The story of Grace Welch, an incredibly successful mompreneur, featured among others on the “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” (“Moms who Made Millions”), ‘The Big Idea’ with Donny Deutsch , The Washington Post, People Magazine, The View, and the multitude of other leading American lifestyle-and parenting magazines is truly impressing. And for me personally the question is: can I add anything more to what has already been written?
The popular quotation ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ has literally materialized in the Grace Welch’s idea. As a mom of – at that time – 2 small children – she was seeking practical solutions in her choice of baby gear. One of the most unpractical and unflexible products she came across was the rectangular diaper changing pad – and suddenly… the idea was there: a round changing pad simply made much more sense!
As a graduate from New York University with a background in Public Relations/Marketing/Branding, she went quickly from the theory to practice using word-of-mouth marketing. Within five months she launched her website, her pad was patent-pending, and she run a successful e-business. Her patemm® pads quickly became a ‘must-have’ baby essential with parents/caretakers and even celebrity moms such as Courteney Cox-Arquette, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brooke Shields and Heidi Klum took notice and became fans.
W-WomenGlobally: I think in order to give some other edge to this interview, different from so many other great interviews you have been through, we may concentrate on the global approach. Do you have plans of going global?
Grace Welch, CEO, patemm inc: We are planning to go global in the very near future! Currently, we are only selling patemm® pads in the US. We have been contacted worldwide – from Canada and to as far as Australia – and everywhere else in between (Dubai, Europe, South America, Asia, etc). As we approach our 5th year in business, we are “going (more) green” in our upcoming assortment and we are planning to extend our line. Patemm is also looking for potential investors.
W-WG: What do you think was the main reason patemm® pad has become such a great success? How did it happen?
GW: I saw a need – and I filled it: plain and simple. The idea for a round diaper changing pad instead of the standard rectangular pads just made sense. Our marketing strategy was to spread the word on our product through viral marketing techniques. This technique was very successful for us. The key was driving customers to our website through the media, blogs, etc. In turn, our customers / users became our best salespeople. When we first started our business, we sold our patemm® pads exclusively online through our website: www.patemm.com. Today, our patemms are still sold online through our website, at target.com (our very first retailer), as well as select retailers and online boutiques across the country.
W-WG: You were a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, which is every American woman-entrepreneur’s dream. What was it like?
GW: As you can imagine, I was beyond thrilled. Appearing on the show was so exciting but it was also a very surreal experience. I received a call from the producer on a Tuesday and the following morning my husband Marty, my youngest son Jack and I were on a plane to Chicago! Even today, I still cannot believe it. I was truly honored and blessed to appear as a guest on the show. (see the show here!)
W-WG: Are still you operating as one person only or you have some employees/ outsourcing?
GW: My husband Marty and I run the company and we also have 2 part-time/seasonal employees. We outsource production and other services such as web maintenance, book keeping/accounting, etc.
W-WG: How can you describe being mother to – now – 4 small children and at the same time having own, very successful business. Is it hard to combine, is it any advice you may give to other moms on the basis of your own experience?
GW: First and foremost, I’m a mom. I’m a working mom who owns and runs a business. I have the same challenges/stresses like most moms and I have to say that it is never easy. However, I somehow make it work for me and my family and for patemm. I have to be flexible everyday and I always have to expect the unexpected. I’m also very blessed to have a very supportive family—my husband Marty, 4 fantastic kids, and my parents. I really don’t know where I or patemm would be without them!
It is also important to prioritize as much as you can, control your stress level, and of course – try to make time out for yourself.
When I first started patemm, I thought I could do it all but I quickly realized, that I could only do what I was able to…. So my advice is: don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it! Do what you are best at and surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are.
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