Meet Tammy and Sara Founders of TushBaby

women in business series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Today I am introducing you to two women who saw a need for moms and created a product that was seen on Shark Tank. I am so happy that they agreed to be spotlighted on the blog. I would like you to Meet Tammy and Sara Founders of TushBaby. Quick Reminder if you missed any profiles all the women in this series can be found here.

Tell me a little bit about you.

Meet Tammy and Sara Founders of TushBaby Women In Business Series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Tammy Rant (TR): I’m a Bay Area native, mother of three, and have had hustle for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I had all kinds of ideas and schemes. At age 7, I’d go to the local golf course at night with my backpack and search for lost golf balls. I’d go home and clean them and then head to the course in the morning to sell them back to the golfers. I’ve been told I’m a pitbull because I refuse to give up or let go of a good idea.

Sara Azadi (SA): Strong jaws, that Tammy.

TR: Is that a Shark Tank reference? Could be!

Meet Tammy and Sara Founders of TushBaby Women In Business Series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

SA: I’m a Northern California native too, and have been in marketing and advertising for the last 20+ years. I’ve got a lot of war stories to share, but that would be a much longer interview.

Tell me about your business. 

TR: Six years ago, I had my first child and since then I’ve had two more. I was shocked that I couldn’t find an easy way easy, comfortable way to carry my kids, and I knew other parents had the same problem.  It was a pain in my arms and a strain on my back to shift my kids from hip to hip every five minutes. Strollers were too bulky. Strap-in carriers were too complicated. And wraps and sacks were too hot and sweaty. So I created my own solution with TushBaby, an ergonomic hipseat that evenly distributes weight to reduce back, arm, and hip strain, and has built-in storage so parents don’t have to lug around three bags. TushBaby was born out of pure and simple necessity.

SA: Our big audacious goal is actually pretty simple too: to make parent’s lives easier—and a little more stylish while we’re at it. Every product or partnership we consider, we always ask ourselves “Is this actually simplifying the parent’s lives? And does it elevate baby products design-wise?” If the answer is no, we scrap it. If the answer is yes, then it aligns with our brand, which always puts parents first.

Meet Tammy and Sara Founders of TushBaby Women In Business Series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

What struggles have you faced in your business?

TR: We had one manufacturer try to steal our design before producing it. A shipping container with our first order of a thousand TushBabies was delayed by three weeks (customers were NOT happy). And then a bunch of cheap knock-offs came out right after our Kickstarter campaign. The companies didn’t just take my idea, they also used my branded copy and photos of my own kid! It’s been quite a learning process.

How have you overcome those struggles?

SA: Tammy’s a pit bull remember? No, but seriously, we stayed the course and continued to double-down on our brand. Sure, you could get a cheaper hip carrier, but there’d be no guarantee that it was made with high-quality materials, that it had been rigorously tested and doctor-approved, that it was made in a factory with fair hours and fair wages. TushBaby thinks that the process is as important as the product and our dedication to that has kept us above a lot of the fray.

Who were your mentors growing up?

SA: I had a lot of admiration for my parents being a child of an immigrant. I watched my parents and my parents’ friends work hard and give us what they didn’t have growing up. I was the first woman in my family to graduate from a university and it’s because my mom pushed me hard and told me I could be anything I wanted and the only person that could make that happen was me.

TA: My parents are immigrants too. My mom came from Egypt to Scotland where I was born. She raised 3 girls mostly on her own while hustling and becoming an entrepreneur herself later in life. I learned how to be tenacious by watching her. 

If you were to give advice to a woman going into the field you are in what would it be?

TA: Listen to your gut, it’s a powerful tool. Be kind and work hard. Lift other women up as you rise as well.

SA: Find your advocate or mentor or partner that champions your ideas and helps you grow. Also, once you’ve found your way,  give back to other women as well with your advice and time. Be honest about your failures and successes. Both are important elements in life.

Have you found that being a woman in your field is harder or easier? Tell me about the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman.

TR: Well, I think we have an advantage here because we’re not only women — we’re mothers too. And moms trust moms. If I’m looking for a bottle, or a stroller, or formula recommendations, I’m gonna ask moms over dads because moms still tend to dominate the child-rearing. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s the reality. And the fact that we created a baby product from personal experience carrying our babies has definitely worked in our favor.

SA: Yeah, she’s right. This is one field where women actually have an advantage.

Have you ever had to overcome a hostile work environment?

SA: Most definitely. I was born in the late ’70s, and the late ’90s weren’t too kind to young adult women. We’re talking about the era of Bill Clinton and Anita Hill, where the news media blamed women for being in the wrong place or wearing the wrong clothes.

In the early 2000s, I was often told to look cute and speak less. I specifically recall the CEO of my ad agency telling me that the recommendations I made sounded better coming from my male counterpart.

In the mid-2000s, another male boss once mentioned in an executive meeting — where I was the only mother at the table — that teen suicide rates were correlated with working mothers who were too ambitious to pay attention to their kids. This same boss also printed out a list of things he didn’t like about me and handed it to me fresh off the printer. One of the reasons? I asked too many questions.

Conversations about sexual harassment or equal rights or pay were often hushed or swept under the rug completely. And that silence was damaging because it made women think they couldn’t speak out.

But the truth is, the more we speak up and share our own experiences, the more we learn and the faster we can grow and change that toxic culture.

What made you decide on your chosen field?

TR: I was in enterprise tech sales because I loved solving complex issues. I’ve applied those skills to TushBaby because every day a new challenge is presented. Raising three children under 6 is not easy and I realized that I didn’t need more baby stuff, I just needed better, simpler products that actually made my life easier. 

SA: I chose this profession because I love the process of creation and being creative. I’m a people person and a great listener. I want to help and have fun while doing it. Ultimately,  I love that we’ve made something that improves the lives of so many people. The customers’ love and feedback is the best part of my job.

Anything else you would care to share?

SA: If you have a great idea that you are passionate about that truly solves a real problem then put pen to paper. Start there and then talk to others. When you do see if your idea excites others too. If you are on to something, buckle up, it’s going to be an amazing (but bumpy) ride.

TR: Know that you can’t do it alone. Starting a business isn’t easy. You need experts and partners that care as much as you do. 

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