Mom Invents Handsocks Mittens to Help Babies and Launches Successful Kickstarter

Written by SocialMedia22 Published in

Casey Bunn is a mom from Richmond, Virginia who came up with the idea to create baby mittens that won't fall off. She soon found that many parents were using her Handsocks mittens for other things such as preventing face scratching and irritating eczema. Wanting to expand her line of mittens, Casey recently launched her very first Kickstarter project and nearly met her goal in less than a week! 

Read on for my interview with Casey Bunn to see how this supermom does it all!

Q: What are Handsocks?

A: Arm length protective comfy mittens, which can even be worn over coat sleeves, with easy flip open super soft minky hand mitts that give access to fingers without removing the whole mitten!

Q: What inspired you to invent Handsocks?

A: I was on a ski trip; I forgot mittens for my baby and improvised with my ski socks. At the end of the day, she was still warm and the "mittens" stayed on all day! I thought... "THIS!!! I want this for my baby!!"

Q: What different uses have parents found for Handsocks?

A: Parents are using them for newborn scratching mainly but also have reached out about eczema, Ip36 deletion syndrome, Chicken pox; mosquito bites, feeding tubes; IV lines, thumb sucking, cradle cap, cardiac babies with cold extremities, hearing aide training and an often fatal illness called EB: Epidermolysis Bullosa.

Q: What is your mission/goal for launching your Kickstarter campaign?  

A: Ultimately to start a trickle effect to reach a million children who need Handsocks worldwide.

Q: Why do you think your Kickstarter campaign will be successful, considering the overall success rate is about 40%?   

A: We funded 64%, almost 8k in the first three days, yay! Handsocks are awesome for the average infant, but so NEEDED by many parents who have tried everything to protect their children from tugging, pulling and scratching where they should not. I believe God has a plan for these mittens to have international impact. Kickstarter is literally just the tip of the iceberg! Few people know yet what Handsocks are, but people who have found us (especially those who need us) are so excited they buy multiple pairs.  I've had parents buy 7-8 pairs of these things. 

Q: How do you plan to give back with Handsocks?  

A: We partnered with Orphans Promise at the get-go as our "not-for-profit" give to for each sale. I didn't do one for one with Handsocks because I felt like our money was better spent for medical care, shelter, food and education for these children.  My grandmother fostered over 100 children, and I sat on the Board for CASA for 5 years. I wanted to make sure we had a chance to give directly back to these babies who will be our future. 

Also, starting with the Handsocks Kickstarter campaign and going forward, we are going to offer an option to buy and donate a pair to give to Gracie's Gowns. Their owner, Jessica Lynne, reached out to us just in Jan 2017, asking if she could buy Handsocks wholesale to include with her free personalized sleeveless hospital gowns for seriously ill children. We decided to go one better and make donations to Gracie's Gowns an optional reward in our campaign. There has been quite a bit of success there and we hope to see it grow. Check out the Gracie's Gowns website and it will motivate you. What they do is awesome!

Q: What do you do when you’re not working on this business venture?

A: My daughter Jillian is 4 and my son Charlie is 2! I work full time as well and my husband is a firefighter who works 24 hour shifts, so it often seems I'm a single parent, with a full time job and 2 babies running a full time growing start-up business! Anyone who has done it actually knows... there is rarely a time when you are "not doing this!" Somebody somewhere always needs something! Mamapreneur... that's Me!!!

Q: What was it like to start a new business? Where did you start first?  (Design, prototype, etc.?) 

A: This is actually my second start-up! My first one, RSVPHERE.com, made me learn so many things the hard way that I wrote an ebook about my advice! "Oh Crap! I Need an App!"  

For Handsocks I called my grandma, and a neighbor's grandma, and started sewing from scratch. We were taking kids' leggings and clothing apart and seeing what would work, designing prototypes right in the living room. Then the factory search! Talk about a fish out of water! I saw a lady on "The Today Show", JoAnn Brewer, who had started a successful business; so, I called her! She was very gracious and helped lead me in the right direction! I also reached out to the local university business depts. who had their students use both of my companies for "real life" experience in setting companies.

Even though I've done this before, I was learning all new things because this is a product designed from scratch. The design, the audience, the distribution, the marketing, the legal, and the growth plan were so much to consider. Plus, the way people buy is changing so rapidly right now.  Trying to think ahead of that curve and box out old ways of selling takes a lot of effort and question asking.  I've worked really hard on ideas to take care of our Handsocks community and prepare a line of products they would be excited about. We have limited prints so new things will always be coming out for them, and we offer custom logos for corporate to gift to clients and employees.

Q: As a Chic CEO, what is your favorite quote or words to live by?

A:  "If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less than excellent work" -Thomas Watson, Founder of IBM

Thomas is right on point. I just love the idea that nothing depends on your mistakes or lack of effort in the past. Right now you can choose to be the best you can be, and if you are always focused on that then you get to the end of the race and can say there's nothing more you could have done.  I think we're all called to excellence and have so much to give in our own special ways.  We just need the desire and motivation to have focus so we can live our very best lives.

Q: What motivates you to succeed?

A:  Initially my children, but with all the stories people have shared, that motivation has blossomed to all children❤

Check out my most recent interview on that here.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for other women entrepreneurs trying to launch a new product?

A:  Don't do it alone. Mercy. Do not try to wing it. Though books and online forums are helpful, you need to reach out to real people. Talk to as many people as you possibly can and do a lot of nice things to share and help others out so you can build rapport while you are learning. The upfront time investment is intense. You have to sketch out what you know and what you don't know and find people quickly to advise you. Delegate. Don't do everything by yourself. Go to Upwork.com and find helpers. I found my very favorite developer, marketing person, and data aggregator there. If you hire someone, ask for a weekly agenda that you can track for accountability so you can keep your sanity.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge to date and how did you overcome it? 

A: Others not doing what they said they would do and my reaction to those disappointments. It happens no matter what you are doing. I had an Amazon consultant tell me we were new best friends and going to sell through 12,000 pairs in 12 weeks and then he had a family member pass away and he dropped off the planet. (??)  

Each crazy challenge seems like the biggest until you get to the next one. Finding the first factory was hard.  I didn't have a "tech pack". I didn't even know what that was when I was trying to source on Alibaba. Thank goodness for finding JoAnn and her middleman in Dallas, but even then factories don't want to deal with people making 4000 of something. They want you to make 100,000 widgets. If you aren't, you need a really good advocate making sure your project gets the quality and attention it deserves. That can be a middle man who has great relationships with factories. I've had sales reps that didn't deliver, damaged goods come in in the thousands, awful legal advice and have overpaid for work WAY too many times.  

Personally I do believe God won't give you more than you can handle and has this miraculous plan coming together in a way you could never orchestrate.  I take all this as a learning experience that is going to help me be better at the next thing I have to tackle.  I'm going to be smarter and quicker to make a good decision.

Q: Is there any piece of business advice you would tell your past self that you are aware of now?

A: Every contract needs to be reviewed by an attorney, it's worth the money no matter how short the contract.

Q: Do you think it’s possible to start a successful business without help and support from family and friends? 

A: No! At least not in my experience! So many friends and family have gone way above and beyond the call of duty from QA of product, traveling to Vegas to the ABC Baby show, missing a week of their work and listening! And really, it will be the help of strangers that have the most impact. Other people like you working hard to make something happen will have advice and contacts for you that your family and friends will not. It's just how it ends up working out, so don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help from a complete stranger. We've all done it.

Q: On a more personal note, what does your family do for fun?  

A:  We run, work out, play at the park, go to church and love to go to Nags Head, NC! Outer Banks is our happy place. We visit the aquarium, run on the dunes and eat Duck Donuts. I'm pretty artsy and enjoy those things as stress relievers. I like reading.  "The One Thing" by Gary Keller and "The Greatest Salesman in the World" by Og Mandino are my favorites, but "How to Win Without Intimidation" by Bob Burg is up there too. My mom, dad and brother live near by, all within an hour.  I love to see family.

Q: What can you attribute your success to as a Chic CEO?  

A: Grit. Gusto. Love. Belief.

Q: What is the best part about being a mom inventor? 

A: Knowing that my product is making a difference and that Jilly and Charlie will have a legacy.

Q: What are the top three most important qualities that women CEOs must have in order to succeed?  

A: 1) Faith: in your product, in your world, in your purpose. 2) Hope: with every setback, being able to focus forward, fail forward and know that tomorrow is another day. 3) Love. You have to be PASSIONATE about what you're doing and why you're doing it! When you love the product, the adventure and your family whom you're ultimately striving to provide for, it doesn't feel so much like the giant amount of work that IT IS! Or at least the work feels WORTH IT!❤

Q: What is your best piece of advice to others who have an idea for a new product, want to start a business or currently are launching their own business?   

A: Start by finding three other non competing products and contact their owners.  Ask them if they would be willing to spend an hour telling you what they did, what they would do the same and what they would do differently.

Q: Where can we learn more about Handsocks and the Kickstarter campaign 

A: 

Handsocks.com

Kickstarter.com @ our Handsocks Campaign

Q: Can you tell our readers why they should back the Handsocks Kickstarter?

A: #1 They are amazing if you need a great gift, are expecting a baby or have little kids. You can't imagine how much you use them. Worth every penny and the best prices ever on Kickstarter. Stock up.

#2  If you don't have or know small children, this is a chance for you to help give back through Gracie's Gowns. These children could really use Handsocks when they are going in for all kinds of surgery for cancer, heart repair, cleft palate etc.  These are serious times where our sweet pair of mittens will provide comfort and protect. You can be a part of that.  Parents might not even know yet that these are an option. You will be part of the light we shine.

Q: What are your social media links?

A: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/handsocks4kids/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/handsocks

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/handsocks4kids/

Written by Tasha Mayberry, President of Social Media 22

Tasha Mayberry is the Co-Founder and President of Social Media 22, a boutique PR and marketing firm that has worked with over 100 brands – the majority being women-owned businesses. She has helped companies grow from a ship-out-of-the-garage-type company to having its own warehouse and being sold in 4000 stores world-wide; win product awards, gain thousands of Facebook fans, continuously get mentioned on TV, in magazines and more. Tasha is also the Editor-in-Chief of Best in Baby Biz & Kids (BIBB) Magazine - a new digital platform that curates the most creative and innovative products in the baby and kids industry and featuring editorials on how these businesses were created (many stories from mom business owners).  Visit www.socialmedia22.com and www.bestinbabybiz.com for more.

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