If you’re addicted to shark tank like a lot of us, then this post is for you. We’re not casting, we’re sharing a success story of a female co-founder who got succeeded in getting her deal.
Sitting in opposite ends of the globe <New York and Seoul>, working in different time zones and coming from varying industries- Marketing & Industrial Design, two women came together as if miraculously and founded Doddle & Co, a baby product company that’s rocking up all kids departments in boutiques and department stores nationwide. Their passion and zeal to create a product that solves a basic problem for moms with infants is the result of this modern company.
In this week’s entrepreneurial feature, Doddle & Co co- founder Nicki Radzely tells us why she and her business partner felt that there was a need for better teethers and pacifiers in the market, their experience being on the popular TV series Shark tank, and how she virtually runs her business with a group of passionate moms. If you’re a mom out there with a brilliant business idea, this is one is perfect for you.
What is Doddle&Co?
Doddle & Company is a design company at its core that creates baby products in a way that has never been done before (our designs are patented because they’re so unique). In a nutshell: We make better baby products.
How did you come about with the idea?
My business partner, Janna Badger is an industrial designer and it was her idea! She was inspired while sitting in church one day, expecting her first child and watching a mother in front of her, constantly snatching the pacifier off the floor and giving it back to her baby.
Was there a market gap?
I believe we found the gap intuitively by knowing that, as mothers ourselves, a dirty pacifier was a point of friction every day. We wondered: How great would it be if you could design something that saved you a few trips to the sink and allowed you to simply pick it up and give it back to your baby without a second thought?
OK, so you’ve got the idea, your co-founder and the prototype, what was your next step?
Trade shows, raising money, building the brand foundation, building the site and ultimately figuring out our strategy.
The best of ideas must go on Shark Tank. What made you to decide to go on the show?
PR: I wanted to get our brand out there if given the opportunity,
Finance: I wanted a good investment deal and
Challenge: I wanted to see what we were made of 🙂
I received good advice a while back: Do what is uncomfortable and a little scary. So, given the opportunity, I’ll always try and take it.
What was the experience like?
Going into it, it was adrenaline pumping, nerve racking and in hindsight, kinda wonderful. It’s a cocktail of the above. You don’t know what’s going to happen because there are so many variables between the actual performance, your nerves and their editing. So… it’s all of the above!
Would you recommend any one going to present on Shark Tank or does it take a certain kind of person?
It definitely takes a certain kind of person and those are almost always entrepreneurs! I’d recommend that everybody try to run after press, especially earned press. It’s always a good idea. Here are my tips:
- Watch many episodes and listen to interviews that the sharks have given outside of the show especially about their journey.
- My number one tip is to practice in many groups of people that you believe are smarter than you.
- Have them try to punch as many holes in you as possible. This will make you very confident and so once you are on stage, it is only your character and personality that you need to worry about!
My number one tip is to practice in many groups of people that you believe are smarter than you.– Nicki Radzely on presenting to the Shark Tank team
What’s it like to start a company with no background in entrepreneurship or the consumer goods industry?
It’s exhilarating and humbling. You never know enough, you can never be 100% sure because all decisions are usually intuitive and calculated, but the beauty is that you get to keep getting up, dusting off and walking along if you choose to. We’ve had immense challenges… but I’m ultimately, the boss. So, as long as I get back up, then we continue on. And I like that, because I like getting up and looking at those curve-balls squarely and remembering what they taught me and ultimately what they teach all of us.
Given you had to learn a lot along the way, what would you say was your biggest learning challenge?
The biggest challenge to date has been to work on our pipeline while running the business. When you are bootstrap (first 2.5 years), managing cash and paying for research & development is really tough but necessary for growth. So, this has been a challenge but we are excited to release new products later this year and in 2020!
You run a virtual team of passionate moms- how has that worked for you?
It’s a wild ride, but I think we kinda love the flexibility and ability to be close to our families but still have our professional pursuits in full swing. We are all building a beautiful brand and doing it from a very personal place, our homes. I think that’s fantastic and I’d like to keep this central to Doddle.
I believe our culture is on the empathetic and personal side. I want to treat people how I would want to be treated, which usually is a big dose of forgiveness when I mess up and flexibility to make mistakes and be all right with them. We are a team and that means that if someone makes a mistake we are all going to drop down and pick them up.
Same with our successes, we will all rise together. It is my dream to maximize our sales and share that with the team of women who have made this all possible.
Tactically, Skype and Zoom are our best friends and setting less meeting and picking up the phone on a whim to work something out is always best. Some of us might be in the line at Target, but we usually pick up the phone and get the matter handled and waste little time doing so!
Pacifiers is your current product that you’re known for. What’s in the future of Doddle&co?
We have more pacifiers coming out — completely new & different designs, shapes and of course color! We have more Chew teethers (that I’m obsessed with) coming later this year. We also have some exciting are new products in the baby care category all lined up for 2020. Stay tuned 🙂
Quote you live by?
“Say and do”
Doddle & Co. Pacifiers are found in most major retail stores.
Photography by the talented
Jordan Frey from Hey Renné.