Mompreneur Q & A with Boogie Wipes’ Julie Pickens
Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle
What gave you the first idea for Boogie Wipes? Why were you not satisfied with a normal tissue?
The idea actually came from Saline drops. Saline drops are so difficult to use with children, yet the Saline helps so much when little ones have a cold or flu. Instead of trying to get them to put saline up their little nose, the concept was that it would be better to just put it on a wipe. My business partner at the time tried that and it worked very well. From there, her and I developed a wipe that didn’t irritate a child’s nose or for that matter an adult’s nose too. I think one of the hardest things when your child is sick is to wipe their nose. They hate it! You almost have to chase them around the house to try and wipe the “yuck” off their nose and face. We wanted to make that easier. The wipes were designed super soft with saline and the best part is the scent. Kids everywhere would rather wipe their nose with something that smells like grape rather then a rough, dry tissue. After that we put it in a cute kid friendly package and gave it a cute name so it was fun to ask for.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in getting up and running?
There were so many challenges as the business took off – working with manufacturing, servicing retail, growing a brand, even managing a team of employees. However, all that said I think the largest challenge was capital and funding the growth we experienced so quickly. I luckily grew up in a family that owned their own business so I did have a business background and understood the amount of time and risk that is involved in running your own business. Luckily that enabled me to step in and set up a business model that worked to service retail, and strategically look at how to grow the company. However that said, growth takes capital and raising money in these economic times can be challenging. I feel very fortunate to have been able to make it all come together and have the business we have today.
What did it take to get started and at what mark were you thinking, “I did it.”?
This question makes me smile, as I am not sure I have had the feeling yet of “I did it”. The work it takes to continually grow and change, be relevant, and stay on top of the demands of the business, I think makes you feel like you are continually working at it and never quite sure that you are done. That said I am proud of all we as a team at Boogie Wipes have accomplished in a short time period. One thing that makes me so proud is that we are just people working hard. We don’t’ have MBA’s or years and years of corporate consumer products experience, we just know what it takes every day to get the job done and we do it.
How did you approach and get into so many retail stores?
I again, luckily, had a background in a family business that sold products to grocery. I was used to talking to buyers and knew some of the things they would be looking for. I also think, however, that anyone can do it if you are confident in the product you are selling, have done your research to know what retail wants, and have a strong approach and plan for reaching consumers to drive the purchase at retail. It also doesn’t hurt to reach out to people who have done it before you and ask tons of questions… and then ask a few more….
What’s the one piece of advice you can give to a fellow Mompreneur?
Make sure that you have a product or service that solves a need or problem. Do some research to make sure that consumers are interested in your concept. Plan wisely, and try to avoid as many unknowns as possible. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are and learn everything you can from the ground up.
Fun Question: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I have three girls that keep me extremely busy and who I love with all my heart. They are more important to me then anything. The past year, one of my daughters has struggled with an illness that affects many families everywhere yet is largely misunderstood. We have had a hard year trying to find solutions and helping her the best we can. I am extremely proud of my other two daughters in the love and sacrifice they have shown during their sister’s time of need. I have not ever spoken about this publicly, but think I am ready to share with other moms that no matter what things look like on the outside we are all struggling with things in our life. My advice…. hold on, be brave and no matter what always put family first.
Julie Pickens and Mindee Doney developed the first ever saline nose wipe called Boogie Wipes® as a solution for their kids’ sore, red, runny noses. Using the idea, their business backgrounds, and mompreneurial spirit, they formed Little Busy Bodies, Inc. in May 2007. After an intensive research and development process, hiring a chemist, surveying consumers and interviewing manufacturers, Julie and Mindee sold their first package of Boogie Wipes in December 2007. Sales went on to reach $1 million in the company’s first year of business and by 2009; Little Busy Bodies tripled its revenue to $3.4 million.