Interview with Summer Morris of Unique Baby Boutique
Summer Morris, consultant with Unique Baby Boutique, is our lucky interviewee of the month. She shares with us ways that the company helps introduce slings to parents through its unique business model.
Q. Could you please describe Unique Baby Boutique?
A. It began as a dream for our founder, Kim Pekin, a person committed to attachment parenting. She found that the mainstream baby stores did not meet her needs and the needs of other like-minded parents. She wanted to find a way to make attachment parenting, breastfeeding, and natural childbirth products available to more people.
In addition, Kim wanted to help stay-at-home mothers by developing a career opportunity that would enable them to care for their children while earning a substantial income. Home parties and network marketing were the concepts that brought it all together and created Unique Baby Boutique.
We provide products that are generally not available in mainstream retail stores, sharing the joy of attachment parenting with people who may not have otherwise considered its importance, and we offer a rewarding opportunity to those who feel promoting attachment parenting is an important and worthwhile career.
Q. How long have you been in business?
A. Unique Baby Boutique was founded in 2002 and I've been with them since March of 2003.
Q. What inspired you to get started?
A. I actually got an email about this new direct selling company. Normally I would just delete it, but for some reason I opened it and I really liked what I saw. The products are fabulous! I have never like direct selling; I couldn't really find products that I could get behind, or there were just too many reps for other companies saturating the market. But I use the UBB products and feel good about selling them.
Q. Tell us which baby carriers you sell.
A. Currently we sell Maya Wraps, the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder, and the New Native.
Q. I've heard a rumor that UBB will be selling EllaRoos soon. Can you shed any light on that? Any other carriers in the works?
A. Yes, we are going to sell the EllaRoo Wrap Carrier when our new catalog is released, which should be in early May. We'll have all sizes and colors available. As far as any other carriers go, we have several under consideration at this time, but have not made a decision. There will probably be a new sling added to our line this fall.
Q. What kind of advantages do you see to selling through home parties?
A. I can get to people who normally wouldn't see many of our products. They get to try out the slings and such before they buy, so they can determine which kind is right for them. They can see that our carriers aren't going to strain their necks like other more mainstream carriers may.
Q. What are the challenges?
A. Finding the time with my ever growing family!
Q. What kind of interest do you see in slings, compared to your other products?
A. Slings are one of our most popular products. We have such a wide variety of items: some people come to us for our great selection of HABA toys, others come to us for our amazing spa products, and yet others come to us for baby products, including slings. With our business model, we are able to introduce slings to women who wouldn't have otherwise considered a sling. We get a lot of very "mainstream" customers who have never even seen one of their friends use a sling. Once they see one in use, and see how much it can change the way that they live their lives, they become very interested in slings.
Q. Has the interest changed in the year that you have been involved?
A. Yes. At first, we were "preaching to the choir." Most of our customers were very familiar with slings, attachment parenting, natural parenting, etc. Over the past year, that customer base has expanded to more mainstream people. Most of the interest in our slings lately has been from people who have never seen a sling before.
Q. Where do you live?
A. Vancouver, WA
Q. With whom do you live and how are they related to you? Please describe them a little bit.
A. I live with my husband of 6 years, Aaron - my high school sweetheart. We've been together for 12 years, since I was 15! Aaron is sort of a shy kind of guy, so I probably shouldn't talk a lot about him!
My oldest son, Brendan, just turned 5 in January. He has a moderate hearing loss and needs to wear hearing aids, so he's a little difficult at times. But he is very bright and has a very infectious laugh.
My middle son, Tyler, will be 3 this June. He's my singer and dancer - the sensitive type.
My youngest is my only girl, Kaylie Anne. She just turned 4 months old and is the only girl of 10 grandchildren! She looks just like Brendan.
Q. Do you have any hobbies? If so, what?
A. Ha! I have no time for hobbies - I run four businesses! Yes, four! But once in a blue moon, if I have the time I like going camping and swimming, and if Aaron and I get a chance we might go to see a local rock band.
Q. What did you do before you went into the baby business?
A. What haven't I done! I've been a nanny, certified nurse assistant, pharmacy technician, daycare owner and currently (other than UBB) I publish a local family magazine, sew baby slings, and I own a preschool fitness franchise. Whew!
Q. How do you manage balancing personal and professional life?
A. I'm not sure!
Q. Choose any day of the week and describe it in as little or as much detail as you want.
- 6:00AM - go work out
- 7:30 - get Tyler ready for his preschool (daddy takes him)
- 7:45 - feed and change Kaylie so she can get back to sleep
- 8 - check e-mails, make calls
- 8:30 - get Brendan breakfast and get back to emails and calls
- 9-11:00 - feed, change Kaylie, get Brendan ready for preschool, snack, play
- 11:15 - bus comes to get Brendan
- 11:30 - go pick up Tyler from his preschool
- 12-1PM - feed, change Kaylie, make Tyler's lunch, eat lunch myself
- 1:30 - nap time for the kids! WOOHOO! work some more
2:20 - Brendan comes home, feed him, talk about his day
3:00 - work, play, work, eat, nurse, change diaper, nurse, change diaper
(hmm, I see a pattern!)
6:00 - make dinner
7:00 - Aaron comes home and we all eat dinner at the table (very important!)
8:00- watch a little tv, if kids will let me!
8:30 - Off to bed the kids go!
9:00 - maybe watch tv with Aaron, or sew or do more work...
Between 10-11-- Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to bed we go!
Q. What is your favorite baby carrier, and why?
A. I'm a pouch girl myself. I use slings that I make and the New Native. I love any kind of pouch. They're super easy!
Q. What is one of your favorite slinging moments?
A. Well I don't really have one in particular, but I love when people, especially little old ladies, come up to me and say, "Oh what a great idea! Where was that when I was having babies?" Then I say, Everywhere but here!" They usually mention that they have a daughter or grand-daughter that's going to have a baby and I let them know that I sell them! Then I give them a card! I love to see people willing to give slings a chance.
Q. What is the last good book you read, and why?
A. Other than kids' books, I don't really read books. I think I have ADD - I can't focus enough to read something that long. I love researching things, so I guess that's my reading!
Q. The last good movie?
A. Hmm, we just saw "The Matrix Revolutions." That was interesting.
Q. What's the most useless talent that you possess?
A. I can wiggle my right ear. Not my left though. I'm not sure why.
Q. What are your three favorite websites?
A. Other than Unique Baby Boutique!? Umm...I love The Babywearer. (No, I'm not kissing up! I really do love it.) Not sure of any other websites I visit. I like to keep in touch with my birth club mommies though!
Q. Assume money and time are no issue - where would you most like to visit?
A. Hawaii! Come on, sun!
Q. What is one important thing you think we could all do to make the world a better place?
A. Be more tolerant and patient.
Q. Is there anything else the babywearing world should know about you?
A. I think you probably know just about everything! If anyone needs to know anything else, just ask, I'm a very open person!
© Beth Manning, May 2004. All rights reserved.