Owner: Wendy Armbruster Bell
Snugabell Mom & Baby Gear is in the business of designing and manufacturing fun and fashionable breastfeeding and pumping products and accessories. Their signature product, PumpEase, is the world’s ONLY fashionable hands-free pumping bra. Snugabell Mom & Baby Gear have also just launched PumpEase Organic, the world’s ONLY organic hands-free pumping bra. Now moms can read, write, text, talk on the phone, use a computer or tend to their baby ALL while pumping AND look and feel good while they’re at it! Their current product line, including complimentary products like Breastmilk Storage Guidelines fridge magnet and Do Not Disturb door hangers (for moms pumping at work) are made with love in Vancouver, Canada and they have many more products on the way!
Armed with her 11 years experience in the apparel industry, Wendy mocked-up the first PumpEase prototype on her own sewing machine, which she used for both her daughters. As friends and family caught wind of Wendy’s “invention”, she was encouraged to take Snugabell to market. Wendy already had a service-based business, as a freelance CAD Apparel Patternmaker, so she thought a product would be good for some “passive income”. After her second maternity leave was over, Wendy quit her job of almost 21 years at a telecommunications company to accept a position in the BCIT BEST Program – a government-sponsored self-employment program. That was in April 2008. Wendy looks back at how Snugabell has grown from a simple need into a full business.
The Small Business BC Connection
Wendy used online resources from Small Business BC during the beginning stages of her business to structure the template of her business plan. This year she was invited to be a part of a Small Business BC panel of entrepreneurs giving tips to new aspiring business owners. Currently Wendy is just completing a 6-month mentorship with the Women’s Enterprise Centre, where her mentor was able to help her “think outside the box” as well as to look at issues more objectively. She says, “It was a great exercise for me and I hope to seek out another mentor.”
“This is a really exciting time to be in business. The social media phenomenon flattens the playing field for start-ups to compete with the big guys. A lot of large competitors aren’t “buying in” to the Facebook, Twitter, YouTube scene and even if they are, they’re not executing well. This is your chance to shine!”