For mom of two and entrepreneur Sarah Shoemaker, Hummingbird Infant is truly a family affair. Sarah gave us the scoop on one of her bath products, the Warm Hug™ Bath Swaddle, what it was like to be the youngest of 11 kids, and the touching story behind her company’s name.
What inspired you to start Hummingbird Infant?
As a teen, my daughter showed me some Buzz Feed article regarding the best baby products. “Hmm. Most of those products were around when you were a baby,” I said. Admittedly, maybe it was just the article, but it inspired me to innovate.
I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and a consumer insights junkie who loves a good ‘a-ha’ moment. So, I did some market research. The ‘a-ha’ happened while watching my friend Dana bathe her baby. She bathed her son Santos with tons of towels, skills and softness. Yet, he was still crying. That’s where our first product, the Warm Hug™ Bath Swaddle was initially inspired.
It was cut out and designed while I was on a trip back to Iowa to visit family. My sister Kathleen instinctively grabbed scissors and went right to work. Our dad watched as the first prototype was cut out at his old farmhouse kitchen table. I borrowed his truck and off we drove to visit my niece Jessica, and her 4-week-old baby. She loved it.
When my teenage daughter exclaimed, “Wow, Mom! It actually works!” that cemented it. The Warm Hug Bath Swaddle was born— and so was Hummingbird Infant.
Tell us about the Warm Hug™ Bath Swaddle.
Bath time can be cold for babies, who chill quicker than adults and often cry; they may be a bit slippery, too.
The Warm Hug Bath Swaddle is designed for a warm, calm, connected experience at bath time.
Your baby stays warmer in the bath, because it’s made of baby soft neoprene, like a wet suit. You just loosely swaddle your baby and they’re in a warm, womb-like bath.
What was it like growing up as the baby in a family with 11 children?
It was like being both the youngest and the oldest child. As the youngest, I attribute my resilience to all the teasing and ‘parenting’ I got from my 10 older siblings. But, they’re resilient because of me, too. I was quite a distraction. I ended up being the oldest of my nieces and nephews. We were constant playmates. It was quite a kick being “Aunt Sarah” from the time I was a baby.
Quick math says being one of 11 kids means I have a tribe of over 140 of us. Hummingbird Infant is run entirely with the support of my family members right now. My sister, Kathleen, partners with me to do soft goods production and prototypes. My nieces Jessica and Melissa help a ton with social media; my nephew’s wife Kendall is a talented graphic designer and designed the logo and graphic design. My mom is the namesake. Though she passed away several years ago, anytime I’m outside with my family we notice hummingbirds and we think of her spirit encouraging us to soar. And the never-ending family babies are our favorite product testers. My family is amazing and I’m so grateful.
If you could hand off one chore to someone else each day, what would it be?
Someone to help keep my hurricane of a house tidy as we come and go. That would be magical.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
Running. Street running for speed to kick up my happy endorphins, and on the trails for the amazing views. With friends.
What is your best parenting hack?
“Screens” on weekends only for our 9-year-old son. So, video games, phone and iPad are off limits until the weekend. We started this rule a few years ago and it has been so good for us as a family.
What is the best white lie that you’ve told your child?
Stores are closed right now.
If you could describe motherhood/fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
What’s one moment in your motherhood journey that has made you proud?
My husband, Randy, and I had to try a little harder to have a family. We have one miracle baby (Sydney, 16) who I gave birth to, and another miracle baby (Cody, 9) who we adopted. Watching, laughing, crying, shaking my head, messing up, trying again, but in the end watching and knowing our two miracles are becoming the best versions of themselves makes me burst with pride. Other days? I just attempt to find the humor.
What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to your children?
Life is a work in progress. Be kind to others even when they don’t deserve it. We all lose it sometimes. Be kind to yourself with your imperfections, too.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
There is no single truth in parenting. There’s only your truth and what works for you and your family. Be proud of what is working well and let go of what isn’t. A perfect life would be boring.
How do you tackle the work/life balance?
Some days are balanced. Some days aren’t. As a rule of thumb, I try to get work done while the kids are at school. But, that’s not always feasible.
I tend to make three main business goals for each week. I zig and zag a lot on executing to get them done. Sometimes I’m up at dark o’clock, other times I hunker down at a bookstore to prevent distractions, and other days I work very little and focus entirely on parenting.
What was the last book you read?
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Truth be told, I listened to it. Does that count? The narrator is amazing with the southern characters. I highly recommend it!
Favorite Beauty Product:
BB Under Eye Cream when I’m not too lazy to use it. Fenty Glow Lip Gloss is amazing, too. It adds life to my pale lips.
Favorite Form of Exercise:
What is on your DVR?
Modern Family, Grace and Frankie, old Will & Grace episodes, some live African safari show we watch to wind down and see what animals are doing on the other side of the world.
Podcast App. I like to listen to podcasts when out running if I’m alone. It’s a great way to learn something new or get inspired.
Favorite Kids Store: