How We Became Mompreneurs: The Co-Founders of Amy Michelle
Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle
Thinking about 2013 that’s all too close, we at SML have been thinking of our direction and what paths we want to wander down for next year….
Well, what better way to showcase our wandering by highlighting others who have wandered down the profitable and fun path of Mompreneurship! The ladies we will be featuring throughout the year are true pioneers!
Our very first in our new series is with Mom Entrepreneurs Amy Wright and Michelle Herbert, the co-founders of Amy Michelle.
SML: How and when did you form your company?
AM: Amy Michelle was born out of necessity for an all-in-one bag. We began in 2003 specifically as a diaper bag company. Quite simply, Amy Wright and Michelle Herbert, started Amy Michelle so they could design and manufacture a baby bag to reflect a woman’s style, while accommodating the travel needs of both baby and mom. The saturated markets of baby products and women handbags did not offer an organized, functional baby bag that was also sophisticated and elegant. Instead, a mom who chose organization and function, sacrificed her style and elegance; a mom who chose elegance and sophistication, sacrificed organization and function. Motherhood requires many important sacrifices, but we did not believe choosing a baby bag should be among them.
In 2010, we reinvented our business to reflect the expanded target market that literally fell into our laps. We found that approximately half of the people using our baby bag were using it as a work or travel tote. They were past the diaper phase, but loved the organization and style. We now offer baby bags, travel totes and work bags. The repositioning of Amy Michelle from Amy Michelle baby bags to Amy Michelle Go Totes has been like a rebirth as we are constantly rethinking the business while staying true to the reasons we started the business in the first place. Our internal desire to create a truly unique bag company as well as to create a legacy for our families has never changed. We still firmly believe in giving back to our community and feel we are teaching our children how to work hard and make things happen for themselves.
SML: What makes your products or services different than anyone else’s?
AM: Our combination of function and fashion at an affordable price makes us the go-to bag.
SML: What was the biggest challenge or setback you had when forming it whether it be time-wise, financially, or emotionally?
AM: Balancing our families with our career. Michelle has two school aged children and Amy has 10 month old twins. Making sure to switch to mommy at 3:00 every day is a must priority.
SML: What’s the one piece of advice you wished you had when you got the idea to start your own business?
AM: Things take twice as long and cost approximately three times more than anticipated. Budget this into your timeline. Additionally, you need to know what you’re good at, enjoy and are capable of. Since have young children and are not able to travel as much as needed, we hired a sales management team. This has been one of our better investments.
SML: What has your best memory or happiest moment since you started your business venture?
AM: When were won the Sam Walton Emerging Entrepreneur award in 2009 and American Expresses Women in Business distinctions.
SML: Fun Question- If you could go back in time to meet any other famous mom (Mompreneur or not!) in history who would it be and why?
AM: We would love to meet Oprah. While she’s not a mom, she has taken the role of mom for her audience and is so passionate about what she believes in. We admire her compassion, and always wanting to help people better themselves. She is truly an inspiration to all women in what we can do in this world.
SML: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your company or to mom’s that have a great idea and don’t know where to start?
AM: Actually, the most common question we get is how we are still friends and business partners after almost 10 years in business together. We tell people that first off, we made a commitment when we started that “we are friends when we started and we will be friends until the end”. Additionally, we have very specific roles in the business so we are not stepping on each other’s toes.
About Amy Michelle
Golden, Colorado-based Amy Michelle was founded by Michelle Herbert and Amy Wright. Amy Michelle prides itself on being a socially responsible company specializing in the creation and marketing of designer quality, fashionable tote bags and accessories. The Amy Michelle collection is designed for the busy lifestyle and organizing needs of today’s women. Perfect for Work, Travel, or Baby. Up to 5% of Amy Michelle’s profits benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Denver.
For more information visit http://ww.amymichelle.com.