Latest goumikids News
Sep 5, 2019
Share to facebook MARLA CYREE You will see countless articles written on the fact that we need more women entrepreneurs. The good news is that women who start companies is on the rise. In the past 20 years, the number of women-owned firms in the USA has increased 114%. A recent Nielsen research survey on Gen Z shows 54% of all respondents indicating they want to start a company. So what are the challenges of being a mother and an entrepreneur? To better understand what it takes, I reached out to Lilli Yeo who co-founded goumikids in 2011 after her first child was born. Frustrated and disappointed with the cheap, ordinary and ill-fitting options in baby clothing and accessories, she set out to create a line of baby clothing that was beautiful, thoughtful and better for the planet. She led the incubation and launch of goumikids and is the driving force behind its continued growth and innovation. As an entrepreneur and mother of two daughters, Yeo has created a culture of empowerment, encouraging herself and her team to be great parents and good citizens first. Here is the recent interview and her insights: Bernhard Schroeder: What in your background prepared you for becoming an entrepreneur? Lili Yeo: It may sound cliché, but I honestly believe I was born to do this. Heritage definitely played a part. Coming from a family of women entrepreneurs on my dad’s side, the question was never whether or not I was going to be in business, it was more what I was going to get into and when? I am forever grateful for that upbringing that gave me the critical balance of pragmatism and not taking myself too seriously. Schroeder: Was being a mom a plus or a negative regarding the launch of this company? Yeo: An absolutely requisite! Moms are world-class at resourcefulness, juggling multiple things and being the last line of defense at getting things done well and on time; these are all critical traits for entrepreneurs. And specifically for goumi, it was paramount. It takes a mom to determine the most essential products, what needs to change about them and how to connect and find other moms out there to spread the word. Schroeder: How did you come up with the idea for your startup? Yeo: It started at the kitchen table. I was on maternity leave. And my co-founder Linsey and I were sharing motherhood stories and talking about how products that we found essential should be made better. If a product we evaluated worked, they weren’t beautiful. If they were beautiful they didn’t work all that well. And if they were good to the planet, they usually weren’t the first two. We’re in the 21st century and our planet and children need us to do better. Babies in goumi clothes Schroeder: What were your early frustrations in your startup? Yeo: In many cases in our world, still, support is reserved only for those who are BIG or have the potential to be BIG. It is as though the deck is stacked against startups and you have to work extra hard just to survive and share your contribution to the world. Barrier to entry in this industry is high and most challenging to a small company. Getting your product produced will cost you more because of your low minimum orders. And sales representation was difficult because we had a limited assortment. Schroeder: What inspired you early in your entrepreneurial journey? Yeo: The power of someone believing in me, our mission, our product and what we set out to do. Back then when we started eight years ago, it was baby boutique owners. It took the belief of one to get us to fine tune the right packaging, pricing and message. It took the belief of another to buy our first wholesale order and bring her other retailer friends to our booth at our initial trade show and sell us out of our entire collection. Schroeder: What has been the most rewarding part of your entrepreneurial journey? Yeo: Do I only get to choose one? ;) Here are definitely my highlights: Being able to help almost a million babies in 46 countries. Helping over 85 women leave the world of human trafficking and having a different choice for their lives. Giving my daughters the belief that they can aspire to open their own business someday as an Asian American immigrant woman in the USA. And for me, living out what I was born to do and finding my people, my tribe, my fellow entrepreneurs. Schroeder: Was it any harder being an entrepreneur as a woman? Yeo: Yes and no. Yes, because the responsibilities and expectations of you don’t change at home just because you’re an entrepreneur. No, because I have never felt more camaraderie and openness and support in this journey simply because I am a woman and an entrepreneur. Schroeder: What would be your advice to woman, and moms, who want to be an entrepreneur? Yeo: So many! First, know down to your core why you want to endeavor in this journey and what is the scorecard that you will hold yourself to that really matters to you, not what matters to others. Second, get yourself a world-class support system. Whether that’s friends or advisors who you can speed dial and will speak the truth to you in your most trying moments. And finally, nail that value proposition you are bringing to market. Make sure it’s unique, clear and defensible. You’d be amazed at how the rest of the details are easily sorted out or how much harder the journey becomes without it. Follow me on LinkedIn .Check out my website .