What’s next for Cotton Babies.

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I got very quiet on the blog almost a year ago after we found out we were expecting our fourth child. Pregnancy and me aren’t close friends, for good reasons. I get grumpy – to the point where my Facebook posts go viral because people think my lovely perspective on life is entertaining (see image on the right for an example).  As the pregnancy progresses, more filters come off and I tend to get very straightforward about what I *really* think. By the end, I am barely able to walk, certain organs stop working right, and I am sporting a lovely set of four wheels to get around when we’re out.

In spite of all the adventure of getting a baby here, we still managed to fill the last month before Louis was born with a great deal of change for Cotton Babies.  I thought I’d recap some of what’s going on for my friends here who have waited so patiently for me to come back to the blog.

bumGenius Elemental Launch
The week before Louis was born, we launched the new bumGenius Elemental design to the world as I was in the doctor’s office hooked up to monitors checking to be sure that my baby was doing ok.  At 36, apparently I’m an “aging” mom and at risk for all manner of nightmarish things.  That day, I had to close my eyes, put my phone down, and force myself not to watch.  That day (and everyday), my baby was more important than anything else.

Warehouse and Office Move
That same week, we started finalizing negotiations to move Cotton Babies operations into a new, much larger warehouse and office space. Jimmy was pushing me around in a wheelchair as we looked at this gigantic, concrete, cavernous space while discussing whether or not the baby would arrive in the next day or two… and if we could get a lease signed before then. After what feels like years of waiting for our current lease to end, we’re finally going to be in space this summer that allows us to spread our wings.  I have had product ready to go, production planned, but no room in the warehouse to accommodate operational changes that have to happen when you begin to enter new markets.  That’s changing.  Soon.

erwinmaathai

As usual, post-partum isn’t much easier for me than being pregnant.  When Louis was two days old, I started experiencing severe back pain just before we were going home from the hospital.  Rather than go home, I had an emergency MRI of my back with dye contrast the day before my milk came in.  We left with no explanation for the pain.  Then, at four days postpartum, I developed double mastitis.  At six days postpartum, I started running a fever again.  Four days later, I finally called my doctor and ended up back in the hospital on IV antibiotics.

New Prints (Irwin / Maathai)
By the time Louis was two weeks old, I was walking better again, the fever was gone, and I needed out of the house, so, like all good business owners, I went back to work –  just in time to shoot some photos of Louis and his friend Norah in new prints so we could launch the next two limited editions of our Genius Series. Irwin and Maathai debuted to pleasant applause on both sides of the globe a few days later.  As expected, rest was essential after a few days up and around.  And I did rest.  Mostly. When there are big chess pieces moving, there are things that only I can do… and, any way you look at it, a three month maternity leave is a pipe dream when your job title is CEO.

Refocusing on Special Projects
We spent spring break holed up in a cabin.  I sat on the couch in front of a fire nursing a baby and working on getting special projects pushed forward while Jimmy played at the pool with the bigger kids.  I’m back now, rested and ready to hit the ground running.  The warehouse is moving.  Our business is growing. Once again, there is plenty moving and shaking in the Cotton Babies world. We have our eyes set on some new markets, new concepts, and new products.  I can’t go into details, but can promise that you’ll hear more from me along those lines soon.

In the meantime, here’s my view of someone special. Thankfully, Jimmy and I are pretty good at making cute babies.

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Jenn is the Founder and CEO of Cotton Babies. She holds an Executive MBA from Washington University. She was awarded Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Emerging Category for the Central Midwest Region in 2011. Among many other awards, she recently received a 2017 YWCA Leader of Distinction Award for Entrepreneurship. Jenn holds many patents on various inventions in a number of different countries and is listed as one of 50 Missourians You Should Know. She is particularly fascinated by languages, chickens, and children (she has four) when she’s not reading economics journals.

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5 thoughts on “What’s next for Cotton Babies.

  1. Jenn, you are amazing. I’m halfway through pregnancy #5. I too have pregnancies and postpartum periods similar to what you described-with #4 mastitis became an abscess with 3 day hospital stay-and I cannot imagine doing all that you do. You are such an inspiration to moms everywhere. I was especially impressed when an employee at West Co shared that moms can bring babies to work the first year. So, so, awesome! I can’t wait to see what new and awesome things you and your team do next!

  2. I, too, appreciate your candor. Pregnancy is definitely hard and I, too, struggled with postpartum issues that had me in and out of the hospital after my son was born. And my poor husband was running our business with all of this happening too. It is hard but we are blessed people. I hope to have a smoother transition home with this baby. Congrats on sweet little Louis, he is worth it and I know my little one will be too 🙂