Bottle-feeding on-the-go can be a hassle, especially with formula-fed babies. That’s why Zak Wood and his wife Kim created the PopYum bottle, which stores the formula and water separately within the bottle until it’s feeding time. We spoke with Zak about the inspiration behind the PopYum bottle, the ups and downs of launching a business with your spouse, and advice for other parents with a burning business idea.
Congratulations on the upcoming launch of PopYum! How did you get the idea for this product?
Since our son was adopted, we bottle-fed from birth. We tried many popular baby bottles and they all leaked and were really hard to use when away from home. When you pre-mix baby formula, you have to stick the bottles in ice packs and you’re always worried about formula going bad. Then, when your baby is hungry, they get ice-cold formula. If you mix the formula on-site, you have so many different containers to lug around and you end up spilling formula and water all over the place while the baby cries. Traditional baby bottles are simply not designed for today’s active parenting lifestyle.
We thought that we could create a better everyday baby bottle and PopYum was born! Our goal was to create a bottle that people could make formula using only one hand, so you can hold your baby or multitask with the other. We also wanted it to be made of only five parts (the same as a regular baby bottle), easy to clean, have a natural latch, and made of the safest premium materials.
You’re launching PopYum with your wife, Kim—what’s it like to work with your spouse?
It’s mostly a blessing and at times can feel like a curse! If we had not worked together, PopYum would definitely not be a great bottle. Since PopYum is so different from any other baby bottle, there was no template or standard to follow. Kim’s continual testing of countless prototypes incrementally changed PopYum from an idea into what we believe is a game-changer.
With that said, at times it can be difficult to feel like you’re being heard. We try our best to be patient, listen and talk through the smallest issues with each other. I believe that when we look back on the PopYum experience, we’ll have amazing and lasting memories.
You successfully used a Kickstarter campaign to fund your business venture—do you have any advice for other parents who have a business idea and aren’t sure how to bring it to life?
Know that you’ll make mistakes, and be prepared to learn from them along the way.
As soon as you can, bring your idea to real parents and get their feedback. If you can patent your idea, then you can safely share your product with families after you have filed for a patent. Otherwise, look into getting the test parents to sign a non-disclosure agreement. We loved PopYum but we had no idea if parents would like it. Getting all of the amazingly positive parent PopYum feedback was such a relief and gave us the confidence to launch on Kickstarter.
If you don’t have experience in a certain area, don’t let it be a roadblock—find someone who has it, reach out and ask for advice. You may be surprised how supportive friends, colleagues and strangers can be and how much invaluable feedback you may receive.
If you could hand off one chore to someone else each day, what would it be?
Social media. Social media is so important, yet so time consuming.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
Family beach day! We are blessed to live 26 blocks from the beach. So when time and weather permits, we load up our bikes and pedal down to the beach for a day in the surf and sand.
What is your best parenting hack?
When in doubt, bring a healthy snack. Never be in a situation where you have to scramble to get food or water.
What is the best white lie that you’ve told your child?
It’s less of a white lie and more of a diversion. Our son, now five, has already asked us a few times if Santa Claus is real. He was trying to compute how Santa could visit every child on the planet in one night. That combined with a few older kids who mocked him for believing in Santa rocked his world. We successfully avoided answering the question a few times by adeptly changing the subject.
If you could describe motherhood/fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
Surprise! No matter how many books I read and parenting advice I collected, I was still not prepared for how much our life instantly changed overnight.
What’s one moment in your parenting journey that has made you proud?
While launching PopYum and dealing with a chronic Lyme disease condition, I still managed to find the time to coach my son’s soccer team. Sharing the fleeting moments is so important.
What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to your children?
Get an education, never give up, and work on understanding who you are.
How do you tackle the work/life balance?
Our extended family is not in Southern California (where we live) and having chronic Lyme disease can really put a wrench in our family plans. Open communication, not trying to do too much (both at work and at home), and making quick decisions helps us stay balanced. The secret sauce however, is my wife Kim’s endless energy, thoughtfulness and planning, which always makes up for my shortfalls.
What was the last book you read?
Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections
Favorite Beauty Product:
Redkin Rewind 06 Styling Paste
Favorite Form of Exercise:
What is on your DVR?
“So You Think You Can Dance” (Our favorite!), “Game of Thrones”, “Walking Dead”, “Stranger Things” and NFL Football.
Favorite Kids Store:
For most stuff: Amazon When we have a bit of time, we head down to our local Barnes & Noble to browse and pick out new books!