Tell us about your business.Solly Baby was born in the sewing nook of our little, craftsman home in Salt Lake City right after I had my second child. I had always been a baby wearing advocate but I was frustrated with other carriers so, after buying my first serger on Craigslist, I went to work while my babies slept. After selling the first 500 or so through Etsy, I found better suppliers and manufacturers and relaunched with a new design, eco-friendly fabrics, custom colors for every season, and letterpress packaging, printed by my husband by hand on one of our family's vintage presses. We have marketed almost entirely through social media and have been amazed by how well we've been supported by fashion bloggers, designers, and moms around the globe. Our top priority is to continue to create well-designed products for caregivers that represent their personal aesthetic and bring them closer to their little ones.
What makes your business stand out?We haven't followed a corporate model. We didn't even start with a business plan. We rarely go to trade shows and we aren't waiting for a big box store to pick us up. We set our own boundaries and hope that our customers will respond. Luckily, they have, and we continue to grow exponentially in one of the most over-saturated, corporate-driven markets. We are very much a family business. Running this business is an organic part of our family, even though our children are very young (4, 2, and one on the way). Visiting a supplier or dropping off a donation to a charitable organization often happens on the way to the science museum or the park. The day to day can be messy at times, but, for the most part, it's really beautiful and we feel that one of the best gifts we can give our children is a proactive, entrepreneurial spirit, which makes the sacrifices seem small. For us, business couldn't be more personal and we like it that way.
What's the best business advice you've received?Your business can be whatever you want it to be. You don't have to follow a corporate model to be successful. There are all kinds of varying levels of success and you can find your own niche and own it. But, whatever you do, do it authentically. Do it because you love it and you believe in what you're doing. And tell a story while you're doing it. Everyone loves a good story.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 8, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.