Ariana Horry wanted to keep new moms from feeling overwhelmed. After all, in addition to having a brand-new baby, parents also have to manage all of that baby gear, too. Researching what products and brands to buy, and what features are best for baby, can become an all-consuming task—and that's even before Mom goes into labor.
That's why Horry, the mother of two and wife of Indianapolis Colts player Mike Adams, launched her shop Milk & Honey Babies in Englewood, N.J., and took the business online, as well. The luxe boutique, which opened in 2014 alongside its online portal, carries a wide variety of nontoxic and eco-friendly items.
"There are so many products on the market, it can become overwhelming for new or expectant parents," Horry tells Mom.me via email. "We guide each of our customers through their shopping experience and try to mitigate, if not alleviate, the indecision and nerves that creep into the preparation for expectant parents."
Horry also tells us about building her business, the sacrifices she's made as a mom and an entrepreneur, and her advice for other moms looking to start a business.
What sets Milk & Honey Babies apart from other baby-gear shops?
We truly pride ourselves on our customer service. We work to personalize the experience and help parents choose products that best fit their individual needs and lifestyle.
Describe the moment you first felt successful.
I can remember traveling abroad (having only been open a year) and coming across two people who were aware of our store. Granted, they may have been the only people who knew of our store abroad, but it was a great feeling nonetheless.
As a successful female entrepreneur, what are some ways that you want to teach your daughters, Maya and Avery, about "girl power"?
I want my girls to know that it’s OK to step outside of the box and take entrepreneurial risks. Girl power especially manifests itself in the confidence it takes to try new things and not being afraid to fail. I want them to fearlessly step off the beaten path, if they so choose, and try something new because there’s always a lesson to be learned either way.
Has there been anything about building your business that has surprised you or inspired you in a way you didn't expect?
I never anticipated how much I would enjoy being so hands-on. I knew how much I loved researching new trends in infant safety and style, and discussing products with our customers . But in order to really understand your business and its potential for growth, it’s important to know every facet of your business. I now, surprisingly, find myself staying up at night trying to conquer CSS/HTML coding so I can improve the navigation of our e-commerce site! Never saw that day coming, but I actually enjoy learning the inner workings of the e-commerce side. It’s just as important as how we choose to merchandise our brick-and-mortar location.
Girl power especially manifests itself in the confidence it takes to try new things and not being afraid to fail.
What's your advice for moms who are looking to start their own business?
I always try to tell moms at the outset of this entrepreneurial journey to breathe! Oftentimes, we’re our worst critics and we’re trying to juggle everything. It’s important to remember that we can't be everything to everyone all the time—and that’s OK. We have this feeling of guilt that creeps in. If we dwell on negativity, it can actually lead to missed opportunities in both our business and family lives.
What sacrifices have you made as a mom and an entrepreneur to keep everything in balance?
Well, one of the main things I was guilty of sacrificing was me-time. I used to figure cutting out time for myself was the best way to compensate for lack of time to complete everything on my ever growing to-do list. I now know that was one of the biggest mistakes I could've made. If I’m running on an empty tank, ultimately both my family life and business will suffer. It’s crucial that as moms, we take the necessary downtime to recharge and refuel—otherwise in the end everything will suffer. This sentiment especially carries over to business endeavors, as well. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day, but if you burn out, everything else will suffer for it. So, it’s important to remain cognizant of scheduling some downtime in the mix of it all.
You were an NBC researcher before you created Milk & Honey Babies. What would you say are the most important skills and experiences you've brought from previous positions to being the leader of Milk & Honey Babies?
As a researcher, I analyzed and forecasted for different markets. I apply similar methods when buying for the store, whether it’s through customer feedback, product trends or new technologies, to try and offer the best eco-friendly baby products.
If you could have lunch with any entrepreneur, who would it be, and why?
I definitely wouldn't mind grabbing a bite to eat with Jessica Alba. I’d love to pick her brain a bit. She’s grown enormously successful with the Honest Company. She worked to build her brand from the ground up by successfully tapping into the innermost concerns of parents. Beyond solely relying on the celebrity appeal to promote the Honest brand, it seems Alba focused on educating her customers on the value of nontoxic, eco-friendly, premium products that are stylish and don't break the bank. Relating to parents on this level is something I hope to continue to achieve.