This week’s Small Business Saturday feature is about a brand new, mama-owned company that we can get behind! Here are KMN, we are all about making mom life easier and giving moms the gift or time, and Better Smile Tooth Brush Company does just that! Kari, mama of FOUR, CEO and founder of Better Smile, realized one day that she was finding her kid’s toothbrushes EVERYWHERE – all the drawers of the bathroom, in their bedrooms, in her car – and she would have no idea when these tooth brushes were bought or even how long they had been there. So, the idea came to fruition, what if the toothbrushes had dates on them so I would rememeber?!
Better Smile Toothbrush Company is a children’s toothbrush subscription service delivering toothbrushes every quarter. The toothbrushes are designed by kids themselves with the season and year imprinted on the toothbrush so you know when to replace. We sat down with the founder and inspirational mama of 4, Kari Pesch, to learn more about launching her new business, having her kid’s be a part of designing the toothbrushes, and how she say NO to mom guilt!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the Houston area?
I’m from Milwaukee, Wisconsin but jobs moved us to the Houston area 6 years ago.
You are a mama, too! How old are your kids?
We have a crew! Madison is 6, Charlie is 4, Penny is 2 and Polly is 7 months.
Tell us about Better Smile Tooth Brush Company – what services do you offer?
Better Smile Toothbrush Company is a children’s toothbrush subscription service delivering toothbrushes every quarter. The toothbrushes are designed by kids themselves with the season and year imprinted on the toothbrush so you know when to replace.
What was the inspiration behind it and when did you get started?
I started noticing I was finding my kids toothbrushes EVERYWHERE – multiple in their bathrooms, the playroom, the car, the garage. The problem was every time I found a toothbrush; I had no idea how long we’d had it and how long my child had used it – weeks, months, years? What if the toothbrush could have the date on it so I would remember, I thought to myself. The idea behind Better Smile Toothbrush Company, which launched last month, was to streamline the toothbrushes so parents wouldn’t need to think about them. As new toothbrushes come in every 3 months, the old ones go out, not allowing the brushes to pile up month after month.
Who designs the tooth brushes?
The toothbrushes are designed by kids! When designing the Summer 2019 collection, I asked my daughter if she wanted unicorns or mermaids. She immediately grabbed my notebook and drew hearts with smiley faces which inspired the girls pink toothbrush for this season. She was so proud when the toothbrush came in because she designed it. I want other children to feel that same sense of pride, which is why every quarter I’ll host a design contest for a chance for a child’s design to be featured on the toothbrush!
What did you do before opening Better Smile Tooth Brush Company?
I’ve worked in Sales for a Fortune 500 integrated communications company.
What’s your favorite thing about being a small business owner?
I love to create and build things. In 2016, I started a home-based decorated cookie business and found such joy in creating designs and building a treat from a few single ingredients. Unfortunately, that business was not able scale. So, I took that joy of creating and building and realized that owning my own company was a manifestation of both those qualities. If I can help other households be better organized and stay healthy by creating and building a product that services, then I’ve done my job.
Best advice for someone wanting to take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship or wanting to open their own business?
I’ve had to learn a few things the hard way, so here is my advice for those wanting to start:
Google is an underutilized tool. Every aspect of my business I’ve found from the internet for free. You would be amazed what you can find with the click of a search bar.
Find people like you. Most of my friends were either stay-at-home moms, in the healthcare field, or in Corporate America. I had to find friends that understood the challenges of raising a family while starting a business. Before I did this, I often felt alone and misunderstood.
Listen to podcasts. Podcasts are a free tool. I listen to a lot of business and entrepreneur podcasts for how-to advice and inspiration. Instead of listening to music in the car while dropping off the kids, I listen to podcasts to be informed of what’s working for other businesses.
Who inspires you most in business and who inspires you most in motherhood?
In business, Kendra Scott is a success story I can relate to. She started her business from an idea while in the midst of raising two small children. She wouldn’t accept “no” and was so determined to make her idea work.
In motherhood, my grandmother who raised 9 children, inspires me. When I’m worried about how messy our kitchen can become or that the kids went to school with mismatched socks, I just remember that she was able to raise 9 children (more than twice as many as me) with much less than we have today.
When things get hard, what’s one thing you tell yourself to keep going when running this business?
As a new business owner, I’m constantly making mistakes. It’s so easy to get down on myself when I mess up or am not where I thought I would be yet. I once saw a quote that read, “I forgive myself for not being perfect. I am living the very best way I know how.” The fact is, I do the best I can with what I have. I make the best decisions I can with the information in front of me at that moment. Can I improve? Absolutely. At the end of the day, I need to be confident that I tried my very best the previous 24 hours with everything on my plate.
How do you balance being a business owner and mama?
Every day is busy trying to make time for my business, manage household chores and raise 4 small children. I can’t say that I will ever figure out a healthy balance, but here’s some practices I implement on a weekly basis:
-I wake up at 5:00am every morning to pray, journal and work on my business. Getting ahead of the day helps me produce my best work.
-I set a “no-phone” rule between 5:00pm – 8:00pm. I try to give my kids full attention during dinner and bedtime. It’s easy to get caught up in e-mail and want to hop on my phone, but I am diligent about putting it away.
-My husband and I trade hours during Saturdays. He goes to the gym for two hours and when he returns, I head to Starbucks for two hours. This allows us both to get a break while working on goals that are important for each of us.
Do you experience the dreaded ‘mom guilt’ and if so, how do you deal?
No. I was a CASA advocate (working with social workers for children removed from their homes) for 3 years and I’ve seen some kids who came from bad situations. I know that my kids are well loved, safe, healthy and thriving. I try to involve my kids as much as I can in the business and they get excited about it. My daughter recently lost her tooth and wrote the tooth fairy a letter describing how excited she was for our toothbrush business. That made me really proud. My children are seeing their mom follow her dreams and build something from the ground up. On top of that, God spoke to my heart one day very clearly while rocking my fourth child to sleep. He said, “I gave you 3 girls because I want 3 girls in this world to build things just like you.” At the moment, I didn’t know what that meant, but I rushed to my journal to write it down. After starting the business, I realize now that not only has God called me to be an entrepreneur, but He’s called my girls to follow after me.
Future plans for your business?
I plan on extending my product line into teen brushes, adult brushes and including other oral health-related products as bundles.
Any special, sales, or deals our Katy Moms can look out for?
Our product includes FREE SHIPPING!
For more information on Better Smile Tooth Brush Company and to start your toothbrush subscription, and support this local, mama owned company, be sure to visit their website and follow them on social media!