Have you ever gone on a hunt for the perfect gift for a baby shower for your expectant friend? New mothers-to-be gifts tend to be more baby oriented leaving the mother out. Meanwhile, pregnant mothers are really the ones who could use a thoughtful gift of self-care as well.
While other pregnancy gifts tend to be more baby product focused; The Stork Bag offers a unique and highly curated selection of products; assisting mothers throughout their pregnancies and beyond to the postpartum period.
Meet Ericka Perry; an African American mom entrepreneur, who has undoubtedly made her mark within the retail subscription industry. Ericka remembers all too well that pregnant moms have plenty to do before baby arrives; and while pregnancy is a beautiful miracle, it also comes with a host of issues that mothers need some assistance with.
A mom-approved pregnancy gift throughout the world, The Stork Bag has been heralded by mothers everywhere as one of the best gifts for pregnant women. Celebrities such as Khloe Kardashian and Joanna Gaines have loved their products!
The Stork Bag is the only pregnancy subscription product to have received an OBGYN certification since November 2014. Ericka was working full time in the nonprofit sector while pregnant with her third son, when she launched The Stork Bag shortly after obtaining her Master’s degree.
On top of all of this, Ericka recently published a pregnancy journal called ‘9 Months of Happiness: Maintaining a Blissful Pregnancy’, and helps her husband run his self-help YouTube channel YouAreCreators, Inc. At the end of the day, Ericka is an inspiration for women to reach for the stars, focusing on what makes them the happiest.
Tell us a bit about your background and family life. Your education/training and how it evolved into what you do now.
I am a mom of 3 boys, 11, 8 and 6. I am also married to my best friend and #1 supporter, who is also an entrepreneur, so he totally understands my crazy schedule. Before becoming an entrepreneur, I was a supervisor at a non-profit organization, which was the career that I had in mind when I earned my Masters degree in Nonprofit Management 7 years ago. I believe my past non-profit experience and formal education prepared me for a lot of the day-to-day operations of running a start-up but more than anything else, actually navigating through the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur has been more beneficial than my graduate studies. The Stork Bag is my first product startup. My first official start-up was a company called MommyMaiDD Services, Inc, which did not work out the way that I’d expected but, now MommyMaiDD is the parent company for each of my brands, including The Stork Bag®.
What were some of your biggest hurdles and obstacles you ran into in the beginning? How did you overcome them? If you had any business fails what did you learn from it?
Biggest hurdles were financial-centered. Having a financially stable business is so important when trying to take an idea and make it a tangible reality. When you have a grand idea for a company and each of your plans are self-funded, sometimes trying to figure out creative ways to promote, expand and produce can be trying if you don’t have a massive budget. For me, fortunately, my husband and I had saved up some money and my husband was very supportive of my dreams. I was able to tap into our savings to build and (slowly) scale, but when you have a young family, using that savings cushion can be very risky and scary.
I’ve had many challenges, I don’t call them fails because in my opinion, a fail is equivalent to defeat and I have never been defeated. Discouraged, yes, but never defeated. I got through the challenges by always trying to see pass the bumps and focus on what could be if I got back up and tried again. Focusing on what I’m working toward is far more satisfying that focusing on what I don’t have.
What was your first ‘aha’ moment that made you realize you had a marketable product?
My first ‘aha’ moment was when I found out my dear friend was pregnant for the first time and she was really having a rough pregnancy. We lived hundreds of miles away from each other but I told her that I wanted to send her a care package to cheer her up and provide her with some of the products that helped me during my pregnancy.
I remember going online to look for a premade care package and coming up short. I was shocked that no one had thought of the idea of creating a care package for pregnant women (this was during the big subscription box boom when they were really becoming popular). So I went to a department store and gathered a few prenatal items and placed them in a package to send to my friend. After she received her package, she was elated and it was such a great feeling to be able to help her from a long distance. It was at that moment that the light bulb went off and I had my first “aha’ moment, “What if I create a care package just for pregnant women” and so The Stork Bag was born!
Where we can find your product? Is it available in retail stores or online only? Any new products or services in the works we can look out for?
You can find The Stork Bag online on our website. You can also shop The Stork Bag on the 1-800-Flowers gifting platform, Goodsey. Amazon also carries Stork Bags and you can subscribe to The Stork Bag on Cratejoy as well. We are slowing beginning to partner with online retailers. Soon, you may be able to purchase a Stork Bag on your favorite online ‘big box’ retail site!
We’re launching an organic 5-free (free of the top 5 harsh chemicals found in many nail polishes) nail polish soon called, Stork Polish. We’re also playing around with the idea of creating a new 5 Stork Bag…more details soon.
What has been the most effective form of advertising for you so far?
Social media marketing has by far been the most effective means of advertising for The Stork Bag. Especially Instagram as it’s a great way to communicate visually and educate others about our product line.
A closer look at The Stork Bag line:
Let’s talk a bit about the products you choose for The Stork Bags. Are the products all mom-owned or women-owned businesses? What ultimately drove you to choose those products? If someone wanted to include their products in your Stork Bags what would they need to do?
Most of our products are either Stork Bag branded products or products sourced from other responsible, mom-owned companies. My mission behind The Stork Bag is to serve mothers in every capacity so that means by providing the best products and partnering with the best mom-owned brands to promote and encourage female entrepreneurship. We choose our products a couple of different ways. My team will either reach out to companies that have products we believe would align well within The Stork Bag model, but in addition, we also accept submissions using the Product Submission form on our website.
Do you have any time management tips for juggling a business and family life? How do you stay motivated?
Yes, schedules and checklists! I live off daily checklists. I usually prioritize my daily tasks the night before or early in the morning once I get the boys off to school. I also try and stay discipline with scheduling but of course, being a mother, wife, and entrepreneur sometimes, things don’t always happen when they’re supposed too. At the end of the day, my motivation comes from within but it is driven by my kids, husband, goals, customers, and women. My passion to serve women drives my inner motivation.
Would you do anything differently in the beginning of your business if you knew then what you knew now? If you could go back in time what would you tell Ericka Perry before she started?
I wouldn’t change anything, everything that I’ve gone through so far has gotten me to this point and I’m happy at this point. If I could go back in time, and speak to my past self, I would say, “They love it, so don’t give up, even when you want to throw in the towel because it gets hard, keep going. Everything will happen for your greater good. Remember, thoughts become things.”They love it, so don’t give up, even when you want to throw in the towel because it gets hard, keep going. Everything will happen for your greater good. Remember, thoughts become things.
What advice do you have for parents who have a great idea for a product or service and are not sure where to begin?
Just start. Start by writing your goals out and make sure to specify your goals with dates and amounts. Buy the domain, research the market, create the social media pages, enroll in some online course specific to what you want to do and work toward it every single day.Just start...buy the domain, research the market, create the social media pages, enroll in some online course specific to what you want to do and work toward it every single day. #interview with @ErickaNPerry #momowned
If there was one thing that you want to be remembered for what would it be? What legacy do you wish to leave for your children and the world?
I want to be remembered as a fearless woman who saw the greatness before anyone else and who motivated other women to do more of what made them feel whole. I aspire to leave a legacy of hope and possibility.
Thank you so much Ericka for being part of our mom entrepreneur series and sharing your sage advice and tips to those aspiring as startup owners.
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As the founder of Why Not Mom; a unique online directory of mom-owned boutiques and mom-invented products, Tonia has strived to create a unique organization of female business owners, creating a diverse network that assists each other in driving more business to one another, in addition to providing tools and resources to achieve success in their business endeavors. It is her passion to make Why Not Mom the world’s largest online directory of women-owned businesses in the pursuit of strengthening families and supporting small business owners worldwide.