Pebbles Weitekamp – Owner of Little Teether

Start what again? Nothing. Everything, good or bad, has led me to where I am today.

Pebbles (yes, that is her real name) Weitekamp is the founder and owner of Little Teether, a company focused on designing safe teething necklaces for babies that are also stylish for moms. Mrs. Weitekamp is a fan of Disney, and was married in Disneyland in 2010.

Her desire to design much of her own wedding pieces led to her passion for fashion. When many of the items wanted for her wedding were not readily available she began designing them herself. Her success in designing for her wedding led to her selling handmade jewelry pieces on Etsy. This scaled to the launch of her own company, Little Teether.

Where did the idea for Little Teether come from?

As soon as I became a mom, I realized my Tiffany & Co necklace wasn’t going to hold up to yanking, tugging, and chewing. After my silver necklace was broken off, I realized I had to create a stylish necklace that was safe for baby to tug on, chew on, and play with. From there I created our silicone, BPA-free, safe and stylish silicone teething and nursing jewelry.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

No two days are ever the same. I try to wake up about 2 hours before my kids do (5:30 am) so I can get in some emails, inventory check, and print shipping labels. Then the morning hustle begins and I have to get the kiddos dressed, fed, the oldest off to school and the youngest is on my hip until nap time and I try to do all my one-handed tasks. I try to get phone calls to retailers and meetings in while baby is napping to keep interruptions at a minimum (I call this the “nap time hustle”).
After school I’m back with two crazy kids under four and trying to keep my head on straight while running a business from home. My days get more productive after bedtime and I’m hard at work from about 7pm-1am. Being a mompreneur is NOT easy, but I work for myself (the toughest boss around) and I get to raise my babies, so I am so grateful and lucky!

How do you bring ideas to life?

I start old school with a pencil and paper. I draw out all my necklaces first. Then I take my sample bead shapes and mold them to create a sample. Then I go through the Pantone color chart to select the perfect shade of color and after many samples, changes and testing, a product is born and sent to production.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I’m obsessed with the #momlife trend which I’m seeing as graphic tees, coffee everything and brands built around being moms.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’m obsessive. I can’t leave an email unanswered, I can’t leave a tab open on my computer that isn’t addressed, I just have to tie all loose ends before I eat lunch, go to bed, etc!

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

Working at a call center was the worst job for me. I was tied to my phone, and I literally counted minutes before I could take my next break. I would dwell over every shift, every hour, every minute of that job. I definitely learned at this job that I wanted to work for myself and run my own business.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Start what again? Nothing. Everything, good or bad, has led me to where I am today.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Follow up. Follow up with everyone, every interaction. I send thank you notes. I email to check in. I call if I haven’t heard back in a while. I make sure that I have the last contact with everyone.
I don’t want anyone to feel like they purchased from me and never heard from us like we don’t care. I want my wholesalers to feel like I remember them and want to know how their businesses are going. I want my other small business companions to know I’m thinking about them and seeing what I can do to help. Its so important, it doesn’t cost anything, and it makes a huge impact and sets you apart just by keeping in touch and being personable with all your interactions.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Being different. Setting myself apart from the rest. Yes, there are other teething jewelry companies, but I like to think ours is the best. I make sure ours have a different look, a better look. I also don’t dwell on other brands. I don’t stare at my competition and see what they are doing, you can’t do that. You have to focus on you, your business, and the road ahead.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Jumping all in is a failure of mine. I’ve gotten overly excited about a product, invested all my time and money and then it flop. For now, I’m going back to growing small, celebrating small successes and remembering that I will not be a millionaire overnight (unless I win the lottery).

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Virtual Assistants! There is such a need for quality virtual assistants and in business groups I’m in. When you find a good one you try to hoard them but everyone wants to steal them.
Businesses like mine require social media management, blog management, emails, customer service, etc. I’m not the only one. There are many VA resources out there, but the pricing or process seems complicated. A simplified, transparent VA company would do well.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Dinner with my family! We went out to eat, to a real restaurant and we talked, ate at the same time, and spent quality time together. It’s sort of rare when you have a mom that runs two businesses, a dad who works 6 long days a week, and two very young kids. It was so nice to just get out of the house all together and enjoy a meal, and to not have to clean up afterward was a total bonus.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I’m in love with Shopify for my website building. It is dummy proof and even when I think I broke something, they are available 24/7 for chat support and always fix my issues! I also really like Periscope. I don’t share on that yet, but I follow a lot of business women I look up to and they post a ton of really great tips and videos that help me.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I wish I was a reader. I buy a ton of business books with intentions of reading, but I just don’t make the time to do it. I do listen to podcasts and read blogs for now.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

I suggest joining business based groups on Facebook. They are seriously my lifeline. I’m also obsessed with Bethenny Frankel. I love her outspoken personality, serious drive, and the brand she has built. I have followed her (through TV eyes) from baking cookies in her tiny apartment to this mega brand she has become and it is truly inspiring