With this month marking the onset of the official holiday season, it’s the perfect time to talk about creative products that can double as gifts. (Spoiler alert: Your baby and toddler will love these) Putting aside profitable sales of thousands of units, with more being designed as this is printed, Chewbeads ignited a spark for health conscious moms. A bonus of this product is the inspiring real world story that created success in a complex and cluttered design industry, providing a much needed solution for everyday issues. I was fortunate enough to grab some time with Lisa Greenwald, Founder and CEO, of Chewbeads, a safe and nontoxic collection of teething jewelry, that has found a long running niche in the multi billion dollar baby care market. We talked about entrepreneurship, the “American Dream” and building a business.
A former marketing and design expert for large brands, Lisa represents the heart of a true entrepreneur. With Chewbeads growth she became largely self taught in navigating the ongoing design, production, marketing, and future of these hot selling mommy and me beads.
At HER Magazine we strive to provide powerful insights from those who have gone the entrepreneurial path, and share what we admire about top business owners. The entrepreneurial spirit is contagious, and humanity has an innate desire to create, so whether you are an artist or a business person you can take away a bit of knowledge from Chewbeads success, to take control of your own career. Let’s take a look at what our interview revealed.
HER: You spent years with J Crew, do you think your experience in that industry allowed you more insight into seeing this market gap for kids and pairing it with style?
Lisa Greenwald: Yes and no, it enabled me to do product development much better. I knew how to merchandise a line, do multiple colors, and think about pricing, wholesale versus retail, so it helped me start this business on my own.
I know what sells, what to look for in aesthetics, so this helped out. So I guess ultimately yes.
HER: Did this help with connections and knowing the manufacturing process when it came to launching chewbeads?
LG: Not really, I had to start from scratch. I knew what it was like to communicate with overseas vendors, and how to do business, as that is how it’s done these days. But I didn’t use the same connections and vendors, because it wasn’t apparel, so the differences were tremendous, this was something I reached on my own.
HER: How do you take a napkin idea to full blown production?
LG: It’s all about execution. It was really about detailing out what I wanted from vendors, getting samples, submitting them, getting new products and prototypes and find what you are happy with. There was a lot of R&D that went into testing to comply with safety standards.
We wanted to claim what it DOESN’T contain, lead, BB’s so there were several trails of samples and you end up with something you feel is saleable.
We started with one necklace in 14 colors, and pre sold to retailers, so we kept it one product until we had commitments from people, we needed proof of concept. We focused on what we believed, on what our core concepts were, don’t try to do everything. It’s way easier to tell your story with a targeted product and laser focus.
Read my full interview with Lisa Greenwald inside HER Magazine.