Interview: Christiana Simpson, Tolutina

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Meet Mom Entrepreneur Christiana Simpson, Founder Tolutina

“Everyone said it but I wished we had built our email list sooner. I think we were scared to commit to calling it a business. It was much easier to keep it to ourselves in case it failed. “

What does your business offer?
Originally conceived for new moms, the Bombshell is an easy, stylish eco-friendly cover-up for anyone wanting to dress for the mess.

Sewn up right in Los Angeles and made of sustainable, soft hemp and organic cotton, the Bombshell has been thoughtfully designed with deep pockets, easy snaps and a tie at the waist to fit perfectly over your clothes or on its own.

It is a daily wardrobe staple for:
morning routine
preventing make-up mishaps
breastfeeding
cooking
family mealtime
bath time
post-workout
arts and craft projects
petting your fur babies

Our happy Bombshells mamas have been reporting back that they are wearing it “every.single.day.” It’s stylish so you can wear it inside and outside the home.

What was your AHA moment?
Had a baby, young children

How has PR and Marketing helped your business?
We hired a one-woman PR team who specializes in parenting, baby and lifestyle brands. She has been reaching out to mommy bloggers. She’s gotten us a few blog posts and we’re hoping for more.

We’ve also been building up our Instagram followers and have purchased Facebook sponsored ads. We regularly email our database of 300. So far the email list has done the best in terms of sales.

What’s your greatest success to date?
Our greatest success to date was selling a Bombshell to someone that wasn’t a friend or family member! Someone from Germany was one of our earliest backers during our Kickstarter campaign.

Another success was when we actually produced our first run of 50 Bombshells. We’d come so far from 3 moms who knew nothing about design, fashion, manufacturing and production.

What’s been challenging and how did you overcome it?
Our biggest challenge is that we are 3 busy moms of multiple generations in 3 different cities across 2 time zones juggling full-time jobs, parenthood and running a business! It would be easy to throw in the towel any day of the week. But we don’t want to let each other down. My sister and I really see this as a way to pay it forward as a gift to my mom for everything she did for us.

We allow each other to have a bad day. Then we just keep putting one foot in front of the other. The good news is that it is rare that all three of us are feeling down at the same time. We lift each other up and support the best we can. It’s really a special thing to be able to share the highs and lows with business partners who are your family members.

What steps are you taking to achieve your goals?
We are very early in our business. We created 50 Bombshells and sold out quickly. So we are in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for our second production run. We want to bring the Bombshell to more moms.

We are also actively promoting open adoption on our social media sites.

What are your best tips on managing family and business?
Ugh. This is the most difficult part of life right now. I have a demanding full-time job, an energetic 3 year old and am trying to spend every other spare minute on Tolutina. I think the most challenging thing is feeling that I can’t give anything my full attention. It’s living a very distracted life with a cell phone in one hand and a sippy cup in the other. My son is sitting on my lap right now as I type this : )

The only way I’ve ever found balance is to take early morning walks before anyone else is awake!

What are your favorite tools and resources?
Women on Fire Membership (womenonfire.com) – support and inspiration from other women, plus exclusive interviews with names like Liz Lange and Julia Cameron

“You are a Badass. How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” book by Jen Sincero – I heard her speak at a book signing. I was inspired and 4 days later I had my “aha” moment. I recommend it to everyone I meet!

If you could wave a magic wand right now, what would you wish for?
My magic wand would bring me a business advisor who would help guide us on a daily basis. She would keep us focused, provide strategy, make introductions to influencers and provide financial backing to grow our business in a scalable way.

Where can readers go to learn more about you and your business?
www.tolutina.com

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