Sheila Fauman conceived basic baby co. from a desire to simplify the experience of shopping for a gift for a newborn or a new parent. She’s not a mother but she has lots of kids in her life. The three-year old company was a by-product of seeing all of her friends become moms. Fauman was shocked at how unprepared the new mothers were. Despite having everything for their babies, they didn’t have the tools that they needed for themselves post-partum. That was the missing piece and the reason that she founded basic baby co. Plus, hearing stories about partners having to go out at midnight to buy nipple cream or maternity pads spurred the solutions driven violence prevention consultant into action.
Fauman’s background is in social services. After her undergrad, she tried her hand at a few different things, beginning her career as a probation officer while getting her Masters of Counseling Psychology. She worked with non-profits and half-way houses after getting her Masters. Her passion is helping people with their mental health, who have been through trauma or have substance abuse issues.
Through her counseling experience, she has been exposed to things that she has never been through herself which is why she has a realistic view of what new moms need. “It’s about connecting with the feelings that people are going through.” said Fauman, “ We’ve all been in situations where we have been blind-sided by things that were supposed to be wonderful and that were actually really difficult. We may have felt very lonely in that process. Like we were doing something wrong because it wasn’t perfect. Those are feelings that we can all resonate with. Those are feelings that a lot of women feel in those post-partum days, weeks and months.”
Her website, basicbabyco.com is also a resource for women both pre-and post-pregnancy through the blogging section. She feels that women’s health issues do not get enough recognition, especially in this context and that having a baby can be glamourized. “We have done some work, bringing in my love for mental health, with a campaign around post-partum depression and anxiety. The best part of having my own business is that I can advocate for those pieces because these are important conversations that need to happen.”
We had the chance to learn more and spoke with Fauman about her website and her advice for small business owners:
Your small business is a mother-daughter venture. Talk us through the challenges that come with working with family.
This was not part of either one of our plans. It is unrelated to my career and my mother is comfortably settled into retirement. She didn’t have any desire to become an entrepreneur or to back one. The biggest challenge is that we are at such different stages of our lives and our appetite for risk is very different. I launched basic baby co. in my mid-thirties, and I wasn’t risk averse, but she is much more conservative. There is also a bit of a generation gap. She has Facebook and Instagram, but doesn’t post so trying to discuss marketing strategy in 2020 can be a challenge. But she believes in me, and we have a very strong relationship – without that, this would be a lot more challenging.
The products on basic baby co. are targeted to things that you didn’t know that you would need either for baby or for a post-partum mom. How did you pick this niche and how do you go about selecting your products?
We are really focused on the practical piece of post partum care packages for moms and babies. I’ve done the research and do get caught up in how cute a little t-shirt is, but if it’s not practical it’s not part of our brand or inventory. We focus on things that we know will be used by a mom and grow with the baby or serve a very specific purpose like our post partum kit. Quality is also important – just because it’s practical doesn’t mean that we don’t want it to be cute. Our products aren’t the most affordable, but that comes with having products that are the quality that we are looking for, that I believe in and I want that available to my customers.
Motherhood is a beautiful thing, but having a newborn isn’t always pretty – there are a lot of pieces to it. The immediate days after giving birth are challenging and messy and a lot of people aren’t inclined to talk about it. These women can have a two-day old baby at home, have physically gone through so much and have the cute outfits for baby hung perfectly in the closet but they aren’t prepared with what they need for themselves.
I love going to baby showers and giving a thoughtful gift that is useful, helpful and supportive of the new mom’s needs too. Our selection has been adapted along the way based on responses to the products and has evolved into the unique, gift-giving company that you see today where you can find baby gear, but there is also a focus on the expecting mom. The selection of products for new moms is painfully practical, but it means getting those gifts that you actually will use.
People rarely speak about what a new mom goes through after delivering their baby. What items would you suggest that every new mom needs postpartum?
Based on feedback that we received and the research that I have done, postpartum pads and the disposable mesh underwear are musts. The underwear offer comfort, even if you have had a C-section. They are useful for everything from stitches to hemorrhoids.
What items for baby do most new moms not think about buying?
New moms think about all of it and then some when it comes to babies. They go into that nesting mode and they are so focused on making sure that they have everything for the baby that they forget about themselves. It’s important for new mothers to take care of themselves and it’s a priority that is often missed.
As a small business, you support other small business on your website. Why is this so important to you?
The chance to support good people doing good things is an opportunity for all of us and it’s a privilege. We are all trying to figure this out so why not do it together and try to support each other? Community and human connections are fundamental to our needs as people whether it’s in the context of business or friendship. Being able to foster those connections is imperative to everyone’s success.
As a woman who has built a small business, what advice do you have for other women out there who may want to start their own?
Be prepared to be adaptable – it’s never going to go as planned. You have to believe in yourself, be ready to take a chance and not be risk averse. You have to be your own cheerleader. There are going to be the big wins and you need to celebrate those. There are also going to be those moments where you think oh my gosh what am I doing? You have to be resilient and persevere – the rest of it, you can learn as you go. Google is an amazing thing. Community is an amazing thing. There are ample places to learn the tangible skills. It’s about being ready to take the chance. We are a lot stronger than we know and stronger and more capable that we give ourselves credit for. There is no good time to do these things If it’s part of your dream, go chase it.