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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.

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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!

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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.

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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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