04 An Introduction: Rebuilding a Purposeful Business Based on Values with Hip Mommies’s Jennifer Myers Chua

Apr 25, 2021 | B Corporations, Environmental Health, Episodes, Impact Business, Sustainability

My Kindness Calendar's Maran Stern-Kubista



Jennifer Myers Chua here, the host of Cost of Goods Sold. In today’s episode, I’m going to tell you this story of how I got here, how I went from a career in the food television world to becoming the CCO of Hip Mommies, a boutique distribution company. How I reluctantly joined the struggling family business, scrapped it all and rebuilt a seven-figure business based on values. What I’ve learned over the past couple of years, supporting product-based businesses. What the costs of bringing a product to market really are and why I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned with this podcast in hopes of learning alongside you and inspiring more intentional innovation.

If you want to learn more about Hip Mommies, our carefully curated collection of goods from brands committed to doing better, visit hipmommies.ca. Shopping for the little ones in your life? The collection is available for purchase at shop.hipmommies.ca. And you can follow along with us on our mission to connect retail with thoughtfully designed responsibly, manufactured goods, on Instagram or facebook

About the Host


I'm Jennifer Myers Chua. The Host and Producer of the Cost Of Goods Sold podcast. I'm an entrepreneur, a creative, a cookbook fanatic, mother.  I have always been interested in hearing people's stories and I've been determined to change the world for as long as I can remember.

You'll find me at home in Toronto deconstructing recipes, listening to podcasts, enjoying time with friends or wandering alone through a big city.  I'm excited to have you here. Let's do better, together.


Episode Transcript


Jennifer Myers Chua: Hello, everyone and welcome. You’re listening to Cost of Goods Sold with Jennifer Myers Chua episode 04.  In today’s episode, I’m going to tell you this story of how I got here, how I went from a career in the food television world to becoming the CCO of Hip Mommies,  a boutique distribution company. How I reluctantly joined the struggling family business, scrapped it all and rebuilt a seven-figure business based on values. What I’ve learned over the past couple of years, supporting product-based businesses. What the costs of bringing a product to market really are and why I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned with this podcast in hopes of learning alongside with you and inspiring more intentional innovation.

[00:00:44]  Life before Hip Mommies was dramatically different than my life now. And it’s definitely a story that I get asked to tell a lot, because it’s a story of reinvention. It’s a story of saving a struggling family business. And it’s a story of building a brand based on values. And a lot of the things that have happened since I’ve joined Hip Mommies have profoundly changed me as a person, and led me to where we are today, which is with this podcast and this purpose of mine to share this information with other small business owners in hopes of creating change.

[00:01:21] And in order to get back to where this all started, we have to go all the way back to 2014. And in 2014, I was a digital art director. I was working on the Food Network Canada redesign. And I was also the design team lead at a very large television media company. I was leading a team of designers and UX professionals who were working on a number of websites to support television channels here in Canada.

[00:01:47] I loved my job. I loved working on a team and I loved creatively collaborating and I just really enjoyed the day to day. And in addition to doing the design and doing the art direction and leadership, I was also able to do a lot of things for Food Network Canada, in terms of creative content creation. So interviews with chefs and event coverage, cookbook reviews, recipes, things like that.

[00:02:13] One Monday in April, I went into the office and was let go in a round of layoffs. And by Wednesday, when my team took me out to celebrate the time that I had spent there, I wasn’t feeling so hot. And by Saturday, I was in a medical clinic with my husband finding out that I was pregnant with our first child.

[00:02:31]It was very shocking. It was a very difficult time in our lives. I was the one with the job security and the health coverage and the stability. At this point, my husband had owned his business for a decade and he had started it with his sister. She had since moved on. And for a variety of reasons, the business wasn’t doing well. It certainly wasn’t doing well enough to support both of us and a growing family.

[00:02:57] I panicked and I called in all of the connections I could, to try to find another position. And so I was interviewing for creative director positions and art director positions. And I was going into these interviews and having these conversations with people. Fellow creatives. Who are saying things like, how do you feel about helicopters? We have a photo shoot next month. We have to shoot from the air. How do you feel about that? And I’m sitting here with my first trimester nausea, looking at 50 hour work weeks with deadlines and now helicopter shoots and this unbelievable desperation and fear, really. I just didn’t know what to do.  So my husband had an idea.  And he said why why don’t you just join me and join the family business and we can do this together?

[00:03:46] I never, ever wanted to sell stuff. This was the last thing that I could possibly think of agreeing to.  I was a self-proclaimed minimalist. I was very conscious of my impact on the world. We lived in an open concept loft at this point with no storage and clean surfaces. And I had backpacked through Asia and lived out of a backpack and I had appreciated living with less.

[00:04:12] I was really not interested in putting more goods out into the world. Like physical goods. And over the years I had tagged along and visited the industry trade shows for the baby space, with my husband. And it had been really overwhelming. Massive convention centers filled. The number of goods that were being made each year for one industry on one continent was alarming.

[00:04:36] And a lot of, it was just another version of something that already existed. Like there wasn’t any innovation, it wasn’t solving a problem. It was just made for the interests of that particular business in that particular booth.

[00:04:50]At this point, we were getting desperate. My husband’s business wasn’t doing so great. To be honest, it was really, really struggling. And pretty much on the verge of collapse. So we were left with not very many choices and not very many options.

[00:05:06] And I went to a friend of mine and I explained to him how I was feeling. And he had a conversation with me that really changed my thinking. And he said, Jennifer, do you know how difficult it is to change? Everybody’s worldview, their buying habits. Do you know how difficult it is to convince everybody to care about these things that you care about? And in that conversation, he led me to think that it would be possible that instead of trying to make everybody think and feel the way that I did about things. That I could use this as an opportunity to curate a collection and curate better options and make my impact there.

[00:05:43]So I could reach the people that were on the fringes of caring about things like sustainability and multi-purposeness and thoughtful design. And I could present them just really interesting, useful products that looked really good that were really hot. And were maybe something that they would want in their life, but they could also get the added benefit of knowing that those were responsibly manufactured or sustainable. That they were safer options for their children. And so I went back to my husband and I said, yes, I’m here for this. We’re doing it, but we’re going to have to start over. And luckily he agreed.  We scrapped everything. And basically built the business from the ground up at that point. Using my expertise, we did utilize a bunch of digital technologies with a website and an online ordering system, inventory management, e-commerce, digital lookbooks, digital marketing. But it was more than that. We changed our name. We kept our warehouse. We scrapped all of our brands. We scrapped a number of retailers and we definitely built a new mission and a new set of core values. And a new way of looking for goods and acquiring goods and marketing goods, and really rebuilt this business based on those values.

[00:06:59] So my husband thinks I’m overemphasizing this. But the business was moments from going under. And so I’d love to share a bit more about where we were as a business and what was going on at that time. The couple of years leading up to me, joining Hip Mommies, I was working full time, had my own career, my own interests, and I helped out when I could, but I was not nearly as invested.

[00:07:22] And even being a decade old, we were very much the underdog. For one thing, we were incredibly young, generally not taken very seriously. We didn’t have any children. And the baby space is dominated by way more middle-aged men than you would expect.

[00:07:38] The first local industry specific trade show we signed up to do. It was in a hotel. And the big brands were in these lavish ballrooms. And then they had one hallway of hotel rooms available for smaller companies like ours. And it was probably an afterthought. They were basic hotel rooms. Like those unrenovated ones that they never book.  With the beds removed, but otherwise hotel rooms and ours was the very last one at the very, very end of the hall.

[00:08:07] Being the optimist that I am, I was going to make the best of it.  We unfolded our tables and set up our goods. I filled the room with fresh flowers and fruit flavored waters and healthy snacks. We set up a speaker and played music. Our employee Jedd, a talented artist, created a chalkboard sign which I put up at the end of the hall. Anything to get the buyers to actually come visit with us.

[00:08:30] This worked better than expected, at least for the first day. Because by the morning of the second, the small stroller brand in the room across from us, that yesterday just had tables and strollers, today had slightly louder jazz music, a bigger sign, more snacks. I wasn’t flattered.

[00:08:46] The next year we were invited into the ballroom. I couldn’t get the time off work, but I did help set up. We still didn’t have a proper booth and there were lots of visits to the local craft store in the weeks leading up to the show. My husband loves to look back at what he calls “the year of the bunting.”.

[00:09:04] This is all to say that while I was trying to help make this business a success. My work at HGTV, I was working on the HGTV Canada redesign at this time, that was my top priority. And I thought that at any minute, my husband would find a product that would really help solidify the business and bring him back into the black.

[00:09:23] He had done so well with the Bumbo back in 2004, when he owned the business with his older sister, it’s like a molded seat for little babes to sit up. And he introduced it to Canada, spent a couple of years selling it out of a storage locker and driving around a small retail stores, even leaving the Bumbo in store on commission. But since he lost that account, the products that we had were just not that great.  They were not particularly unique. Not memorable. And they certainly were not the kind of goods that retailers were looking for. We had a collection of products, but there was no real story and nothing made us stand out.

[00:10:02]So we headed to Las Vegas. One of the two dueling north America industry trade shows was in Las Vegas each year in the massive convention center that they have there. And so the intent was to come home with a new brand, something that would generate some buzz. And so at this point I had a blog series on HGTV, Canada, about condo / small space living. And I asked to be able to cover the expo for the blog. They agreed.  So I joined my husband and we flew to Vegas.

[00:10:33] Now trade shows have changed dramatically over the last few years, as social media has become more of a thing and video calls have become a normal thing. There’s less of a need for them. And with COVID maybe, hopefully environmentally speaking, they’ve changed forever. But at this time in the early 2010s, this was the trade show heyday.  Thousands of booths, hundreds of thousands of square foot exhibition halls, and tens of thousands of attendees.

[00:11:01] We walked the show, looking for new and exciting things and stumbled across a brand that would change the course of our business. It was a cloth diaper company. Now, looking back at all of this, the details are a bit Fuzzi but these modern cloth diapers were gaining in popularity with the sustainably minded parents of the time. From birth to potty training, the average baby goes through a lot of diapers. Some statistics say 7,000, some say one tonne, and they take hundreds of years to decompose. So it is something worth being mindful of. And modern cloth diapers had been designed to be so much easier and cleaner.  They had pockets to insert absorbent microfiber pads, and snaps to secure fit and colorful printed covers.  They were . The rage.  And cloth diaper fanatics were an enthusiastic bunch. Think of the release of like air Jordans. Yeah. Limited edition prints. Hard to get colors. A new cloth diaper, a style.  This could start a frenzy. I’m serious.

[00:12:03] And this is also the rise of YouTube. And cloth diapering moms were eager to show off their stash shots on their channels,  post reviews, demos about fit, things like that.  So one YouTube search later, it was obvious that this was the brand to sell. If you wanted into the cloth diaper space.  The CEO was winning awards, her brand was the leader in this category and she was looking eagerly for Canadian distribution.  We left that show with a verbal agreement and thought we had made it. This was it.

[00:12:33] Her brand and Hip Mommies quickly partnered. We began selling diapers and opened up a ton of new wholesale accounts with natural parenting stores, health, food stores, cloth diaper specific stores, of which there are many more than you’d imagine. And things were going really well.

[00:12:49] Within a matter of months, the demand was growing, but we could not get stock.   The brand had supply issues. They kept changing manufacturers and switching countries of origin even. USA to China, to Turkey. And we didn’t get it because we did not know what was going on.  And she was not really open with us about what was going on either.

[00:13:15] And we began to use the profits from those sales to expand into related goods. So some organic cotton socks, cloth diaper, friendly detergents, eco-friendly soaps.  Multipurpose car seat breastfeeding covers.  We were still really young. We were still really green,  but we were finally at the point where we stopped having to sell ourselves to get meetings with prospective brands. Brands began to approach us. And it was a huge boost of confidence.

[00:13:42] The cloth diaper brand began to fall apart, but more dramatically like the business had imploded. And again, as we have been left in the dark and because we were all so new to all of this, we really had no clue what had happened. What we did know is that one of our largest sources of revenue had now disappeared and we needed to replace it.  My husband and our employee flew to Germany for the European show. And in between Schweinshaxe and Brau Hauses, managed to connect with another cloth diaper company. The closest competitor who was really, really very interested in working with us.  We should have known.

[00:14:23]  We agreed to start the conversation and meet up again in the fall in Louisville, where they had this spectacular  lushly carpeted booth and all of their team wore what looked like Louboutin. Yes. Cloth diapers.  Being that we were in the land of bourbon. We suggested an evening meeting at Maker’s Mark. And we were a flight of bourbon in, by the time they arrived. Still in heels, drinking lemon and hot water and eager to get this partnership started.  We couldn’t believe at that point, how impressive we had become as a company.  Just look at how badly they wanted to partner with us. And in some ways, this was a step up because their marketing was better. Their colors were a bit more on trend, and they had some adorable prints that were collaborations with trendy artists from LA.

[00:15:13] Now there is a lot of space on the internet dedicated to what happened next. And even a Shark Tank episode about the patent and intellectual property wars that followed between these two brands. So I don’t have to get into that here, but unbeknownst to us, these two CEOs had a long and sorted history. One had worked for the other, one had filed the patent, the other left the company to start their own. You get the story. And it took us an embarrassingly long time to realize that we had left one business as it was struggling only to support the knockoff brand. Maybe I should have dug deeper into the cloth diaper forums.

[00:15:51] For a variety of reasons after that. Intellectual property lawsuits is one.  The new brand began to rapidly lose market share as well. The consumers were favoring cloth made domestically and from newer materials like hemp and charcoal. There were ongoing quality control issues. And really the market had shifted.  Brands like the honest company had convinced the sustainably curious parents that their new eco-friendly disposable solved all of the problems that conventional diapers had created.  They also had cute prints. And even with all of the modern innovations, cloth diapers still meant that you have to do loads more laundry.

[00:16:32] The eco-friendliness of these modern disposables is up for debate. And certainly I hope to do an episode on that at some point. So more on that later.

[00:16:39] But all of this was my introduction to intellectual property, knockoffs. Not to mention the counterfeit. Yup. Counterfeit cloth diapers  coming from China, which were being sold mostly on eBay at that time.  I also learned that patents and intellectual property mean almost nothing now with the influx of overseas manufacturers popping up all over the internet.  Your IP, it’s basically impossible to protect.  It also introduced me to the darker side of the business. The brands built on copying the ideas of independent creators.  Often first-time business owners, usually moms,  who have a great idea and a less robust legal team.  There are brands who have made their fortunes this way for decades. And this wouldn’t be last time that we got caught up in this drama between competitors, but it profoundly influenced what we look for when exploring partnerships. What questions we ask.

[00:17:34]And since that day, we only work with people that we like as people that we believe in. That we feel are genuine. And here to do the right thing.  And it solidified our commitment to support ethical businesses and the innovators. And it got me seriously, seriously fired up about supporting these smaller, independent creators, those making something because they really want to make a difference.

[00:18:03] This takes us to April, 2014. I’m pregnant. I’m binge eating bananas. And my husband’s tiny 8×8 office that he shares with our employee. I’m on the phone with service Ontario, trying to figure out if I can get my maternity benefits early. We’ve just lost our second leading brand in the space of a couple of years and now have a baby on the way. I’m unemployed. The helicopter interview is only just behind us and the next industry trade show isn’t until fall.  I had wanted to spend my pregnancy enjoying those sweet covered by my health care plan, prenatal massages,  maybe taking a yoga class on my lunch break.  And instead I was planning a full rebrand of my husband’s business, which I was about to reluctantly join. I approached some of the major publications in Toronto about writing parenting content,  but never made it past the first interview. I had no idea how this was going to work, but I had to push through because we didn’t have much of a choice.

[00:19:02]  Every so often I’d subway back to my old workplace and sit outside with my former team members and my growing belly, To brainstorm on how to use my digital skills to improve a distribution business. It wasn’t web, it wasn’t design, it wasn’t TV. It wasn’t creative or particularly exciting. And it was in one of those conversations with my good friend, Arron, that changed everything. That was the worldview moment. The next time, Joey and I sat down to discuss our plan with Hip Mommies, I was energized.  We identified our core values, our guiding principles, and set about rebuilding a business that we could be proud of. And things began to fall into place.

[00:19:45] Miraculously. So, and I can’t even remember how it happened because it doesn’t seem possible.  I was up late one night, Googling, looking for new baby brands or products, gaining popularity in other markets.  And I stumbled across the landing page. It had a logo, an email capture, and one line of copy. No SEO. So I don’t know how I found it.  It said something like “sign up to be the first to hear about the newest brand in feeding.” I tried to enter my email and got an error. So I looked them up on Facebook.  Their page was new, not really set up and had two followers. I’d later learn that these two were the founder and her brother. I was the third. I sent a DM, said I wanted to learn more and gave my email address. And on the other side of that DM, Lindsey, the founder of ezpz had her own “we’ve made it” moment.

[00:20:38]  By July of that year, she was showing us prototypes and planning a launch on Kickstarter. She had secured a booth at that Las Vegas trade show, essentially their version of the hotel room at the end of the hall. And Joey booked his ticket. I was very pregnant at this point and happy to just follow along via text messages. We didn’t know much about Lindsay at this point, but she had an incredible energy. And with a design background, I could see that her product was ingenious. And I knew that the end consumer would love it. I knew that retailers would love it. And it was clear that Lindsey was on a mission to support parents through feeding challenges. And she had a tremendous heart.  Day, one of the show, my husband in his trademark suit and Jordan 4s,  set up camp outside their booth. Refusing to take on any other meetings, he was aware that he was coming home with this partnership at all costs.

[00:21:30] The response was phenomenal. The little booth at the end of the hall had swarms of buyers from all over the world stopping in. Bloggers, television crews, influencers taking videos that quickly went viral.  Lindsey had a product that was about to change an entire category forever and a really compelling and authentic story. People loved her and the Happy Mat. And we partnered with them shortly after.  ezpz launched in Canada end of January of 2015, shortly after we launched into parenthood about a week earlier.

[00:22:04] Lindsay has said that she chose us because she liked us for who we were for sure. But that our core values meant something to her. It was a differentiator and one that she resonated with. The industry show with the bunting booth, we skipped it that year, and the next year exhibited with a large booth and a prime location. A hundred more retail partnerships or so, and an expanded team. And all of this, I mean, it was a really big win for us and it just makes me so happy to know that you can stick to your principles and really build something that can make an impact on the world.  And we now have this opportunity to partner with brands who are truly making a difference and help our retail partners stock their shelves with goods that they can feel good about offering to their customers.

[00:22:49] I don’t remember specifically when I became interested in sustainability or social purpose,  but I do remember asking my mother for a reusable canvas, tote, lunch bag and sandwich and juice containers. When they first hit the stores. I was probably seven and my classmates were all using paper bags and plastic, top things and juice boxes, disposable. And I remember being very concerned that cans of tuna had to be labeled dolphin friendly.  And of course justice and fairness were always top of mind. I can recall. In elementary school making signs to protest Sunday, shopping, thinking that it was going to negatively impact small family run businesses. And I wanted to be a defense attorney. Because I thought that like, Matlock. Being a lawyer meant that you were helping those who were wrongfully accused.

[00:23:42] I do remember very clearly when I learned that counterfeits were a thing and it was during the time that I lived in Asia. But I didn’t really understand the danger or of the enormity of that industry. And I would have never considered that you’d find counterfeit, baby products, medications, formula, anything like that until much later. And to be honest, being in this space the last couple of years has opened my eyes to things. A lot of things, that otherwise I wouldn’t have considered.

[00:24:13] But on the flip side, being involved in the product based business space and having a design background, I’ve had the pleasure of being introduced to design led initiatives, some really innovative solutions and products that are creative and tremendously helpful.

[00:24:29] There are some product designers that are just bringing to market such wonderful innovations. And it’s been very exciting. I love stumbling across these  and we’ve made it a priority, which is helpful to our business as well. To support the originals, the innovators, the designers. to avoid the copycat businesses who know how to play that game. The “rush before the patent clears” or “use our legal powers” game. And that capitalize on the innovators. But to say, I have been inspired by all of the new products that I’m discovering is an understatement, because there are so many intentional founders doing some really remarkable things.

[00:25:10] I’m often asked what our criteria are. Like, what are we looking for specifically when we are considering to partner with a brand. And we evaluate every brand very carefully, knowing that our differentiator is truly that we have a carefully curated collection and that our retail partners know that these brands have been vetted in terms of sustainability, ethics, safety, practicality, and that there is a market fit and they will be popular with the end consumer. We look for thoughtful design, responsible manufacturing.  Recyclable or biodegradable materials. Eco-friendliness, multi-purposeness, usefulness. We consider life cycle. What may happen to the products once a child outgrows, something, for example.  Is there a way to reuse this for another purpose? Will it be in a condition that it can be passed to a second child or another family?  And consumer product safety is something that we take very seriously requiring above and beyond third-party safety tests because  dangerous goods are unfortunately becoming more of a thing. With the rise of e-commerce marketplaces, online stores.  And unregulated untested goods, which are coming from overseas.

[00:26:20] There are great costs to the environment, to our society.  The health and wellbeing of our children by purchasing the not-safe goods. And there is an incredible amount of waste being created each year by our purchasing habits and buying things that have an incredibly short life span. Or goods that are just not functional, which then quickly end up in landfill.

[00:26:40] And every wholesaler  or a sales rep can partner with dozens of brands to stack their offering, so they can function as a one-stop shop. But this has been the opposite of our approach, which is to try to be more mindful. And by focusing on a smaller lineup of carefully vetted goods, we’ve had the opportunity to grow the brands organically and intentionally within our market. But we’re also making a promise to our retail partners and to the consumers, that the products we offer, we truly believe in. And they’re not just there to be available or for sale or make us look like a larger business than we are. And with that, we have the opportunity to stay really lean.   We don’t have a warehouse full with end of line goods. Or goods that won’t sell that we now have to consciously get rid of.

[00:27:27] When I came on board with Hip Mommies the goal at that time was to get through my pregnancy. And to get this business rebuilt and rebranded. And then I was to leave it in the hands of my capable husband and our employees at the time. And get back to working in the creative world. And the marker moved. And then it became that I would stay on board until we could secure childcare. And then it became until my daughter reached school age. But the marker kept moving because I kept learning more and more about this space. And there’s just so much more that I can do to support our suppliers and in turn, Canadians.

[00:28:02] The brands that we’ve helped to launch in Canada most are family owned. Most are women led. All have some measure of sustainable or social focus and all are purpose-driven.  It’s not about creating something to make profit. It’s about creating something to make an impact.

[00:28:19] Our relationship with ezpz for example, has truly been life altering. And really we grew together.  ezpz is small, scrappy, self-funded. 100% woman led. Transparent. They have experts and specialists on staff to make sure all of their products are developmentally appropriate and a really purpose first and seeing how hard they pushed to stick to their core values through tremendous growth, counterfeits, having to fight, to protect their patents, knowing that these were the right things to do for the end consumer, has been really inspiring. And part of the reason that I wanted to start this podcast was to help amplify the voices of these independent businesses, that are really fighting to make better choices when the odds are stacked against them.  And I’ve had many, many moments. Many moments where fighting for what we feel is right, has been a tremendous challenge.

[00:29:21] It would have been much easier to partner with one of these really large brands. That have products that span every category and just a huge catalogue. They’re well-known from decades ago. We’d instantly have access to more retailers would just be easy to sell. And these companies already have all of those things in place that will make it easy for us.  Working with the smaller independently owned startups and the smaller brands, we often have to go through that growth period alongside them. The design iterations, the mistakes. The marketing a brand that no one has heard of. And working on things like retail requirements, bilingual packaging. And every time that one of these large brands has approached us, I have that brief glimmer. That thought how much easier this could be. And luckily, because it’s my husband and I making the businesses, the key decisions, one of us will remind the other what we’re here to do, who we’re here to support and what our purpose is.

[00:30:25] And I think the most challenging piece for me in terms of my worldview has been seeing the rise of what I refer to as Amazon culture and how we have this one click free shipping free returns mindset now. That means that consumers may purchase a number of goods with the intention of returning what they like least  Not understanding that the majority of the time, those goods, may head straight to landfill. And I think also that when someone returns something to Amazon, for example, they think they’re like sticking it to Bezos, you know?  But effectively, if it’s a small business seller, the small business is eating all of that cost.

[00:31:01] And it costs businesses a lot more to receive returns, inspect them, process them, restock them, reshelve them for resale than it costs to dispose of them.  And oftentimes there are tax credits associated with the disposal of these goods. So many, many businesses do not bother. And we get all of our return sent back to us. I share about this on social media, all of the time. And each week when I visit that pile of boxes, many returned, unopened, still sealed. It really hurts my soul. We painstakingly open, inspect, donate, and resell what we can, but I know that we are the anomaly and I struggle to try to emphasize that messaging that as consumers, we need to be conscious, but as business owners, we have responsibilities too.

[00:31:51] And the counterfeit conversation is one that needs to be had over and over and over. I talk about it because all of us shopping online have purchased something that we may not even know as a fake. And the counterfeiters are responsible for organized crime. Environmental atrocities. Really awful labor conditions. And these goods are often found to have known carcinogens, lead, mercury, other dangerous toxins in them. They are not tested for safety. They are not made with any protocols in mind and they’re made for a quick profit, the counterfeiters, doing their best to dupe you into thinking it’s the real deal. And without any considerations for health safety and the wellbeing of anyone but themselves. It’s a hundreds of billions of dollars a year issue that I think most people. Don’t think affects them. But Amazon, Ali Baba, Ali-Express, Walmart. We are finding counterfeits of our goods by the dozens all of the time. And commonly counterfeited goods include things you would never think of. Baby carriers. Children’s feeding products, sunscreens, toys, personal care. It’s not just like LV handbags.

[00:33:07] And these goods are sold in all of the marketplaces, online stores, your local social media marketplaces. Pop-ups, even big box stores.  And this isn’t only a surprise to consumers because we’ve been through this so many times with small businesses. When they’ve first discovered that knock-offs of their goods are being sold somewhere. Often with replicated packaging, using the brands, photography, and verbiage. It’s eye opening for certain.

[00:33:36]And while some of this sounds really negative or even overwhelming, if it’s new to you. I want to emphasize the incredible spirit of the entrepreneur. And how many brands I found led by heart-centered founders that are committed to change.  I truly believe that the majority of small business owners and the majority of consumers want to support brands that are making responsible choices. And I truly believe that there is just a knowledge gap. We are not always aware of the impact of our choices.

[00:34:10] And I wanted to put this podcast out into the world to really give a voice to the owners of these businesses that are using their product to make a difference in the world. I’d love to connect with you. If you’re thinking of starting a small business or growing an existing one, or looking into sustainability or social purpose, I’d like to inspire you with the stories of founders that have been here before to take stock and consider what can be done and what should be done differently.

[00:34:42] And I want to explore the true costs associated with creating a sustainable business, whatever those may be, the financial costs, but also the costs to our family life, mental health, the planet, and the people in our communities.  The world needs more intentional creators and more compassion. And with Hip Mommies, I am always looking for ways to do better. And I’d love to have you come along on this journey with me.  And we can learn how to do better. Together.

[00:35:11]If you want to learn more about Hip Mommies, our carefully curated collection of goods from brands committed to doing better, visit hipmommies.ca. Shopping for the little ones in your life? The collection is available for purchase at shop.hipmommies.ca.  And you can follow along with us on our mission to connect retail  with thoughtfully designed responsibly, manufactured goods, on instagram facebook or twitter @hipmommies.


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