Kari Pesch is founder and CEO of Better Smile Toothbrush Company, a children’s toothbrush subscription service located in Houston, TX. Not native to Texas, Kari grew up in Wisconsin and graduated of the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Communications. After college, she started working at a Fortune 500 integrated communications company managing multi-million dollar accounts.
Today, Kari is a working mom to four children (6, 4, 2 and 7 months). In an effort to declutter, she found 17 children’s toothbrushes around her home and begged for a more organized process. The idea to imprint the season and year on the toothbrush was born. Kari founded Better Smile Toothbrush Company which sends toothbrushes every quarter with the season and year. Her hope is that the service will help other busy parents streamline the daily tool used for their children.
Where did the idea for Better Smile Toothbrush Company come from?
I started noticing I was finding my kids toothbrushes EVERYWHERE – multiple in their bathrooms, the playroom, the car, the garage. The problem was every time I found a toothbrush; I had no idea how long we’d had it and how long my child had used it – weeks, months, years? What if the toothbrush could have the date on it so I would remember, I thought to myself. The idea behind Better Smile Toothbrush Company, which launched last month, was to streamline the toothbrushes so parents wouldn’t need to think about them. As new toothbrushes come in every 3 months, the old ones go out, not allowing the brushes to pile up month after month.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up at 5:00am every morning, even on the weekends. The first thing I do is make coffee. While the coffee is brewing, I write down 5 things I’m thankful for, I write down 5 things or people I’m praying for, and I read 5 Bible verses. After that, I write down 10 dreams I’m working on as if they’ve already happened. The next hour I spent making my four children’s lunches, making them breakfast, getting myself dressed and getting my children dressed. I take my children to school and daycare then return home to work. I set my timer for 50 minutes and work HARD. Then I take a 10 minute break. I do that until about 4:00pm when I pick up my children from school. The next few hours are focused on dinner, baths and bedtime routines. At about 8:30pm, I set a timer for 15 minutes and try to clean as much as I can during that time. I then make a cup of chamomile tea and open a book I’m reading until I fall asleep. I try not to look at my phone or e-mails before going to bed.
How do you bring ideas to life?
First, I look at what’s out there. What exists today? What DOESN’T exist today. How could I do it differently? How could my point of view benefit others? I try to put myself in other people’s shoes and see things from their perspective.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Healthy food. What we consume in our bodies has a HUGE impact on productivity. For example, I found myself eating a lot of sugar in the morning. At about 3:00pm, I would crash and reach for another cup of coffee. Since cutting out sugar and replacing with protein, my body can handle the full day without reaching for that afternoon cup of coffee.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Getting up an hour or two before my children wake up has been huge. I get a head start on my day. My most productive work is done in the morning when my ideas are fresh and I have a full tank.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Ditch the alcohol. I spent so much time at bars and clubs, wasting money I didn’t have, and focusing on the wrong things. I would spend the next days hungover in bed, sleeping all day and binge watching TV because I had a headache. That time could’ve been used so much more productively.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
When I tell people I’m a working mom of four children 6 and under, they call me crazy to start a business. “When do you have time,” they ask. The truth is, time is a gift. We can spend our time on all sorts of things. I choose to spend mine building a business.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Listen to podcasts. Podcasts are a free tool. I listen to a lot of business and entrepreneur podcasts for how-to advice and inspiration. Instead of listening to music in the car while dropping off the kids, I listen to podcasts to be informed of what’s working for other businesses. I also get inspired by other entrepreneur stories.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Find people like you. Most of my friends were either stay-at-home moms, in the healthcare field or in Corporate America. I had to find friends that understood the challenges of raising a family while starting a business. Before I did this, I often felt alone and misunderstood.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I tried to expand too soon. I wanted to start out with children’s AND adult lines, but marketing both at the same time didn’t make sense for the brand. Unfortunately for me, I bought inventory for both children’s and adults. Since my product has the date on it, the adult line was wasted. My inventory management is much more streamlined and I’m paying much more attention to my costs.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Here’s some ideas I would love to bring to fruition but don’t have the time:
– A nail service that comes to people’s homes
– A tankini line with cute prints (not grandma-looking prints)
– A sugar free margarita mix
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Product photography is so important. You can have the coolest looking product, but without a beautiful, curated photo, it will not come to life.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Hootsuite has been a blessing. I’m able to manage my social media in a more productive way by batching them up to 30 days in advance. That way, I don’t need to quickly post something at a certain time. It also helps me organize my feeds better to remind me of the content I’ve already posted.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Both Rachel Hollis books, “Girl, Wash Your Face” and “Girl, Stop Apologizing.”
What is your favorite quote?
“It’s not that the business doesn’t work, it’s that the entrepreneur quits.”
- Time is a gift, you can be extra productive by scheduling your time well
- Don’t try expanding too soon, start and get really good at one thing
- Invest in product photography, you won’t be sorry!
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.