Nicole Mortimer knows her way around a diaper changing. As a mother of two, she dreaded the night time changing— sleepers with snaps were difficult to fasten in the dark, and front zipper sleepers let in cold air, leaving her babies freezing and awake.
It became Nicole’s mission to design a better sleeper. Focusing on simple design and functionality, she developed ZippyJamz: a patent-pending design that combines two zippers in a single garment. The first zipper runs along the front of the sleeper to make dressing easier. The second zipper runs along the inseam to make diaper changing convenient.
We caught up with Nicole to find out more about her inspiration, business journey, and plans for the future.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR COMPANY?
Once I became a mother, I quickly realized that I would be changing 15+ diapers daily. This was the motivation I needed to reinvent the baby sleeper. I wanted to make diaper changing easy for parents and comfortable for babies.
WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST REWARDING ABOUT BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR? WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST CHALLENGING?
It’s rewarding to hear from parents that ZippyJamz has made a positive difference for their family, but it’s challenging to feel like I work alone some days. It’s important for entrepreneurs to build a network of people to provide support.
When you’re an entrepreneur, the constant learning curve is also a challenge. Initially, I was doing a bit of everything: sales, operations, fabric design, accounting, social media, and more. However, experiencing each role has helped me to appreciate all the support I now get from my partners.
HOW HAS ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEFIED OR LIVED UP TO YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of hard work! The flexibility is great, but that also means the workday never ends. My passion to bring ZippyJamz to parents and babies everywhere helps me through the harder days.
HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH INNOVATION FACTORY?
When I first came up with my idea for ZippyJamz, I sought validation. I thought pitching my business would be a great way to do this, so I searched for opportunities. I soon signed up for Innovation Factory’s ELEV8 Pitch Competition.
WHAT HAVE YOU VALUED MOST ABOUT INNOVATION FACTORY’S SERVICES/SUPPORT?
Innovation Factory has an appreciation for innovation in every sense. If you have incredible work ethic and a great idea, product, or service that people want, iF will help you make it a reality.
HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS?
Positive cash flow is an important indicator of success. I also consider a well-balanced life to be important. As an entrepreneur, I have to make sure I am properly balancing work, family, friends, and self care.
WHAT DIFFERENTIATES YOU FROM YOUR COMPETITION?
ZippyJamz’s patented two closed-end zippers are the biggest differentiator. We also set ourselves apart with tailored customer service, short production cycles, and unique fabric prints.
WHAT IS THE BEST RECOGNITION YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
Positive feedback from parents is the best recognition. Knowing that I’ve helped parents struggling with sleepless nights or potty training is what motivates me. As a parent, I deal with these things daily.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT YEAR AND BEYOND?
In the last two months Zippyjamz sales have grown exponentially. We will be expanding further in 2017 with new local and international distributing partners and sales representatives. Attendance at key tradeshows this year will also help with building the ZippyJamz brand and direct sales.
WHAT SUPPORT WILL YOU LOOK TO INNOVATION FACTORY FOR IN THE COMING MONTHS?
I will be looking to Innovation Factory for guidance on implementing new sales strategies and increasing operational efficiency.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS WHO MAY JUST HAVE AN IDEA?
You need a great idea and work ethic. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get comfortable starting things before you are completely ready. Don’t overthink it or you could easily never start. Stop comparing yourself to others and make sure to have some fun along the way!
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