I have always admired moms who seem to do it all. That’s why we launched MOMPRENEUR MONDAYS on the New Mom, Who Dis? Instagram Page- so we could celebrate small businesses run by moms. Now we want to help YOU make YOUR entrepreneurial dreams a reality by launching this MOMSPO column.
I’m talking to inspiring mompreneurs every week to see how they started their businesses, in hopes these conversations will provide some knowledge or insight or just that push you need to start something from the ground up. This week it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Natalie of Dough Parlour. Read, share, be inspired.
Jessi: What inspired you to start this business?
Natalie: Having four children of my own, and being a preschool teacher allowed me to experiment for years with different play dough blends and recipes. I knew I nailed it when parents of my students’ started asking for extra dough to take home because it was so effective at keeping their kids busy and calm. Playdough became a staple in my home and in my classroom, to assist with anxiety, as ice breakers, and even as a complementary component to the many different learning lessons we’d do. Adding that extrasensory component to classic lessons like math and geography made it more intriguing and interesting for my kids. I wanted to offer this to children everywhere!
What was your biggest fear about starting something on your own?
Natalie: I had zero business experience when I launched Dough Parlour, so I guess my biggest fear was failing. Even though I knew my product was unique and authentically tested by kids and parents, I still had doubts and underestimated myself. What do a mom and teacher know about business and product development? How can I compete with the bigger guys who have factories and who’ve had their dough on retail shelves for decades? How will I market this, I don’t have a degree! We underestimate ourselves!
Jessi: It’s one thing to have an idea or a dream, it’s another thing to go out and make it happen- what gave you that push you needed to say, F*CK IT, I’M DOING THIS!
Natalie: My students. Just seeing their delight day after day in my classroom was all the push I needed. I knew it was just a matter of getting the branding right and telling my story, and kids all around the country could indulge in a better, safer product.
Jessi: I hate asking moms this question (because dads NEVER get asked) but how DO you balance it all? What does your day-to-day look like?
Natalie: I’m privileged to have a great support system around me. My husband is my number one cheerleader and so are my parents and family. Without their help, I wouldn’t have been able to succeed tbh because having 4 kids is in itself a full-time job. Being an entrepreneur is like a rollercoaster, with so many highs and lows. It was and continues to be essential for me to find a routine for myself that allows me to unwind at the end of the day, and that allows me to rebalance. Sometimes that requires asking for help from family or friends – to take the kids for a few hours, to bring over/pick up some dinner, to give you an arm and upper back massage at the end of the day, lol. I’m not hesitant to reach out and ask for help and use my resources.
Jessi: What has been the most challenging part?
Natalie: I would have to say the physical exhaustion. Because play dough is basically a food product, in the beginning, I was “making and baking” the dough all by myself by hand. As my business started to grow, so did my hand and arm muscles LOL. Now I’m so grateful to have my own team of dough chefs, but at the beginning, it was pretty exhausting!
Jessi: What has been the most rewarding part?
Natalie: Receiving customer feedback from parents and grandparents, that their children are delighted, and that our products have helped parents find some time for themselves, or have helped calmed some tantrums. There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing your product is spreading joy and working!
Jessi: What advice would you give to a fellow mom who is thinking of starting her own business?
Natalie: Don’t underestimate yourself! I’ve learned SO many skills from being a mother that has helped me excel in my business – learning to multitask, conflict resolution, negotiation skills (do you know how many times a day Moms negotiate with their toddlers!) and I could go on and on. Have confidence in yourself and your product! YOU GOT THIS!