By Samantha Lande, BCB Staff Writer
Welcome to Wonder Woman Wednesday, a weekly feature that will attempt to tackle the question we are frequently asked— “how do moms really do it all?” Each week we will feature an amazing mom with extraordinary abilities. From founders of some of the most successful companies to philanthropists who are changing the world, these women are true heroines. To thank them for lifting the cape on some of their super powers, we will make a donation to the charity of their choice.
THIS WEEK WE ARE NOT ONLY CELEBRATING OUR WWW, BUT WE ARE ALSO CELEBRATING HER COMPANY’S 5TH BIRTHDAY! CLICK HERE TO ENTER TO WIN A PRIZE PACKAGE FILLED WITH STICKY BELLIES PRODUCTS! HAPPY BIRTHDAY STICKY BELLIES!
NAME: Carly Dorogi
KIDS: I have two girls. They are 3 & 6.
OCCUPATION: Founder and CEO of Sticky Bellies
WHERE DO YOU LIVE: Suburb of Detroit, Michigan
FAVORITE CHARITY: Sarah’s Smiles
Every month when you go to prop up your baby for his or her birthday milestones and press a sticker onto the onesie, you are giving this mom, Carly Dorogi, kudos. What started as a fun hobby turned into a booming business that is about to celebrate its 5th birthday! Sticky Bellies has expanded beyond just the monthly stickers and now has holiday stickers, birthday posters, photo memory cards and more. Carly tells us about taking the plunge into entrepreneurship, her addiction to Instagram and her adoration for gangsta rap.
What is your backstory?
I have a background in education and was a curriculum consultant for a large public school district when I had my first daughter. When I was a kid, my mom always made me shirts that announced different holidays, birthdays, etc. but they were hand-appliqued and way fancier than anything I could ever make. I mentioned to my husband that I thought it would be cool to have something I could just stick on my daughter’s shirt to take cute monthly pictures without being permanent. He suggested I make something. I drew up some ideas and had a graphic design friend bring them to life. After mentioning the idea to some friends, I ordered a couple thousand packs from a local printer to see if I could sell them at mom-to-mom sales, etc. I continued working at the school district thinking this would just be a fun hobby, at most. A few months later, Daily Candy and Parents Magazine featured our monthly milestone stickers and I had a legitimate business on my hands. Three years into the business, I had to resign from my “day job” because I just couldn’t manage doing both anymore, but it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. I loved working in schools and was passionate about the work I was doing there. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions, too. My business has grown exponentially since focusing on it full-time and we’ve expanded more than I could have ever imagined. Sticky Bellies milestone products are now found in 3,500+ stores in the US, with international distribution in 6 countries. We also have two completely new products, and three other products in the works. It’s been a crazy journey and I NEVER could have imagined this life, but it’s fun, exciting, and has allowed me to really hone my sales skills which was a completely new world to me.
Tell us about your typical weekday…
There really is no typical – but I like it that way. I spend a few days a week with my girls when we try to pack in tons of fun & creativity. We love to be outside and in the summer we’re usually at the pool. On my work days (which vary from week to week depending on my travel schedule, etc.) I’m primarily responsible for new product development, so I’m working with our design team to tweak designs, packaging etc. I also oversee all our sales reps and check in on new accounts, orders, etc. It’s a completely fluid schedule and usually results in working until the wee hours of the night. I’m usually in bed around 1:00 am.
Tell us about a “save the day moment”…
I had an emergency induction with my youngest daughter… on the same day that my first order to a major retailer was supposed to ship. I went for a routine doctor’s appointment with plans to hop on a call with my shipping department and logistics manager immediately after my 38 week appointment. We had planned to go over all the details, finalize the logistics, etc. Instead, I had the call while being induced and then, while in labor. It was…interesting. Not sure if this is an accomplishment or just a really funny story, but I like to share it. Thankfully, I have an amazing team that got the order out without any issues and three years later, we still have a great relationship with the retailer!
Who is your Wonder Woman?
My mom. She raised me and my sister on her own and did an incredible job. I wasn’t an easy kid to parent but somehow she put up with me and never gave up. I honestly don’t know how she did it.
What is your super power?
My super power is laser focus and efficiency. Aside from being distracted by social media, I’m pretty good at prioritizing and knowing what’s urgent & important. There’s a lot of minutia in this business so learning how to put on blinders and really focus has been something I’ve really tried to improve upon over the last 5 years.
What is your arch nemesis?
Social media is my nemesis. I love it – it’s a great way to connect with our customers, share cool things about our company, network with other entrepreneurs and establish brand identity. But it’s also a huge distraction in my day. A quick post about a new product turns into…oooohhhh…. look at that recipe, and ooooh… what’s this article about a pregnant celebrity…. and ooohhhh…a sale at Target? It takes major super powers to shut it down. I need a 12-step program for my IG addiction for sure.
.What is in your Wonder Woman power pack?
I never leave home without my cell phone, sunglasses (I would wear sunglasses 24-365 if it I could do so without looking crazy), baby wipes (I use them to clean pretty much everything), little mini hair clips – I always have about 20 of them in my car cup holder because…well…this girl’s got curls, and they need to be tamed. I usually never leave home without my kids. Only because child abandonment is frowned upon.
Who is your Sidekick/Partner in Crime?
Rather than a sidekick, I like to think I have a whole team of super heroes who work with me and fill in for the super powers I lack. My graphic designer is incredibly talented and smart. I don’t know what I would do without her and her creativity super power. My husband is also a part of the Sticky Bellies team. He brings a great dose of “reality” to my overly creative brain and helps keep me focused. My team also includes our super sales reps, my accountant with number-crunching super-powers like no other, and of course our customers who are the reason we even exist.
What would you consider your theme song?
Forgot about Dre. I have a hidden love for gangsta rap. I guess it’s public knowledge now.
How do you protect (and give back to) your community?
I believe we can all make an impact through authentic acts of kindness and just caring for each other. I’m a big believer in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and really try to live by the habit, “Seek first to understand and then be understood.” You have to get to know someone’s story. Find a way to make them feel special and important. Show empathy. While I do make donations to charities I believe in, I believe small acts by many people can make a much greater difference.
To thank Carly for her time we will make a donation to Sarah’s Smiles who’s mission is to make happy memories for all children who are struggling with cancer by providing a variety of resources to entertain, comfort, and educate.
We’re VERY excited that Sticky Bellies is celebrating their 5th birthday this month! Please help us celebrate them with our 5 years of favorites giveaway to win one of five bundles of Sticky Bellies products! CLICK HERE TO ENTER TO WIN.