Life has a funny way of sending you down the path you are destined to travel. For me, this funny way involved two babies, a husband tired of living in the clutter of leftover baby gear, my professional capabilities as a developer and a growing entrepreneurial mindset.
I have an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts and an MS in Computer Science and Media Arts. I began my career as a Webmaster and Database Administrator. It was trial by fire and taught me to be a lifelong learner as well as the power of providing excellent, friendly service. Later, I worked as a Java Programmer and Web Application Developer.
When I was pregnant with my first son, I realized the flexibility of freelance work would be a better fit for my family and began working from home doing freelance Web Programming and Design. With the birth of my second son, I began to feel the call of entrepreneurship.
As my sons grew, I ended up with a huge stack of leftover baby gear taking up a car bay in our garage. My husband, ready to park both cars in the garage again, suggested I sell it, but I thought I could rent it instead. I put up a one-page website and within 3 days I had my first $300 reservation.
From there, I slowly hand built the Babierge Platform, embracing the newly-emerging Sharing Economy and watching delightedly as more and more reservations came in. It wasn’t long before I started having bigger dreams. I wanted to build a brand focused on excellent customer service and grow Babierge to be an international company. It can be scary to leave the security of a traditional job and head out alone into the startup world. If you’re feeling this fear, you’re not alone. Many Founders have been there. Trust yourself, believe in your work, and take pride in the core competencies you bring to your startup. Keep your eye on your customer. Solve a big problem. Change the way the world does something.
One of the toughest—and smartest—moves I made as an entrepreneur was replacing myself as CEO. Building a company is like raising children. There’s a lot of letting go involved. I brought in Fran Maier (former Co-Founder of Match.com and TRUSTe) as CEO for Babierge, and together we are accelerating growth, building a brand, raising our first round of capital and sometimes it feels like leading a revolution. Babierge is renting baby gear out of fifteen markets today, and we’re adding new markets each month. We work with Independent Trusted Partners in local markets, helping them launch their baby gear rental businesses and providing entrepreneurial mentorship. We’ve rented close to 7,000 pieces of gear to date. We expect to add international markets in 2017.
What turns someone from a Developer to a Founder?
- You get tired developing other people’s dreams.
- You discover a solution to a common problem.
- The planets align (or your husband wants to park the car in the garage) and you jump in and give it your all, and then a little more, because that’s what it takes—everything you have and then some.
The stakes are higher as an entrepreneur, but so are the rewards. I hope one day my children see that the dedication I’ve given to building a company that helps others is powerful. As the Founder of Babierge, it’s my mission to help millions of families worldwide make lifelong memories as they vacation together. I consider myself a developer at heart but now see myself as so much more. I’m a Founder.
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