Stay-at-home moms Stephanie Lee and Kristin Reichert always had the dream of starting their own business. When they noticed the lack of trendy and modern baby bibs on the market, they seized the opportunity (with a little help from their awesome husbands) to create Copper Pearl, a baby accessories company, in June 2015.
Redheaded Kristin, who has three boys and a girl, is the "copper." Stephanie, a blonde with two boys and a girl, is the "pearl."
"We wanted our name to portray the quality and design aesthetic that we planned to accomplish with our business," Kristin tells Mom.me. "As we were brainstorming different ideas, we really liked how Copper Pearl felt as our company name."
We spoke to the two friends to find out more about mixing business with friendship!
Describe the moment when you were inspired to partner and create Copper Pearl.
Stephanie: My husband, Cameron, and Kristin’s husband, Joel, were actually the ones to start the conversation. They were both working full-time and wanted to start a side business for fun. Because Kristin and I were very interested in designing our own baby products, it was a natural fit to make this our co-family business. We both had little kids and felt like there weren’t a lot of super-functional, well-designed baby products on the market. After a lot of research, we decided that our bandana bibs would be our first product to launch—and the rest is history!
As mothers, how do you make it all work?
Kristin: It can be a struggle! One of the things we learned early on was how important it was to find people to help. Starting and operating a small business can be so overwhelming at times, and it’s crucial to hire people to help as you start to grow. We’ve been really fortunate to have found great people to help us manage our business.
What was the process like of going from the concept of Copper Pearl to the actual launch?
Kristin: It felt like we had to do a million things with not very much time to do them! We had to juggle between setting up a website, getting legal documents in order, looking at samples and, of course, designing prints. Everything was harder than we expected it to be, but it was a rewarding process. It felt like we were just conducting a huge experiment! I remember very clearly the day we launched our first product. I think we sold six units our first day and we were beyond excited about it.
Do you have any advice for friends who are thinking of going into business together?
Stephanie: Ha! This is a great question. While we’re glad we all went into business together, it has honestly been more difficult to work together than we expected. We would say it’s really important that everyone has specific roles from the start. We started Copper Pearl with all of us trying to make all decisions together and that can get messy pretty fast. It’s important to set up roles and responsibilities—then to trust people to own their roles.
When did you first feel successful?
Stephanie: There are a lot of different milestones we’ve hit that have made us feel successful. I remember feeling successful after our first week of sales. I remember feeling successful when we had so many positive reviews of our products! One of the biggest moments of success for us happened in May of 2016, when my husband and Kristin’s husband both quit their full-time jobs so we could all work full-time on Copper Pearl. It was such an empowering moment for us and has changed our lives!
As a successful entrepreneur, what are some ways that you want to teach your kids about "girl power"?
Stephanie: Being a mom is my most important role and I want my kids to know that. There is so much “girl power” to be found in the role of mother! I can’t think of a more impactful and significant job than helping to raise the next generation. Being a female entrepreneur has helped me become my best self and, therefore, the best mother possible. Having Copper Pearl gives me something that’s just for me and it’s given me confidence that I hope my kids can learn from. I want them to know anything is possible and I want to be their example of that.
Has there been anything about creating Copper Pearl that has surprised you or inspired you in a way you didn't expect?
Kristin: It’s so inspiring to connect with other moms. Seeing customers’ posts and being part of their lives is so meaningful. We are constantly inspired by all the things other mothers out there are doing.
What's your advice for moms who are looking to start their own business?
Stephanie: My advice is to “fake it till you make it”! If you wait to start something until you know exactly what you’re doing, you’ll never start. The secret is that no one really knows what they’re doing—just dive in and figure it out along the way.
What sacrifices have you made as a mom and business owner to keep everything in balance?
Stephanie: I’m a little bit of a control freak and like to have my hand in all of the various parts of our business. However, in order to prioritize my family, I’ve had to learn to delegate and to be OK with things turning out differently than if I did them myself! Trusting others to do work that’s important to me has been hard, but it’s what makes the balancing possible.
If you could have lunch with any entrepreneur living or dead, who would it be and why?
Kristin and Stephanie: We would love to meet Susan Petersen of Freshly Picked! We’re so impressed with the incredible empire she’s built, and would love to pick her brain and learn from her!