A mother’s love for her baby is one of the most universal truths of the world. Mothers care about their children, and taking care of those children is incredibly important when they’re young. But the baby care industry isn’t always set up for that. Some companies care more than others when it comes to sourcing good products that are safe for children. But a lot don’t put in the effort.
Just look at some of the listings for the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission …
Over the past few years, there have been occasional concerns with lead and other potentially harmful substances in common children’s products. And while the vast majority of baby care products contain nothing of the sort, there’s always room for improvement.
It’s not uncommon for businesses to compromise on quality. Fortunately, a select few baby care companies are moving towards inert or natural substances for their products …
Mushie Feigenson is one of the people pushing that trend forward.
She and her husband started a baby care product company because they weren’t satisfied with what was on the market. Their company, Mushie, has skyrocketed to success on the back of a safe and aesthetically pleasing product selection and canny marketing.
And it sells because they’ve tapped into a market of mothers that really care about getting the best in baby care products for their children. With this interview she shed some light on what they’ve learned since starting their company.
What prompted you to start Mushie in the first place?
“I was pregnant with my second child. I was puking all the time, just sick as a dog, blinding headaches. I had to quit my job as an elementary teacher because it’s basically impossible to do while you’re that sick. That was when I found out I had hyperemesis gravidarum, which basically meant I had to stay in bed for months.
“I didn’t have much better to do while sitting in bed, so I devoted my time to researching and finding the best products for my baby. I designed my nursery from the ground up, stayed current with all the mommy bloggers and really dug into what baby products were best. That’s when I discovered how hard it was to really find good stuff.
“It’s my child, right? I want the best for him or her. But what I found when I was searching is that there were too many companies out there that didn’t care nearly as much as I did. Finding products that were safe and aesthetically pleasing was really hard. I started ranging further afield, trying to source things directly from manufacturers.
“Plastics and chemical dyes were part of just about everything. So I started researching on forums, chasing down direct factory contacts and finding things that hit that intersection of price, design and safety. That’s when I got the idea for Mushie. Our baby was born at the same time the company was, and we haven’t looked back.”
What makes Mushie different from its competitors?
“First and foremost, I’ve stayed really involved with the mommy blogger community. I know what mothers are looking for and we’ve been very successful with influencers and marketing to mothers. I’m a mother myself and I know what I look for and what my kids like.
“That’s the foundation of what we do. I look for things I’d use. Everything we have is a product that we’re comfortable giving our kids. We know it, as — during the product development stage — we go as far as using feedback from our community of mothers to help us learn more about what products would be most useful. I don’t think a lot of baby product companies can say that.
“We go the extra mile to source our products. We’ve made our name on unique and quality products, and we’ve built a foundation on this Scandinavian aesthetic. We have designers both in the United States and in Scandinavia that work on our product lines to create that aesthetic.
“There’s a foundation of authenticity to our business because of all of those things that makes us different to most of our competitors. We’re in this because we believe mothers and children deserve the best products we can provide.”
How have you managed to grow so fast?
“Instagram has been huge for us in connecting with other moms and growing our community, and that’s been big. There are things I can push personally, but we’ve also managed to reach influencers like Jenna Kutcher and Cara Loren, as well as smaller micro-influencers — that helps.
“Because we gained traction so fast we’ve seen triple digit growth in revenue year over year. That allowed us to even push into major retailers like Nordstrom and Target. We’re in thousands of stores around America. That growth has enabled us to set the tone on a lot of baby products, and we think we’ve been able to drive a positive movement in the industry as a whole towards safer materials and better design.”
Who else has been integral to your success?
“I couldn’t have done this without my husband Levi. He’s been buying and selling since the age of 17—he started with cell phones while he was living in Brooklyn, and he’s worked for some e-commerce brands like Privé Revaux. Because of that he understands the industry and some of the nuts and bolts of how to build this sort of thing from scratch.
“We spent $1500 together to start Mushie, and his expertise has been a big part of maximizing that. He’s been so supportive and so helpful. It’s a partnership that wouldn’t have happened without his experience.”
What’s next for Mushie?
“We’re going to continue to expand into as many places as we can, but we want to keep the quality of the product front and center. We’re not going to over-expand to where we compromise what we were built on.
“We still want to keep up that connection to the moms who made us what we are. That and the product are the keys to our business. If we’re still creating products they want to buy and they’re safe for the babies that will use them, we’ve done our job. That’s the most important thing at the end of the day.”