The Process: being a social entrepreneur

As a social entrepreneur I get asked the the question often, “So when are you going to launch your product?” I’ve gotten enormous support from friends, family and even strangers that I haven’t met that are ready to jump at the chance of buying an Ellie Fun Day blanket. I would love to get them into the hands of every single mom and baby down the street today! (I hear Natalie Portman just had Baby Aleph, and another mini-Kardashian is on the way?!) But all good things come to those who wait.

Starting a successful business is a challenge in itself, I know the statistics so we’re taking calculated steps in trying to assure success for the long-term duration. IF anyone asks what does it take, I’m still learning, but I hope to discuss our process here so that others that are paving this path into the jungle of social entrepreneurism can learn from our findings, mistakes and successes.

Next Steps:

1.) Business mentors: people with expertise in baby/children’s market, import/export, entrepreneurs etc.
2.) Fabric resources: organic cottons and silks is our preferred choice
3.) Business Models: do we do direct sales (online?) or wholesale (stores and boutiques)

Then there are the gazillion other things that we’re learning through this process: from SEO, to trade regulation quotas, organic certifications, FTC regulations on children’s wear etc etc. But in the end we realize we need to take it one step at a time or else will be biting off more than we can handle.

Right now we’re in the process of testing our organic blankies with babies in the real world. They’ve been asked to spit-up, poop, pee and love them as they would. As simple as it sounds we want these blankies to stand the test of time, be functional and also be well-loved for babies and kids. We may be looking for mommies and daddies that are interested in our tester blankies, so look out for another post coming soon!

Meanwhile here’s a little post of Baby Nguyen’s blankie. My friends and I threw Lisa and Billy an amazing airplane themed baby shower. Check it out!




Why Organic?

Before I started this business I thought that buying organic was just for luxury, but the more I delve into the textiles and clothing industries I am beginning to understand the benefits of it.

1.) Benefits Us: no pesticides used = no pesticides in our water, air, land system, less cancer, less birth defects, asthma etc

2.) Benefits Others: did you know that cotton uses 16% of the world’s pesticides and it only covers 2% of our land? Farmers that grow cotton are often in rural and undereducated areas and don’t have the proper equipment to protect themselves during the dispersal of pesticides. 1 out of 10 pesticide applications in India result in some type of health related symptoms to the chemicals.

3.) Benefits our Earth: because of the chemicals that are used for non-organics, the wastewater runs into our oceans which depletes the water of oxygen, therefore killing our lovely fishes, sea turtles and dolphins, therefore disrupting our whole ecosystem.

So in light of going organic, I thought that I’d share with you my favorite products:

1.) Deep Steep Honey Lavendar Bubble Bath: I have the most sensitive and dry skin on earth! But I love my bubble baths after a long hard day. It was hard for me to find something that wouldn’t strip away my own natural oils and I found this at Whole Foods. First ingredient : Aloe. So essentially you’re soaking your poor parched body in a vat of moisturizing heaven.

2.) Coyuchi Bedding: I actually found their jersey sheets at their Point Reyes Outlet! We sleep in them every night and they’ve been washed a gazillion times and have still retained it’s softness. What’s great about Coyuchi is that they’re part of the Chetna Project which helps empower organic farmers to become sustainable.

3.) REN Global Protection Day Cream: again my Sahara dry skin has tried everything under the sun and I’ve found this awesome line. The story is, the founder’s wife was suffering from extremely sensitive skin, so they went on the hunt to make a line of synthetic, BPA, fragrance, petrol free “holy grail” of skin care. My skin glows when I use this stuff.

4.) Chinti and Parker: organic fashion is really picking up and I really love this line from the UK. I have yet to purchase something but this dress would be it! I love their philosophy: they’re against Fast Fashion” (aka Forever 21, H&M, etc.). They believe that garments are meant to bolster your existing warddrobe and stand the test of time. I’ve recently joined this camp. Sad, yes, but the sacrifice is worth it to me.

5.) Rudi’s Gluten-free Organic Bread: I’ve tried all the GF breads out there and this one is the closest to the real deal. It’s fluffy and airy and doesn’t weigh like a ton of bricks! Now I’m gonna go make me a sandwich…

So what are your favorite organic products?




Farewell and Hello

Yes, I’ve taken the plunge. I’ve finally decided to live my dream. I’ve left my high-paying, stable design job at Larsen and Ellie Fun Day is now in full swing.

I’ve always dreamed of creating a product that would make the world a better place, even if it’s just one person at a time.

What is this product you ask? Organic baby blankets.

Why? I’ve always loved my baby blanket as a kid. I called mine “elephant-pei” (pei = blanket in Chinese). Ellie Fun Day is an alliteration in honor of it. It had a Dumbo print on it and it traveled EVERYWHERE with me. When my mom needed to wash it after being dragged through the dirt one too many times, I would stand outside at the clothesline, hold onto it and wait for it to dry.

There was something magical about my blankie. The familiar smell, the soft corners brought me comfort and security in a world that was often strange and scary.

I want my blankets to give that same comfort and magic that I once felt to all the babies in the world.

Not only do I want our blanket to be sustainable and organic but I also have a burden for under-resourced women in disadvantaged countries. God has opened up a door for us to create these blankets with a group of Dalit (untouchable) caste women in southern India.

The next season of this blog will be dedicated to this new venture. Documenting my ups and downs, the victories and challenges of starting my own business in a dog-eat-dog world. I hope you can join me on my journey. I will be needing all the help and prayers that I can get!

Here’s a little preview of Baby Luke’s blankie…more to come!