For many entrepreneurs, inspiration and innovation come from everyday moments, and the desire to make their lives better. Three sellers share how their brands and products help people live their best lives—and how family plays a role in inspiration and business.
Josef Verovic, GIRL+HAIR
GIRL+HAIR was founded by husband-and-wife team, Josef and Dr. Camille Verovic. The brand was inspired by Camille’s journey to find the right products for her hair care needs. GIRL+HAIR is a natural protective hair care line all about empowering women to embrace their natural hair while providing protection, no matter how they style it. The venture is a team effort, and while Camille focused on her medical residency program and becoming a dermatologist, Josef stepped up to run their business.
Christine Krogue, Smart Sheep and Inspiration Play
Christine’s sons were experts at pulling off their socks, resulting in lost socks and cold feet wherever they went. By the time she had her fourth son, she came up with an idea that could help solve her problem. Christine created her first venture, called Baby Undersocks. It was a pair Thermal pants with socks attached, to keep socks on and toes warm. Undersocks worked like magic, and her baby loved them.
Baby Undersocks was just the beginning of Christine’s entrepreneurship journey, and she soon expanded her brands to include Smart Sheep wool dryer balls and Inspiration Play, a line of family-friendly games and toys both available in the Amazon store.
Kerry Mellin, EazyHold
EazyHold was born from necessity, as Kerry Mellin found herself in pain while sweeping her barn. She decided to fasten some duct tape around the broom handle to make gripping the broom easier, and found that the duct tape made sweeping less painful as well. Next thing Kerry knew, she and her sisters were creating prototypes of assistive gripping devices, thinking they would be helpful for people as they age and want to maintain pain-free living. What they didn’t see coming was the demand for assistive gripping devices for children with special needs. Now, EazyHold silicone straps are used globally by people of all ages to help improve quality of life.
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00:09 – [Josef] Focus on ecommerce first. In retrospect, I would say I would have done differently, is to not to spread out too quickly to retail, etc., and other marketplaces because it takes a lot, a lot of time to figure out one marketplace alone.
00:33 – [Christine] Branding is really important. I think standing out as a brand with like core values, a brand story, an aesthetic for your brand is really important and something that some people overlook.
00:49 – [Kerry] Really watch your feedback. Checking your feedback every day because that’ll tell you exactly how you are doing [in Amazon’s store]. Are you delivering your product on time? Is the customer happy with your product? And so, I would say check that every day because that’s the most important part about keeping a good rating.
01:15 – [Kerry] My sisters and I started it together, Wendy and Merrily. We started our business because we are passionate about helping people live their best lives, living lives of independence. My mom is our sounding board. She is 96 years old and we all still sneak over to her house to get her advice on things, if we’re having a little bit of differences. She knows her daughter best and she seems to be able to sort it out for us.
01:42 – [Christine] All of our kids that are like, you know, 10 and older, they are on our payroll and they get involved. We’ve taken them on business trips with us. We went to visit our supplier in Nepal. We took our two oldest kids with us and they had a great time learning about the culture there and how the business runs overseas. And it was a great experience.
02:01 – [Josef] We’re a family-owned business, husband and wife team. And so, we make all of the decisions sort of together. Luckily, you know, we have skills that complement each other’s. So, it is really, really inspiring to just have conversations with her, try to find solutions to problems, and just generally grow our business together.
02:33 – [Christine] So we had a customer reach out to me that her son has autism and he absolutely loved playing our game, “Rail Wreck,” at his preschool. And she bought the game but our new game is in different colors than the one he was used to and he was upset about that. So, she asked for an old copy of the game and we searched our warehouse, our garage, everywhere we could think of and couldn’t find a copy of the old game. But I was able to reach out to my sister-in-law, who had an old copy of the game that was still in really good condition. And she sent it to this lady and she just sent me the nicest email saying, you know, it just absolutely made her son’s year to have a copy of this game and, and that she was really grateful that we took the extra time to find a copy for her.
03:17 – [Josef] My biggest inspiration is my wife and business partner. Such a brilliant mind. She’s a leader. She is full of ideas and full of energy. And it’s just a motivation to work with her on a daily basis.
03:37 – [Kerry] My mom is definitely my inspiration. At 96, she is still fighting for women’s rights and she is my inspiration. Every day when I work and when I want to create a business for my family, I think of her and the life she has given myself and my sisters.