Introducing Carly Dorogi,
Happy-Go-Baby is excited to learn more about Carly and the BRILLIANT Sticky Bellies!!! This easy way to create history should be done by everyone!!! How many times have you wondered the age of a baby in a picture? This unique and very practical way will help with the wonder!!! Testimonials
So excited for this interview! Please welcome Carly Dorogi, creator of Sticky Bellies, which has been out in the market since July, 2010.
Happy-Go-Baby: Welcome Carly. First, when did you know that you wanted to become an inventor/entrepreneur? Second, How did you come up with the idea and what was your path of development?
Carly Dorogi: As a child, my mom owned a company that created custom appliqued sweatshirts. There was never a special occasion that my sister and I were not outfitted head-to-toe in an appliqued sweatsuit (hey, it was the 1980s!) that matched the celebration. Every milestone, holiday, or party had a matching shirt to go with it!
When my own daughter was born, I knew I wanted to document & celebrate her growth by taking a monthly photograph and keep with the family tradition of having a special shirt for her to wear. It would allow me to know how old she was in the pictures and make for adorable images to share with family & friends near and far in online photo albums. Unfortunately (or fortunately!), I had neither the time nor the skill required to create custom shirts and knew there had to be an easier way. The pre-made custom onesies I found were expensive, especially when they would only be used for a one-time, quick picture. Sitting in our living room one night, I said to my husband, "Someone needs to come up with a removable sticker that would look like it was part of the shirt but could be removed after the photoshoot." His response? "Why don't you?" At that moment, Sticky Bellies was born. For the first year of my company's existence, I raised my daughter (who was under 1 year old), worked full time as an elementary school teacher and created our first product, the "Oh Sew Cute" gender-neutral removable monthly milestone stickers. We've since expanded our line to six sticker sets and have Sticky Bellies available in over 600 stores worldwide.
Happy-Go-Baby: What are some of your favorite experiences so far since Sticky Bellies has been out in the market?
Carly Dorogi: I absolutely love that every morning I wake up to customer e-mails with pictures of adorable babies wearing Sticky Bellies. What could be better? It’s so amazing to hear from our customers and realize that we are a part of their family memories, and a part of a cherished photo that will stay in that family forever.
I’ve also really enjoyed working with our web designer and graphic designer to create our new website and latest Sticky Bellies’ product line. I love being a part of the creative process and the world of technology is fascinating to me. I’ve learned SO much from these people and their skill set and intelligence is just incredible.
Having Parents Magazine publish a full page editorial feature on our product was also thrilling. I didn’t really mention it to anyone, so having friends calling and e-mailing to tell me they had seen the feature was fun. I have the cover of that issue and our feature hanging on the wall in my office. I’m pretty proud of that one, as it was our first big editorial feature, and it was just a result of the editors loving our product – no pitch or PR company involved!
Happy-Go-Baby: Tell us a bit about any special projects or new product?
Carly Dorogi: We just released our Summer 2011 line of milestone stickers which includes five new products: Maternity stickers, gender-specific stickers, and stickers for baby’s second year (13-24 months). It’s really exciting that we will now be able to watch a baby grow from the time she is in the womb (with our maternity stickers for mama’s belly) to the time she turns two years old. I’m also really excited about a partnership we just formed with Operation Shower, which hosts baby showers for military families who are expecting. These families will be receiving free Sticky Bellies merchandise at fabulous showers across the country to thank them for serving our country.
Happy-Go-Baby: Who or what has been your source of inspiration?
Carly Dorogi: My daughter was the original inspiration behind the idea and continues to inspire me. Having a child makes you realize how precious every moment and every milestone truly is, and finding unique but easy ways to help parents document these milestones through photography continues to inspire me. Our customers are also a huge source of inspiration. The heartfelt e-mails that we get, thanking us for such a great product, or telling us how much relatives who live far away have appreciated the monthly photos, really energize me and give value to what we do.
Happy-Go-Baby: Are there any books, programs or sites you might recommend that assisted you?
Carly Dorogi: The resource that has been the most helpful to me has truly been Facebook. I watch the Facebook walls of larger companies that I respect and admire, and see how they engage their customers, launchnew products, or promote their existing lines. I’ve always loved to shop online, but now, anytime I purchase anything, I think about what I could learn from that company to make my own better.
Happy-Go-Baby: What do you do outside the world of Sticky Bellies?
Carly Dorogi: While creating Sticky Bellies, I was a full-time curriculum coordinator for a public school district and had also worked as a first and fourth grade teacher. Educating children and improving classroom instruction is a passion, and I couldn’t walk away. Now that Sticky Bellies has grown, I had to modify my schedule, but still work 2 days a week as a curriculum coordinator. Being around children every day and examining how their minds work is incredible. I’m so fortunate that I have the opportunity to work in both the world of education and the world of business, and to have an impact on children and their families in both professions.
Happy-Go-Baby: What message can you give to other parents that may have an idea but are too scared to take the next step?
Carly Dorogi: The person who really wants to do something finds a way; the other person finds an excuse. It sounds cliché, but life is too short to live it wondering, “What if…” Share your idea with a few people who you know will be honest with you. If they love it – go with it and don’t look back. If they hate it, find out why and work tirelessly until you make them love it.
Happy-Go-Baby: If you had to do it all over, what would you do differently?
Carly Dorogi: Think BIG! When I created the company, I thought it would just be a small side-job that I could do on the weekends or in my free time. I wasn’t prepared for how quickly we would grow. In the beginning, the products were all on my dining room table and I worked from my living room couch on a laptop. It only took a few months before I realized this was bigger than I had imagined, and I needed to take it more seriously.
Happy-Go-Baby: What kinds of skills do you think a person needs to have to do what you have accomplished?
Carly Dorogi: I don’t think it’s so much about which skills you HAVE, but rather knowing which skills you DON’T have, and finding people who can help you with those pieces of your business. The financial management piece of the business is challenging for me, but I’ve accepted that it’s not a strength and have found great people to handle those pieces for me.
You also need confidence. You have to be confident in your product and confident in your ability to make decisions about what’s best for your company. You’ll get a million opinions, so you have to be smart enough to know which opinions really “count” and trust your instincts.
Happy-Go-Baby: Has your life made a dramatic change since Sticky Bellies, and if so, can you describe it.
Carly Dorogi: YES! I can’t even believe I ever muttered the words “I’m tired” or “I’m so busy” BEFORE I created Sticky Bellies. I used to have so much free time! Now, any moment of down time is usually used doing something related to Sticky Bellies. I’m obsessed with making the company better and bigger and with making sure we are taking care of our customers 100% of the time.
And, although I am insanely busy, I am always reminded to stop, slow down, and remember all those incredible moments we are presented with every day. I am definitely a “Parent Paparazzi” and am not afraid to admit that I take hundreds of pictures of my kid every week. That’s what it’s all about, right?
Happy-Go-Baby: Can you give me some examples of ups and downs you have encountered or faced with?
The downs – It drives me crazy when negative things happen that are completely out of my control. Our website crashed one day while I was at my other job (in an elementary school). I knew it was down, but there was NOTHING I could do about it except trust that my web designer was handling it.
Our shipment of the new merchandise was delayed by over 2 weeks from the manufacturer. Due to the time sensitive nature of our product (hey, a baby is only one month once, right?) I had customers who were depending on us to get their orders on time. It’s hard to know you are letting people down when it is totally out of your control.
The ups - Just two months after our website launched, we were featured on Daily Candy Kids Everywhere Edition. I had always read Daily Candy and aspired to be a part of such a great resource for parents, so waking up to see that feature was awesome. (As were the sales we got as a result!) J It was fun to watch our company grow so quickly and so soon after launching.
Honestly, though, I feel like every day is an “up.” The birth of a child is a life experience unlike any other, so to be a part a family’s journey from birth to age 2 is really a unique opportunity. I get to watch babies all over the world grow up month by month, but don’t have to change their diapers! What could be better?
Happy-Go-Baby: Thank you so much, Carly, for this interview. It was great!
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