[quote style=”boxed”]Invest in yourself. You have to keep your energy high, ideas flowing and optimism thriving.[/quote]
Vivienne Van Eijkelenborg is the owner of the Difrax baby product company that offers fashionable and ingenious pacifiers, bottles, baby care products, and cuddly toys. Ever since Vivienne took over the company from her parents in January of 1999, Difrax has become a leading player in the European baby products market. Vivienne introduces pioneering innovations year after year, and the products have become more distinctive than ever. Difrax moved away from the old fashioned light blue for boys and pink for girls and designs products in trendy patterns and colors that are sure to evoke happiness in little tots! All of the products are being sold at major retailers internationally.
Difrax and Vivienne recently launched a unique 3-stage pacifier system in the USA. Difrax’s revolutionary 3-Stage Pacifiers set themselves above all other pacifiers on the market, because they are designed to grow with baby. With sizes ranging from preemie t o 18 months, the Difrax 3-stage pacifier system is ideal for each stage of baby’s development. Also, unlike the other “blah” and boring pacifiers on the market, Difrax 3-Stage Pacifiers were created with the Netherlands’ high sense of design style and come in a wide array of fashionable and colorful patterns that will help baby make a stylish and trendy fashion statement! Difrax baby products are now sold in Babies R Us stores nationwide.
Where did the idea for Difrax baby products company come from?
My parents started the company in 1967. They found cotton buds from Japan and started to sell them in the Netherlands as a product for cleaning babies’ ears.
What does your typical day look like?
My typical day is very busy. I have meetings with the product design team to see how we can make our new ideas become reality. We prepare presentations for entrepreneurs, talk to the bank to finance all of our dreams, and we’re always thinking about how we can get more attention on our beautiful products!
How do you bring ideas to life?
It all starts with a brainstorm. We think about a situation, and wonder, ‘What kind of products do parents use in that situation and how can we improve them?’ The team will then work out three concepts. We look over the concepts with a lot of people and try to improve them, collaborate, and get the project started. After that, it flows from a design on paper, to 3D designs on the computer, to prototypes, and finally to samples!
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I don’t understand why a good product cannot be nicely designed and colored. In the baby world, a lot of products have a ‘’medical’ feel. We take our responsible, well-thought-out product and make it fashionable, modern-looking, and well-designed. Our Difrax pacifiers and award-winning hands-free BtoB breast pump are good examples of this.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Don’t take yourself that seriously! I had a lot of fun being the fairy for the free to download books. It was great being able to give advice on stopping the use of your pacifier, learning to taste food, potty training, etc. for children ages three to four years old.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I worked in a management-training program that was not a serious program. I learned that I never want to work in a job that I don’t like. It cost so much energy and I ended up quitting.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t do anything differently because I needed to take every step I have taken to be were I am today.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Invest in yourself. You have to keep your energy high, ideas flowing and optimism thriving. Meet other entrepreneurs, train yourself in leadership and self-development, and attend seminars.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Focus and have fun! We focused on making a difference with the product that we make. It is a huge investment in time and money, but we knew that with the right product, the market-shares would follow.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The most common mistake is allowing people to stay in the company too long who were not preforming well. It is a big lesson to learn. Trust your intuition and act quicker.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Think about things that will make your life easier. Brainstorm about where you can take that idea and go from there.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I have a lot of clothing.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I use Google, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Docs, Skype, FaceTime, Prezi, etc. They make me feel more connected to friends and relations, as well as make my life easier!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, by Liz Wiseman. You can only make your company thrive if you improve yourself and make other people smarter!
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
“Jim Collins’ Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t discusses how to think big! Verne Harnish’s blog at is also helpful for finding information about bringing rhythm to your company. Another good book is Geoff Smart’s and Randy Street’s Who, which gives advice on how to hire people.”
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Difrax on Twitter: @Difrax_US
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.