Interview: Priska Diaz, Founder, Bittylab (BARE Baby Bottle)

Priska Diaz, Founder of Bittylab

babybottles

When this mom had a challenging time breastfeeding and had to bottle feed, she realized that breasts don’t have air vents, why should bottles?  She took her AHA moment and combined it with her extensive product design experience and created BARE, the only air-free baby bottle.  Slated to launch in 2012, she has spent 5 years on design, manufacturing and marketing.

Learn how she did it, her challenges and the advice she has for anyone wanting to get into a big box retailer.

Interview: Priska Diaz, Founder, Bittylab (BARE Baby Bottles)

READ the Transcript

Rachel: This is Rachel Olsen, founder of Best Mom Products where moms can all share their adventures in business. Today, I’m talking with Priska Diaz, the founder of Bittylab. Bittylab produces BARE, the only air-free baby bottle that closely mimics a mother’s breast and breast feeding. Today, we’ll learn how she came up with the idea for BARE, used her expertise as a product designer and received valuable feedback from big-box retailers before creating her official prototype. Priska, does that sound about right?

 

Priska: That is correct, Rachel.  Thank you for having me.

 

Rachel: Oh, thank you. Why don’t we tell everyone how the idea came to you and what year it was?

 

Priska: Well, the idea came to me with my first child and this was in 2007, the end of 2007. I was completely set on breast feeding. A week went by, baby wasn’t taking the breast. I didn’t have enough milk supply. We went to the doctor, and my baby had dry mouth, and what the doctor told me was that he was actually losing a lot of weight and the dryness in his mouth was due to poor nutrition. That alarmed me a little bit. And he suggested I should use supplement. I was completely crushed. I really, really wanted to do it, breast feeding 100%. And this is when I started introducing baby bottles and the whole problem began, gas, especially gas. The way that the normal baby bottles feed they just send a lot of milk to the baby and the baby ends up preferring the bottle. This is what happens most of the time. Some babies are great going back and forth. My baby specifically had that issue, and he liked the bottle so much more than my breast. And that in combination with a low supply, he left the breast, I think, by the third month he was completely on baby bottles.

 

Rachel: You took something that was a challenge to you and to many women. After you were done breast feeding, I breast fed and bottle fed and when you’re done at some point you give your baby a bottle even if you pump and so it’s very interesting. I mean, I think I know pretty much every mom has dealt with their child with gas or something like that. This is fascinating to me. I want to hear a little bit about, if you can tell us, about your background and how you came up with the product and created your first prototypes because you were a product designer for L’Oreal at the time, is that correct?

 

Priska: I was a packaging designer actually and I did some of the product designs as well. How I came to the idea is obviously as I had the gas situation with my baby I started, at least, searching why is this happening and all of the baby bottles out there, say, clinically proven to help with gas and all of it. As I researched more and more I learned that when the baby ingests air, that’s usually when he gets all this gas pain and it’s harder for them to expel and burp and it leads to colic and excessive crying and all of that.

 

I also learned about vents and why baby bottles have to have a vent. And what the vent does it actually prevents nipple collapsing. The vent is another opening somewhere in the bottle that allows air in to prevent the collapsing again. What happens is as the air goes in, baby drinks the milk and this air mixes in with the milk and ultimately the baby ingests the air anyway. It’s the reason why babies continue to have gas. And I was thinking there’s got to be a way that the baby does not ingest gas. When you breast feed a baby, the suction that the baby does with the areola part of the breast is complete, there is no vent anywhere. There is no other way of ingest air or bring in the air once the baby makes this contact.

 

The first thing that came to my mind was syringes because obviously, I mean, we get liquids and medicine put in directly in our veins and it is, in fact, 100% air free. And I was thinking how to try to adapt a syringe into a baby bottle. I did have a lot of these big syringes at home because of my work. And all kinds of packaging that utilizes a similar sort of system and then you know a lot of baby bottles and so on. So I put parts and pieces together, and I was very excited that it actually worked. I had a small nipple on a syringe and I was sucking on it and I was so excited and told my husband, “Look it worked”. Since then, this was probably the beginning of 2008, I had that idea in my mind and I wanted to do it. Six months later, I had to go back to work and it all ended. A year, well maybe let’s see, six months after that I had my second baby. So, I was home again. They are about 13 months apart.

 

With the second baby, again, I went through the whole process. My daughter did take the breast; I did have enough milk supply. But again it only lasted five months or so. It didn’t even get to the sixth month when I had to introduce baby bottles because something with my milk supply, it just doesn’t… She just wanted more and more and I just didn’t have it. She was crying excessively because she was hungry. I wished I had some sort of prototype or something that I could use on her but I didn’t. Again, I retook that project and wanted to do something with it, and that’s when I sort of dressed it up a little bit, this handmade prototype that I did, and I told my husband we have to show it to a retailer and see what they think.

 

Even back in 2008, we went to one of those big box retailers. My husband is in sales so it was easy for him to make the call and identify the right buyer and all of that. And so we showed it and she was interested somehow, but she said, “Is that the way it’s going to look?” I said no, it really is not dressed up, it’s not designed. It’s just bare bones, and this is how it should work, and it has no air. She saw some of my vision a little bit but not all there. She said, “Why don’t you make it and come back to me?”

 

Since then we’ve been trying, and again I had to go back to work. Everything stopped. It wasn’t until the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 when I sat down and started working on it full-time. And we continuously went back to the retailer and showed them the process step-by-step. They happened to be really great in giving us their time and telling us what’s next. She finally saw the prototype and she said, “I think this is fantastic. It’s great. Now, show me what your marketing is going to be like? Show me how you’re going to back it up. You’re going to put a lot out there. These are giants, people who have been in the business for 50 years, have all the money in the world. How are you going to back this up? I need to know.” Again, I went back and started researching and asked some friends to help me out. We consulted with a few people, and we coaxed a whole marketing company together that was obviously very affordable within our budget and believable.

 

Rachel: As we’re going through this, I’m hearing so many things that I have questions about. One is what we really like to hear about both the manufacturing process and also the marketing process because both are huge parts of your business. If you can talk about a little bit about that, that would be great.

 

Priska: Yeah. Well, manufacturing-wise we wanted to go to the people who are into medical devices as well as packaging because again, with my packaging background I saw some similarities that probably we can borrow some technology from both ends and bring it together into the bottle. We did not go to baby bottle manufacturers, but as we did intense research, we found out that we were actually in the right path. Going to medical manufacturers was the answer.

 

Rachel: Why is that? Is that because it was a syringe like product?

 

Priska: Yes. Normal baby bottles are really a bottle with a base and it’s mostly manufactured by blow molded. What it is that they put the mold in there and a machine blows the plastic inside and it gets formed. There isn’t any of the mechanism that I was using. In fact, our bottle is injection mold. The whole process is really different.

 

That has nothing to do with it, even though it is the same industry but given that medical devices are also FDA approved and they are above and beyond of all of that, we really needed to stay within the medical devices manufacturing. We researched; this was probably 2011 by now when we got a lot of interest from the retailers and we figured, OK, now we really have to start investing the big chunk of money and begin the manufacturing. The manufacturers told us, “We’re going to do some research for you and find out what can we borrow but technology-wise from what’s existing.” They came back to me and said, “You know what, there’s nothing out there that I can take. A product like this has probably never been done before.” I said, “I can’t believe that.” We consulted with the manufacturers because I’m that kind of person. Until I hear the answer that I want, I’m not going to stop.

 

In fact, they looked into different kind of syringes and how it was made. The syringes are mostly disposable. Nothing was going to be dish washed, and nothing was going to be boil sterilize, nothing. The sterilization process that they have is chemically, so it doesn’t have to be heat resistant or anything like this. It was a very difficult project. The manufacturer that we originally started talking to gave us some referrals to some people in Europe that perhaps, could help us in, say, manufacturing things similar. We have talked to people inGermany,Austria,Korea, you name it, and it’s all the same answer. “We’ve never done anything like it. Yes, we can try it. It’s going to cost you millions and millions of dollars.”

 

Rachel: Wow.

 

Priska: Which we don’t have. And again, as I was designing it, I just couldn’t believe that nobody could help me do this at an affordable price range. Ultimately, we pair up with this company. This is actually a whole other company.

 

It was based in theUnited States, but they outsource to different countries. And they saw my vision and they understood the way things worked, and they are building the molds and manufacturing the whole process mostly inChina. And I am monitoring this very closely. So far, we have all of the molds done. Two of the molds had to be done over again. We had our little hiccups in the process with the material selection. We’re passed that finally. We got some good answers last week actually. I can tell now that we are probably two months away from having the final product and get it all working, maybe, less than that. That’s how we are finally manufacturing this product.

 

The reason why this company chose China is because they really needed the technology. I mean, we have companies in here that I’m sure are capable, but they’re dealing with giants, like the military and NASA. They don’t want to bother with this small project. They already have the technology that they’re utilizing in place. They don’t even want to try anything new. As we know, most of their product comes fromChina, so they have different technology that we do not get here in the States.

 

Rachel: Yeah. That’s interesting to me because I talk to a lot of entrepreneurs about manufacturing, and I think you’ve come up with a very interesting point. You’re small potatoes at this point. You’re launching a product and you have a vision, and you found somebody who aligned with your vision and saw it. And that was critical. As you’re going through this process, are you dealing directly with the business… What is the name of the place in theUnited Statesthat’s called… Are you dealing with a business broker or a manufacturing broker that manages the relationship withChina?

 

Priska: No. It’s not a broker. It’s an entire company that outsources, and they do this for many other companies. Besides the quality control, they take responsibility for basically everything. They purchase the material and then they provide it to their vendors or their molders inChina. If there is any problem whatsoever at any point, they are being held directly responsible. It’s not much of me getting hands off responsibility, but it’s more on to their help with the communication withChina…

 

Rachel: Right.

 

Priska: … and most of it utilizes their resources to find the right people, the right manufacturers that have the technology that we could.

 

Rachel: You don’t have to give me the name of the place that does this. But if somebody was like you and they were looking for somebody to manage this, I’m not familiar with the terminology; what type of company would they be looking for? Do you know what is called? Beause it’s not a broker.

 

Priska: Correct.

 

Rachel: When you found them, what were you looking for? How did you find them? Did you know that you were looking for them specifically or you came across them? How did you find them in the first place? That might be a good question.

 

Priska: It was a referral. I didn’t know even that people like that existed. I came across a lot of brokers, but they did not give me enough of confidence. It’s a one person thing. If something had ever happened or if something had gone wrong, who is responsible? Who is ensuring that my message gets across correctly to a person who doesn’t speak my language? That was a key to me given the fact that this bottle is so hard to manufacture.

 

Rachel: Right.

 

Priska: In other products that are simple, straight up, there was no issues or anything. It’s probably a good fit to have a broker because there’s no way of getting a mistake or anything like that. This company, I think, their goal may be outsourcing companies. I’m not really sure. I’m sorry.

 

Rachel: That’s OK we can leave it at that. I was just curious because I heard of brokers, but I wasn’t sure. It’s someone else manufacturing all the bits and pieces of it and making sure all of the whole manufacturing process is taken care of. I want to learn a little bit about it. You have a baby bottle. Parents are going to have to trust in you, that they’re going to feed their baby with this bottle. What regulations do you have to follow, and did you make the decision to go the medical or the FDA route because you knew that this was going to be a sensitive area? Can you talk a little bit about that?

 

Priska: Yes. Given that I’m a parent, a concerned parent, every time I buy something I want to make sure that somebody else is watching or controlling and saying, yes, this is, in fact, FDA approved, BPA free and free from all of those things. The certifications were a really important point in the whole manufacturing process. This company, who I am dealing with, has a lot of that knowledge. They are sending the plastics and everything that gets molded and everything that gets reduced to, I think, it’s a bureau. I think it’s called Veritas Bureau which is an international certification for plastics.

 

Rachel: OK.

 

Priska: By testing it, they ensure that there isn’t any lead in the plastic, PVC free, BPA free, everything that we can claim on the package. We cannot really say things on packages because things have to be documented and proven and tested and all of that. That’s as far as internationally and the European concern, and what we have here in the States is FDA. We’re also making sure that we have all of those tests in place.

 

Rachel: I think you were telling you when we spoke last time that trials start after the first production run to actually test the product. Where are you at in the point with that?

 

Priska: Yes. We did many. I myself have done many iterations. None of them were good enough to show. It wasn’t cosmetically perfect or anything like that. But I think in total we have probably done about six or seven. And then parts and pieces of it were tested in many other… I don’t know, I would say the air plug piece that we call, we had probably about ten different designs and molded. We really made three dimensionally out of a mold. After we got approval or, say, we got some interest from the retailers, we went to an engineer house and asked them to design three dimensionally because I don’t do CAD. That’s the software that they usually use to design three dimensionally what I have designed and every piece of it and everything. They did test it, and it didn’t work. They had different kinds just to help it work the way that I wanted it to work. So, we designed many different shapes of air plugs, and with silicone, without silicone, this material, this other material.

 

Rachel: OK. So, it was a long process.

 

Priska: It was definitely a long, long process. Going back to the tests that I want to have, this is a preference again as a mother. If I was the consumer, I want to buy something that has been tested by somebody else. Our first production is going to start, as I said, probably we’re going to be ready in a couple of months or less. Those are the ones that we’re going to give to moms. We have our whole database of moms that are ready to try it. And again, those are already BPA approved. The raw materials that we are using for this first run are the actual raw materials that we are going to use for production.

 

And those have already been processed and approved and documented. Once we mold the bottle, it again gets sent again back to Veritas Bureau to retest or whatever to do the testing that they do.

 

And then again, give us the certification. The FDA, I don’t know how exactly how it works. I don’t think you have to send something to them. I’m not sure, but again this company is helping me put everything together. And if they do need a sample, we’re going to have many to send.

 

Once moms get a real taste of this product who have been waiting for a long time, we’re going to go ahead and do mass production. I am stopping mass production because I want to get the feedback from moms. If there is anything that they find difficult, crazy or whatever it is, I want to make the changes to make sure it works the way I want it to work as well as be user friendly.

 

Rachel: Right. Let me ask you about that. It’s been probably about five years since you had the idea, two years since, it sounds like, you’ve been really working on the manufacturing process. And in a few months it’s going to come to market, and that’s amazing. I want to ask, I think it’s a good transition. I feel like you haven’t officially launched, but you’ve created a website, a blog, you have a lot of marketing materials. I read that you’ve generated about 10,000 impressions on your site, 3,000 unique visitors a month, over 2,000 followers on Twitter and 1,500 on Facebook. You’ve been working behind the scenes. I shouldn’t say behind the scenes. You’ve been marketing this for a few years now. Tell me more about your marketing strategy and plan and how you went about that.

 

Priska: Yeah. We started doing that actually May of 2011. And this came about when we were showing it to the retailers. The retailers said, “Well, you need to show me you are popular. You need to show me that you have likes on Facebook.” They literally look at those things. And I was telling her, “We don’t have a product yet. How do you expect me to do that?” We decided with the team that we had in marketing that we need to show the concept. People understand there’s a concept. People began to understand slowly how it works and why is it better than the standard baby bottles. Everything has been viral. Any paid efforts would have been wasted because again we don’t have the products. One mom tells the other and they tell their friends about it and they’re all very excited, and they come to the Facebook page and they become a fan. They’re there, reading the news, hoping that it comes really soon.

 

I cannot get the message strong enough. I am trying the best that I can along with this big team that I have behind me. And more importantly, we want to have a product that works out there rather than having yet another leaky bottle. It has been quite a long trip. When the retailers saw that my fan database was growing so quickly. again, it just began to explode with excitement, and they really, really want it. At one point we were talking about them launching through all of their stores in the States. They were going to give us a four foot wall. They wanted exclusivity. It was all very exciting. Later on, that sort of scared us a little bit. There’s a lot of risk associated with that.

 

Rachel: What kind of risk?

 

Priska: Well, if there is, say, for example, a manufacturing problem and the bottles got returned or if those that are with the user who wanted to know what it is and there are too many packages opened, or like a truck turned over and we lost all of his bottles, something to that effect. We would f have to take entirely the responsibility and either downside from the market or come up with any other solution. Our size probably would put us out of business.

 

The whole four foot of wall and everything sounded perfect, but it’s really a risk that we can’t take. It is just too much of a risk. And we’re going to start small.

 

We told them. They’re still supporting us. They are going to carry our products in their stores. But we’re going to start small until we can handle it.

 

Rachel: Right. So, this is the same retailer that you went to when you had your initial prototype?

 

Priska: Right.

 

Rachel: The same person you’re working with? OK. This is a big box retailer you built a relationship now over all of these years. They’re waiting for your product. I mean, this is incredible. I know you had initially told us that your husband was in sales, so he was really good at finding who the buyer was. But obviously, you’ve been good at building that relationship. What advice do you have for people? Your product is very interesting because there’s nothing like it. Was that something that was appealing to the retailer that it would stand out, or did they find that it was going to be challenging to create customer awareness for this? What was your feedback on that? The retailer’s feedback?

 

Priska: They were very excited. They called it the next generation of baby bottles.

 

Rachel: Wow.

 

Priska: I have to say that they saw my vision a little bit, and most of it they saw the actual prototype working, having the whole thing. It really just makes sense. And if any mother has gone through one day of breast feeding, at least, they totally get it and understand that my breasts don’t have air vents, then why should baby bottles? They did also have a concern that after mothers have known for 50 years or more that vents are good for your baby, how am I going to communicate that all of a sudden they’re not? That was part of the challenge. That’s why we started this whole fan database. And letting most of it be communication and education to the consumer. And I have to say I didn’t have to really work hard enough. Mothers get it, as I said.

 

Rachel: Right.

 

Priska: It’s intuitive.

 

Rachel: Right. I understand that. Can we back up? When you said one mother told another mother and you started getting likes, and 3,000 unique visitors a month is a pretty decent number. What did you do to get those? Because even though moms were telling moms, you weren’t paying for advertising. I noticed you do give aways with other brands. Did that help you? What do you think was the marketing activity that helped you the most? For the mom-preneur that’s watching saying, “Wow, I want to get 3,000 unique visitors per month, she didn’t pay for advertising. How do I do that?”

 

Priska: I think it’s that moms are actively looking for a better baby bottle because they are so fed up with their existing baby bottle. Back in the beginning, we did some research. It showed that four moms out of five are unhappy with their baby bottles. And they sort of go through the whole process and motions, and then all of sudden the baby’s a year old and then you don’t need baby bottles anymore. But at the end they weren’t really happy with their baby bottles. Either too many parts, they leak, I can’t clean them, whatever the reason is. They’re constantly looking out there. And I think that helped a lot because they found me. I think that the giveaways and all the promotions that I am doing help a little bit. But most of the visitors that I get are really Google searches. It’s the mom who is searching for the bottle.

 

Rachel: When you did the website, did you make it SEO friendly? Did you hire a web designer? Was that a strong focus of yours?

 

Priska: No. Well, given that I am a designer I wanted to make sure that everything was cohesive and everything looked, it’s sort of like communicating what I have in mind as a designer. When you work with another designer, it’s a little bit hard to communicate and everybody has their own personal touch. I knew the things were going to be the way that I want it, so I designed it myself. And I did most of the coding as well, so it’s probably not perfect. The SEO part of it is probably not as effective. Probably in the future we will hire someone. I’m not sure yet.

 

Rachel: OK. You do coding as well. This is very impressive to me.

 

Priska: Very basic.

 

Rachel: I want to ask you how long has your website been up then? For people to find you organically through Google, you have to have contacts refreshed all the time and enough information on there. How long have you been doing that?

 

Priska: Everything started in May last year. We put up the website in May. We also were running something on Kickstarter. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.  Even now we’re still getting some referrals from that. People who are on Kickstarter find us, and then they go to our website through them. The Kickstarter funding was started way too early. We didn’t really have anything back then. As a result, we didn’t get funded.

 

But I think it did help a lot with people finding us and having probably a good SEO on that side, the press and PR.

 

Rachel: Right. Oh, that’s interesting. You’re still getting referrals from Kickstarter. For everyone that is listening, I’m sure most people understand what Kickstarter is, the crowed funding site. If enough people give you money and then they help you manufacture your product or make your movie, or make your CD, or lots of different projects that are on there. I want to ask you because your background entails this as well. You mentioned that the big-box retailer was going to give you four feet. Can you tell us a little bit about your expertise? You were able to go into the retailer and speak their language, basically. And you knew because of your background, where things go on a shelf and what all that means. Can you tell me a little bit about what’s important about shelf space? How do they decide shelf space? More on the background of your expertise prior to creating this product.

 

Priska: Well, while working at L’Oreal, I really had exposure that I never had before in other areas than just design. I was in meetings with sales, with marketing, with high management. And I saw every presentation, what the steps are, how they start something, and how it materializes and how long it takes. And as I know, I have worked on projects for 18 months that never see the light. Things go both ways. And everything or most of the things gets shown to the retailer very early in the beginning because they need their feedback. Then you have to remember that retailers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in research on their consumer. You really need to grab that information for free. We don’t have that kind of money, to do the research. Any feedback that the retailers offer is well received. We talked to two of the biggest retailers in the baby world, and they were very consistent with their feedback. Obviously, we didn’t hesitate in following the changes. That also comes from the corporate world. That’s the way things work, that’s the way you have to do them. Making a product before anybody has seen it, is very risky.

 

Rachel: That’s interesting. The retailer basically gave you this feedback. As somebody with your background, what’s the best place for people to see your product? Is there a certain rule of thumb, like you always wanted to be visually at their eye level. Is there a rule of thumb? I’m just asking. I don’t know.

 

Priska: I think placement is very important. The ideal situation for you to be is as soon as somebody enters a store, they want to see your product. But not all of the time that happens. You want to be, at least, at eye level. You want to be within the category. I found baby bottles. I shop at Babies ‘R’ Us a lot. I found baby bottles that are not on the baby bottle wall. And if I’m looking for baby bottles, I will go to the baby bottle wall first, at least. It’s important to be in the right place and the right area where people are going to be looking for products like yours. If you are lucky enough to get a whole vertical space from top to bottom, that’s great. Also, one of the things that I learned at L’Oreal is color is very important. When you have a lot of your product together, you want it to scream as a single color, having just a little accent of green. It’s hard to identify when the whole wall 16, 20 feet of baby bottles look white just like yours. It’s really hard to identify. I worked specifically on the Garnier brand. If you’re familiar with the Garnier brand, they’re neon green.

 

Rachel: I am.

 

Priska: And it’s always exciting to see as I walk down to Walgreen’s to see the wall how much the green pops and what I learned. Definitely the colors that were chosen for there were not an accident. We want to be really high in hue. I picture a modern baby rather than the soft baby blue and the soft pink which is so classic. It’s good, I love it. But I think that modern, it’s more brighter. Now, we’re seeing a lot of bright oranges with brown and aqua colors and green. We certainly want to utilize those colors and just build on that equity and have a strong presence on the wall. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do that.

 

Rachel: Right, right. Well, I think if you done your research and you saw most of them are white, that blue is definitely going to stand out. I find it fascinating the strategy that goes into it every time I talk to somebody. They have such strength in what their background is, and I always like to get into that a little bit because that’s part of what caused you to go the direction you did or make the decisions in your business that you’ve made. Thank you for sharing that. Are you going to sell direct to the consumer?

 

Priska: We are not geared for that, to tell you the truth. The company that I am dealing with, with manufacturing, has the capabilities, so it’s not impossible. It’s a decision that we have to make.

 

Rachel: OK.

 

Priska: I have a lot of international demand. I have to figure out a way to have the bottle available for these international moms, too. Offering through our website will probably be one way. I’m not sure yet if it’s the most viable way or not. We want to focus on the launch for theU. S.first. And then as I said, we have a lot of international demand, and maybe we’ll talk to distributors which I get, at least, two emails a week about that. They want to distribute in their country and so on. It’s a matter of having further conversations with them and see where we want to go.

 

Rachel: Right. Well, it sounds like it’s amazing, the demand. As a mom as well, my daughters are two and a half and four and a half. It was right when the Born Free bottle came out. For a shower gift I had gotten all the Dr. Brown’s bottles because I heard just in case those were good for colic. It was interesting that it was just five years ago that phthalic free and all of those things just started to happen with the bottles. Then I switched to all the Born Free, and that was the only option at that time for a healthy type of bottle. But I think about also all the different bottles I tried and how many I threw away. It’s so fascinating to me when I came across your product a few years ago that to me it definitely is a no-brainer. As a mom if you have any challenge and you’re using a bottle, it does make sense. I wish you the best of luck. I want to kind of close with what was your ‘aha’ moment? It sounds maybe like it was when you were nursing your own child. And one of your biggest challenges and how you overcame that?

 

Priska: Well, my main problem was the gas with my babies. That was my main focus. I wanted to create something that minimizes the gas as much as possible and that is air uptake. However, as I was designing this, something else came to my mind and said, hey, the nipple shade is weird on these bottles. I don’t have a clenched nipple I don’t think anyone. Why not design something that is also moves like the mother’s nipple? And that was a challenge that the engineers helped us a lot to design and make it come to life. And it turns out that this nipple extension is what’s getting moms very excited. As for a mom that doesn’t have a problem with a gassy baby, they still have the option of utilizing the nipple that allows them to go back and forth with the breast feeding.

 

Rachel: The biggest challenge from a business sense that you came across and how did you resolve that?

 

Priska: I think the biggest challenge was to select the correct manufacturer, especially after all the conversations we had with many of our manufacturers around here. Nobody could guarantee that the parts were going to be fine and within tolerance and make it work until all the molds were built. The risk was a couple hundred thousand dollars just to see if it’s OK or it needs to be redesigned or what the deal is. Going with this in an immediate company, I’m going to call it, has been really the greatest decision, I believe, because they are also taking responsibility for making it work which is fantastic. And as I said, two of the molds had to be done over again. But we are very close and as of yesterday, we just received some information about the material that is going to make things a lot easier. And that was the last piece of the puzzle, I think. It will be.

 

Rachel: Great, great. What advice would you give somebody starting out? You’re five years into this, and you’re still waiting for your product in a few months. What would you say to somebody who’s going to start an venture like yours?  Not necessarily baby bottles, but taking on a new type of product.

 

Priska: I think that they need feedback from as many people as possible. A lot of people are afraid of what’s going to happen, someone is going to steal their idea. Still patent the vision so you would protect it in a year. I would suggest to do that first with their ideas and just get this and stuff like that. Build a prototype. Go through [inaudible 42:58] and have it professionally done because it’s very hard to communicate a vision without having natural products or something that they can see. And just make appointments and show it to them. And obviously, they will give you the time, they would sit down with you and look at your product. And if they’re not interested, then you know that maybe, it’s not a good product.

 

Rachel: Right, right. Well, thank you, I appreciate that. I appreciate you sharing your story. I look forward to having you back in the future after it is launched and hear all about your sales and your business growth because I think you’re obviously going to be a huge success.

 

Priska: Well, thank you.

 

Rachel: You already are with everything that you’ve done. I’m excited for it to get to market. I can only imagine how you must feel. It’s your third baby.

 

Priska: Basically.

 

Rachel: BittyLab can be found online at www.bittylab.com, and for our viewers and listeners today if you like what you heard, please subscribe to our monthly newsletter so we can make you aware of future interviews.

 

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