It’s never been this accessible. It’s so easy. I mean, it’s not easy, but it’s so much more accessible than when I was 19 and sewing shirts and banking on someone to walk into a brick and mortar store and choose my shirt out of all the other brands.

But it’s hard to put yourself out there.

When I first started I was on Instagram and all my friends and family followed Rags. I would tell my husband, who was in law school at the time, that it’s so scary because if I fail, everybody sees that. You have to be so sure of yourself. If he failed the bar, nobody sees that. But for me, I felt like I needed to have so much confidence because I was literally putting myself out there for the whole world to see.

Keep your head down and always stay focused. There’s so much that you can get wrapped up with. We are constantly getting emails of people copying us. If you spend your time and energy on stuff like that, rather than focusing on the brand and what’s next, you just really plummet. That’s a huge lesson I’ve learned.

At the time you had the idea, did you ever imagine it was going to be as big as it has gotten?

No, never. I felt like it was 100% a dream. It’s so surreal. It hasn’t gotten old, still. I can’t believe it.

How has life changed since Shark Tank, other than the obvious? I mean, selling out in two minutes? That has to be surreal.

We’ve had a lot more exposure. Somehow I feel like I’m still in the Shark Tank tornado. I mean, I get recognized out in public—it’s on steroids. It’s awesome; it’s fun!

The growth of the company has been really exciting. It’s a confidence boost for me, and for the brand. Now I can approach bigger vendors and have bigger opportunities. Shark Tank is such a huge deal—it holds so much clout.

How has it changed your personal life?

Getting ready for filming Shark Tank—I was so stressed out. I don’t think people understand how crazy that is and how much time and energy goes into the show.

I told my husband I always want to keep perspective on quality of life.

It’s always my priority. So throughout this whole crazy time I’ve tried to keep a relaxed sense about everything. Because getting so wrapped up and stressed out about it does me no good.

And I value the life that I have. If I can keep my priorities straight and keep my kids and my family first, then everything else will fall into place.

I’ve also hired the coolest team. I could never do what I do without the people who work with me. We don’t have a ton, but what we do have is crazy quality people. That has been a huge game changer. I feel like if I didn’t come to work for a month that these guys could keep things going and running. I feel like that’s invaluable.

Remember what your priorities are, and remember what makes you the very most happy. What makes me the happiest is my family, and then my time. My quality of life is so important. I could never put that aside for money. If you keep your view of money in check, you’ll have a good life.


? Words to live by!

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 21, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.


Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda

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When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia

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Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat

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This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)

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Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat

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Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)

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Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)

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Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

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With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat

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Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

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With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)

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

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If I ever want to look alive before dropping my son off to school, there are two things I must put on before leaving the house: eyeliner and mascara. When using eyeliner, I typically use black liner on my top lid, a slightly lighter brown for my bottom lid, and then a nude liner for my water line. It works every time.

My mascara routine is a bit different. Because my natural lashes are thin and not the longest, I always opt for the darkest black I can find, and one that's lengthening and volumizing. For this reason, I was immediately drawn to It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara. The new mascara is developed in partnership with Drybar (the blow dry bar that specializes in just blowouts) and promises to deliver bold and voluminous lashes all day long. I was sold.

Could this really be the blowout my lashes have been waiting for? It turns out, it was much better than most volumizing formulas I've tried.

For starters, the wand is a great size—it's not too big or small, and it's easy to grip—just like my favorite Drybar round brush. As for the formula, it's super light and infused with biotin which helps lashes look stronger and healthier. I also love that it's buildable, and I didn't notice any clumps or flakes between coats.

The real test is that my lashes still looked great at dinnertime. I didn't have smudges or the dreaded raccoon eyes I always get after a long day at work. Surprisingly, the mascara actually stayed in place. To be fair, I haven't compared them with lash-extensions (which are my new go-to since having baby number two), but I'm sure it will hold up nicely.

Overall, I was very impressed with the level of length and fullness this mascara delivered. Indeed, this is the eyelash blowout my lashes have been waiting for. While it won't give you a few extra hours in bed, you'll at least look a little more awake, mama.

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara
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Here's how I apply IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara:

  1. Starting as close to lash line as possible (and looking down), align the brush against your top lashes. Gradually turn upwards, then wiggle the wand back and forth up and down your eyelashes.
  2. Repeat, if needed. Tip: Be sure to allow the mascara to dry between each coat.
  3. Using the same technique, apply mascara to your bottom lashes, brushing the wand down your eyelashes.
Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Having children isn't always as easy as it looks on Instagram. There's so much more to motherhood than serene baby snuggles and matching outfits. But there's a reason we've fallen so deeply in love with motherhood: It's the most beautiful, chaotic ride.

Every single day, we sit back and wonder how something so hard can feel so rewarding. And Eva Mendes just managed to nail the reality of that with one quote.

Eva, who is a mama to daughters Esmerelda and Amada with Ryan Gosling, got real about the messy magic of motherhood in a recent interview.

"It's so fun and beautiful and maddening," the actress tells Access Daily. "It's so hard, of course. But it's like that feeling of…you end your day, you put them to bed and Ryan and I kind of look at each other like, 'We did it, we did it. We came out relatively unscathed.'"

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And just like that, moms all over the world feel seen. We've all been there: Struggling to get through the day (which, for the record is often every bit as fun as it is challenging), only to put those babies to sleep and collapse on the couch in sheer exhaustion. But, after you've caught your breath, you realize just how strong and capable you really are.

One thing Eva learned the hard way? That sleep regressions are very, very real...and they don't just come to an end after your baby's first few months. "I guess they go through a sleep regression, which nobody told me about until I looked it up," she says "I was like, 'Why isn't my 3-year-old sleeping?'"

But, at the end of the day, Eva loves her life as a mom—and the fact that she took a break from her Hollywood career to devote her days to raising her girls. "I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to be home with them," she says.

Thank you for keeping it real, Eva! Momming isn't easy, but it sure is worth it.

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My labor and delivery was short and sweet. I started feeling contractions on Monday morning and by Tuesday night at 8:56 pm my handsome baby boy was born. Only 30 minutes of pushing. Afterward, I was still out of it, to be honest. I held him and did some skin to skin and handed him off to my husband, my mother held him next.

When he was in my mother's arms, I knew he was safe. I started to drift off, the epidural had me feeling drowsy and I had used up all my strength to push this 7 lb baby out. My son's eyes were open and then I guess he went to sleep too. My mother swayed him back and forth. The nurses were in and out, cleaning me up and checking in on us.

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When yet another nurse came in, my mom said to her, "He wasn't latching because he wanted to sleep."

The nurse yelled, "He's not sleeping!"

The next 25 minutes happened in slow motion for me.

After the nurse said these words, she flung my son onto the little baby bed. I looked over and he looked a little blue. Then I heard the loud words of CODE PINK. In matters of seconds about 30 nursing staff descended into my room and crowded around my baby.

I couldn't even see what was happening. I tried to get out the bed but they wouldn't let me and after a couple of failed attempts one of the nurses look at me and said, "He's fine, he's breathing now."

Breathing now? He wasn't breathing before? Again, I tried to push my way to my baby, but once again I was told to not move. They had just performed CPR on my 30-minute old newborn and I couldn't understand what was happening even after a pediatrician tried to explain it to me.

I just started crying. He was fine in my stomach for 39 weeks and 6 days and now I bring him into this world and his heart nearly stops?

I was told he needed to go to the neonatal intensive care unit. I was confused, as I thought the NICU was only for preemies and my son was full term.

After what felt like an eternity we were finally allowed to see our son. My husband wheeled me there and we saw him in the corner alone. I saw the incubator and the wires, he's all bundled up.

The nurse explained all the beeping and showed me the heart rate monitor. He's doing fine. We go over the feeding schedule. I'm exhausted still. I stay with him until about 1 or 2 am. They all suggest I get some sleep. There's no bed in the NICU, so I head back to my room.

The next day was better, he doesn't have to be in the incubator anymore, but the wires remain. By that night or early the next morning, the wires in his nose come out and I try feeding him. I try pumping. It was painful.

He gets his first bath and he loves it. The nurse shampoos his hair (he had a lot!) and he seems so soothed. The nurse explains that because he's full term he doesn't need the same type of support in the NICU. She tells me my baby's strong and he'll be fine.

I look around. I see the other babies, the other moms. They could be there for weeks. And unlike me, the moms have to go home—without their baby.

Friday comes and by now he's done all his tests, blood work came back normal, all tubes have been removed and I get it. I get my going-home package. Finally. I get my instructions on doctor follow-ups and we finally get to go home.

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There have been a lot of iconic entertainment magazine covers featuring pregnant women over the years. Who can forget Demi Moore's bare baby bump on Vanity Fair or Britney Spears' similar nude pose on Harper's Bazaar?

Pregnant women on a magazine covers is nothing new, but a visibly pregnant CEO on the cover of a business magazine, that's a first and it happened this week.

Inc. just put The Wing's CEO Audrey Gelman on the cover and this is a historic moment in publishing and business.

As Gelman told Today this week, "You can't be what you can't see, so I think it's so important for women to see that it's possible to run a fast-growing business and also to start a family."

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She continued: "It's so important to sort of burst that bubble and to have new images of women who are thriving and working professionally while balancing motherhood … My hope is that women see this and again feel the confidence to take greater professional risks while also not shelving their dreams of becoming a mother and starting a family."

The Wing started in 2016 as a co-working space for women and has grown rapidly. As Inc. reports, The Wing has eight locations in the U.S. with plans for more American and international locations by 2020.

Putting Gelman on the cover was an important move by Inc. and Gelman's honesty about her early pregnancy panic ("I can't be pregnant. I have so much to do." she recalls thinking after her pregnancy test) should be applauded.

Gelman says pregnancy made her slow down physically, and that it was actually good for her company: "I had this realization: The way to make my team and my employees feel proud to work for me and for the company was actually not to pretend to be superhuman or totally unaffected by pregnancy."

We need this. We need CEOs to admit that they are human so that corporate leadership can see employees as humans, too. Humans need things like family leave and flexibility, especially when they start raising little humans.

There are a lot of iconic covers featuring pregnant women, but this one is different. She's wearing clothes and she's changing work culture.

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