By Julia Sayers Alabama Media Group, Birmingham
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In just four months, "PediPockets" has sold its special "foot pocket" blankets in all 50 states. The "PediPocket" even made an appearance on "Good Morning America"in January.
Alabama Media Group, Birmingham
The constant annoyance of having cold feet and a blanket that wasn't quite long enough led this Vestavia Hills family to create a business to solve their problem.
PediPocket blankets feature a special foot "pocket" that you can tuck your feet into and never have to worry about tugging the blanket down over them. We chatted with creator Katherin Miller about what inspired her to start her own business.
Birmingham magazine: Tell me a little bit about your background.
Katherin Miller: I grew up in the retail industry. I have held every position from cashier to vice president. Most recently, I was a vice president for a nationally-recognized beauty retailer. I covered 17 states and $800 million in revenue.
BM: How did you come up with the idea for Pedi-Pocket?
KM: In my role as a vice president, I traveled Tuesday through Friday every week, and on one weekend after a long week of travel, I was having my usual struggle with my throw blanket. I could tuck my toes, but could not snuggle and cover my chest--everyone in my family had a similar issue. I thought there had to be a better option, and in my search, I uncovered a gap in the industry.
BM: How did you make your dream a reality?
KM: I began working on PediPocket with no formal sewing experience, using a machine that my mother had given to me the Christmas prior. I had not sewn since my mother taught me in the '80s on my Sew Easy kiddie machine. As you can imagine, there were multiple mishaps. After five or six attempts, I was onto something. I made one for both of my boys, my husband, and myself. We all loved them so much, we decided to give them as gifts for our friends and family at Christmas.
During the month of November 2016, I sewed 45 PediPockets. Then, during Christmas of the same year, PediPocket was unveiled to rave reviews. After Christmas, armed with feedback, my husband and I created a business plan. We drew up a detailed plan that included measurable goals and milestones as well as connecting with a patent attorney and a manufacturer. And here we are today.
BM: What were some challenges you faced in starting the business?
KM: One of the biggest challenges was the learning curve. My husband and I both had great backgrounds and experience to draw from, however neither of us had experience with overseas manufacturing, customs taxes and fees, or the need for a customs broker. We are learning every day and are having a blast watching doors open and growing through new experiences.
BM: How have you seen the business grow?
KM: We launched September 6, 2017 and have seen exponential growth. In four months, we have grown to more than 3,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram. We have sold PediPockets in all 50 states. We have national and local recognition of our brand.
BM: What has been your biggest success or most exciting moment for the business?
KM: We aired on Good Morning America on January 11, 2018 which was huge for our brand. However, the most exciting part of the business is that it is a family affair. We get to work side by side as a husband-and-wife team with our six-year-old in tow. Who gets to say that they work with their best friend every day and bring their child to work with them? Not many, so we are very blessed.
BM: What are your future plans for PediPocket?
KM: We plan to continue to grow our brand. We also plan on adding PediPocket Kids and PediPocket Baby, as well as looking into collegiate licensing. BM: What advice would you offer to other entrepreneurs?
KM: Don't let the fear of the unknown or lack of education stop you. You can learn as you go. Pray and have faith knowing you are working toward your true purpose. However, you have to have a great plan with consistent, measurable goals.