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My DSM USA Product Can Be Found in Thousands of Stores Worldwide

Lil' Sidekick

March 8, 2018

I would consider myself a fixer of problems. That is just how I look at things: How can this situation be better, how can this process work smoother, always searching for ways to make it better. I always hoped I would be able to provide something of value to the world but never would have thought in a million years I would be an entrepreneur creating baby products.

Starting a Family

When our first and only son Jaxen was six-months-old, I learned quickly that everything I thought I knew about parenting was not correct but also, I learned that my son had a talent… the talent of throwing. He threw everything I gave him, and I was baffled by it. I never really knew that one of parenting’s biggest frustrations while out and about was the insane amount of times kids played the “drop game.” I was also baffled that in all the years of human existence no one had figured out how to stop the “drop game.” So, I went on what I like to call a mommy mission and created the world’s first and only truly versatile solution to finally stopping the drop game. I created our first product: Lil’ Sidekick multi-functional tether.

Starting a Business

What is great about Lil’ Sidekick is that it is not your typical baby sippy tether. If I was going to come out with a product, I was going to make sure it was a product I would buy and use for my own child. I was tired of cheaply made and ineffective items and knew other parents were as well. So, it took us about two years to create a tether that was the best at what we needed it do. My criteria were it had to be versatile and also secure every item from a small spoon and up. It had to be made of an easy to clean plastic instead of cloth (which was on the market and was ineffective). And, it had to be safe, so we have patented break away points built into our product.

After the two years of development, we finally had an awesome product that I could not wait to show, and we launched at a Juvenile trade show in late 2013. Since then, we are now in over 3,500 stores in the U.S. including Walmart, Toys R’ Us, Buy Buy Baby and in over 13 countries worldwide. 

Iowa-Made

Knowing we have a great product that provides true value to parents is huge to us but we are also very proud of that we have done this all from the state we love and call home — Iowa. We used all Iowa resources for marketing, design, legal, etc., and even our product is 100 percent manufactured here in Iowa!

Creating and bringing our product to market came with a lot of challenges. And although I pride myself on thriving under pressure when my back is against the wall, some things were just too big and out of my knowledge base. This is where Iowa and specifically Greater Des Moines (DSM) came to the rescue. I reached out for help to find the solutions I did not have. I found guidance through the amazing people at the Iowa Small Business Administration, Greater Des Moines Partnership and other companies in DSM.

Startup Resources

DSM has a great business community of people that have lived this life and now want to give back. They provide guidance to local businesses to help grow the state they love, and they truly want to see your business succeed. They asked for nothing in return which was, and still is, a huge resource to us as most startups do not have the funds to just start hiring professionals. We had to hustle and be creative and when it got tough they were there to not provide the answer but provide a path, which in the end is better than just being given the answer because I was able to learn and grow with the process. I love this life I get to create for my family and our consumers and that we get to do it all in the home state we love of Iowa!

Hear the stories of other small business and startup business owners in the community in The Partnership’s Small Business Resources Hub or sign up for the Small Business Resources newsletter to stay connected for information about upcoming events, other resources and the latest announcements in the small business community in Greater Des Moines (DSM).