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Mompreneur Series: Meet Sarah Kaplan

sarahkaplanIntroducing the Mompreneur Series! Every month we’ll be profiling CityMax.com entrepreneurs that manage that perfect balance of running a small business and being a full-time mother.

Mompreneur: Sarah Kaplan – EvyMama.com

Sarah is the owner of EvyMama.com – “Toronto’s only Breastfeeding Boutique.” Her business specializes in fashionable maternity wear that makes new and soon-to-be moms look great. Founded in 2007, her store won an award last year for “Best Lingerie Store” in town.

I caught up with Sarah to find out her story:

“When I started nursing my daughter, it was very hard to find clothing for nursing moms. Toronto has a very high breastfeeding rate, but no one was serving mothers. Baby shops sell plenty of baby gear but nothing more than nursing bras – nothing cute at all – and nothing for the postpartum mother.

I had the idea with my first child and it took me a couple years to organize. Then I started when my second child was 5 months old. My husband and I carefully chose our neighborhood (one with the highest birth rate in the country) and bought a broken down convenience store, renovated it, and moved in upstairs.

The store has a nursing lounge in the back, and lots of women in the neighborhood will stop by to change their baby’s diaper. They relax on our back patio garden and we serve tea. Plenty of moms will come to take a break and leave with a purchase.

We usually have three people working at all times – my staff are all mothers, who will either bring their children to work in a sling, or they work short shifts to accommodate their parenting.

I was drawn to CityMax.com to build our website because it’s very affordable and user-friendly – the ability to add and remove products easily was crucial. Also being web-based my employees can work on the site from anywhere.

For the future, we will be opening another store in the East End (another baby boom area) this year. I’m going to keep growing the business until it won’t grow – maybe another store every 2 years?”

How I drive traffic to my website:

  • Organic Search
  • Our blog
  • Twitter/Facebook
  • Links from our suppliers
  • Trade shows

Tips:

Hiring
“Don’t be afraid to hire people, especially when your business is based on customer service. Being short staffed can cost you sales. Also don’t be afraid of hiring people who are smarter than you!”

Customer Service
“We pay attention to the details, like holding the door for our customers and serving tea. The store has a cooler with hot and cold drinks, and our staff really knows the product. These little things make the difference, and it’s how a boutique can beat the big box stores.

For online orders, we send our customers a few extra identical products close to their order size, to make sure they find the right size and solve fitting issues. We bill them for the extras and refund the product they return.”

Sarah has built EvyMama.com into quite a community and her business has hit some major milestones. Congratulations on all of your success Sarah, we’re proud to call you a CityMaxer!!

If you’d like to be featured in the Mompreneur Series, send a short description of yourself and your business to Patrick (at) citymax (dot) com.

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