Two aims of our financial empowerment/business program Make It Count! are to increase confidence, both of girls and their moms, and to help nurture their entrepreneurial spirits. We believe that sharing real stories of female entrepreneurs is a powerful way to convey to girls (and women) that often the path to success isn't a straight one.
We are thrilled today to share an interview with inspiring female "mompreneur" Susie K. Taylor: Bibbitec Founder and Inventor of "The Ultimate Bib." Susie and the Ultimate Bib were featured on ABC's Shark Tank. Thanks so much Susie for telling us her story and being our first featured entrepreneur on the Moms as Mentors® blog!
As a girl and/or woman, who or what has made the biggest impact on your confidence?
I studied acting from a very young age. Getting into characters that were beyond any personal experiences and speaking lines, especially Shakespeare’s line, expanded my sense of SELF. I was not just a Jewish girl from Miami. I was a million and one different characters if I chose to dig deep enough…we are all. Acting lets the imagination take a driver's seat and that has made all the difference. I know now that acting has given me an amazing amount of self awareness, resilience, and imagination that allow me to think of creative ideas and how to follow through on their concepts.
How has your confidence level in yourself changed since you first started Bibbitec?
I think that Bibbitec allowed me to test my ability to manifest a very BIG dream way outside my comfort level. I wanted to invent a better bib and I did. I wanted to get on Shark Tank, and we did. I wanted to sell on Amazon and have fantastic reviews…and we do. All those steps and the million slips in between have built my character and thus my confidence. Knowing the slips are part of the climb! Now we are looking to sell the company to someone who has the desire to grow it...and I am confident they will.
I remember back in 2008 thinking of the idea on the plane and then selling my first Bibbitec. Every step over the past 8 years was a lesson. I had no design background, no business background, no sales background…Learning something new and getting a hold of new concepts is a great way to remember just how unlimited life is.
Learning how to let go and allow others to help is also a great way to build confidence. It shows that you know yourself enough to know you don’t really want to do something and so you let someone else who has more passion for it take over. I believe confidence is knowing you can choose your path and not living in fear that you HAVE to do anything.
Did you always see yourself as entrepreneurial? Or was this something you didn't know about yourself until you had the inspiration from Bibbitec?
I see myself as a dreamer. This particular dream was about a bib and had its roots in making something that could help a great deal of people and not harm anything. I didn’t and don’t think of myself as an entrepreneur..but I am one…I think of myself as someone who is on this earth to do things and wake people up and be as honest as I can as often as possible though kindness.. That is exactly what Bibbitec is to me. A dream that became a reality.
At Moms as Mentors®, we emphasize the importance of resilience. On that note, how were you impacted by your time on Shark Tank and on not getting a deal? How did you handle it when Mr. Wonderful told you to take the "bib behind the barn and shoot it”?
Resilience is important but faith in yourself is at the root of it. I was very confident in Bibbitec by 2013, when the episode aired. What I had no control over what how they were going to edit the episode and depict me. It was terrifying in many ways but I trusted that, during the taping, I said everything I felt needed to be said. That was huge! More than a deal, my main objective was to shed light on the fact that products were being built to break and I, for one, wasn’t going to accept that. In fact, I had pitched my product at the largest baby product expo to major big box stores and when I told them it lasted for years and actually worked and had a multitasking quality, they couldn’t stop laughing. It became a turning point in my journey, having to decide why I was doing this.
That is why during the Shark Tank taping I was talking more to the viewer then to the Sharks. I had already been told over and over what Mr. Wonderful had said to me.
I turned down BIG BOX stores because it would mean going overseas and using a lesser material.
Looking back, Mr. Wonderful was truly wonderful to me. He gave me a springboard to step onto my soapbox and preach. I had a lot to say and I wanted to wake people up to what we are all supporting by buying badly made products. We are settling. I am not sure how else I would have been able to show how much making a good product meant. I hope one day to thank him in person for that gift.
I have heard that the fastest growing viewer demographic on Shark Tank is around 11 to 18-year-old girls. Given that, what message do you think it sends if the show has only have one female "shark in the tank" on any given show?
It would be nice to see KINDER people in the tank every now and then. I am not sure that means women, just more DOLPHINS perhaps. More of a visual of what it looks like in a more “conscious capitalistic” world. Well made products that don’t harm the earth and are sustainable and non-toxic. These companies, if they become successful, can change the landscape of consumerism. What about Shark Tank with the owners of Honest Baby and KIND?
Did you know that 100% of moms at Moms as Mentors® business program say it sparked a new enthusiasm for their daughters in entrepreneurship? AND, 75% of moms who've participated in our programs with their daughters feel they improved their own leadership skills.