From Near-Bankruptcy to Financial Stability and Building a Multi-Million Dollar Business.
Welcome to the Holistic Wealth podcast. I’m your host Keisha Blair, wife, mother of three, author of holistic wealth, and Founder of the Institute on Holistic Wealth. The show will showcase various experts in the key pillars of holistic wealth. Each week, we deliver the best information on how to become holistically wealthy and live your best life.
KEISHA BLAIR: Today we have a very special guest with us we have Tara Williams and she’s the Founder of her company Dreamland baby and the founding story can be described as a tragedy to triumph story. Tara is a full-time mom of four kids and she was able to bring her family from the brink of bankruptcy to financial stability while helping 50 000 plus families get her a better night’s sleep in 2020 and seeing 3 million dollars in sales with dreamland’s flagship weighted sleep sack product and Tara has lofty goals of tripling that number to $10 million in 2021, which is amazing.
KEISHA BLAIR: Tara, welcome to the show!
TARA WILLIAMS: Thanks for having me.
KEISHA BLAIR: So Tara can you tell us the story of how you know you started? It must have been hard juggling four kids during a pandemic while your company took off. So can you tell us how it took off and I know you were on ABC’s Shark Tank so can you tell us the story of how your company started?
TARA WILLIAMS: Yes absolutely. I have four kids like you mentioned and my baby was not sleeping. He was six months old and still waking up every hour and a half. We had bought everything. We had tried everything and just nothing was helping him sleep through the night. I placed a heavy throw blanket on him and saw that he immediately calmed down and a light bulb went off in my head that he needed a weighted blanket. I got online to look for one and found that there was nothing in a wearable fashion but in the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend loose blankets in the crib for kids under two. So I wanted something he could wear like a sleep sack or a sleeping bag and my mother-in-law sewed my first version because I couldn’t find it online and she sews pretty well.
The first night wearing it, he slept for 12 hours so it was an absolute sleep transformation for our family and so much so that we even thought okay this must have been a fluke because he’s never slept like this. The next night he slept the same way, he started taking longer naps during the day and two and a half years later we have a company and he’s still sleeping with a bigger version of our dreamland baby.
KEISHA BLAIR: That’s amazing. I remember those sleepless nights. I remember swaddling our firstborn so tightly with blankets so that he would sleep and it would always help but of course it always got unravelled during the night you’d have to get up rewrap and that was back in the day that was like what 15 years ago because my eldest is now 15 so I know this must be a tremendous gift to a lot of parents out there who are sleep deprived. So, Tara, I suspect you started by bootstrapping the business?
TARA WILLIAMS: Absolutely it was really tough. We were in a precarious financial situation at the time. My husband had been laid off from his job of 15 years the day before my son was born and while I was on maternity leave. I was at the Startup and they actually shut their doors. We didn’t get our second round of funding so all of a sudden we had gone from two strong incomes to both being unemployed with four kids five and under, and this baby who’s just relentlessly crying all through the night. So we were unfortunately not in a position where we could put money toward the business. At the time my husband was really urging me just to take any job so we could even have health insurance, but I felt so convicted that this product would help other families and in the long term.
It would help our family financially and it was really the right moment in time to seize the opportunity. So there was definitely some contention starting but my parents gave me $50, 000 to start the business in exchange for a piece of equity in the company and that really helped us get off the ground. It sounds like a lot of money but it was gone in the blink of an eye.
KEISHA BLAIR: Yes, I can imagine and you know as I mentioned in the introduction, so you were on the brink of bankruptcy and so I’m wondering how that played out when you got that injection of funding of 50k? How did you structure that? How did you think about moving forward being on the brink of financial collapse so then getting $50 000 which was a lifeline and how did you structure it or think about how you would allocate that fund so that you could of course take care of your own personal financial needs for the family and then launch that business?
TARA WILLIAMS: Well it was an interesting time. We had said okay we can buy gas and groceries and but I mean we did have things like our kids were in sports before and we had gone on family vacations or we had gone out to eat and my husband and I made the decision that we would forego that because most of those extra things in life were coming from my salary and so if I wasn’t making money or generating a profit from the business, then those things we just truly couldn’t afford to do. So we definitely made internal sacrifices and I did not pay myself for two years. I think a lot of people look at the business and say oh you know you’re an overnight success, but what they don’t know is I was watching four kids right so that is a job. I was a full-time mom managing the four kids and trying to do the business both at the same time, so a lot of I would never have quit my job.
I just didn’t feel morally or ethically right to start a new job knowing that it really would have just been for the paycheck. So it was hard but yes getting the money from my parents you know it all went into the business really just to begin I think there’s so many starting things that we don’t think about our you know patent for the product was our provisional patent I think was about 2500 my first you know round of samples were a hundred dollars each or a hundred and fifty dollars each and I ordered ten of them so it was fifteen hundred dollars right for that um and getting all the business licenses setting up a website I mean the money it just went so fast it and I kept thinking, oh this is gonna sustain us for months and months and months but it didn’t because we had to buy different things and get things set up. None of it went to paying myself. It was all just to get the business moving, but yes all those initial start-up costs that’s what it went towards.
KEISHA BLAIR: Yeah, for sure and so in terms of the product innovation and how that played out, can you tell us a bit about the innovation behind the weighted sleep stack? and you mentioned the samples and so there’s the innovation and then getting the samples out. Can you tell us a bit about that?
TARA WILLIAMS: My mother-in-law had sewn the first one and it took her I want to say about 15 hours to sew even now that we mass-produce them, they’re made by hand and each of the pockets are individually sewn and their beads are individually placed. It’s important to do it this way so the weight is evenly distributed from the shoulder to toe. They are extremely labour-intensive, even today, so when I asked her if she would make some more so I could have some sampling, she said no way, and actually, really people were asking for more of them. So I asked if she could make one that they could buy. It had worked so well for us, right away friends and family started asking, can your mother-in-law make one for me? can she make one for my sister’s babies not sleeping? I have a friend I’d love to gift this to. So that was really my first signal that these were needed beyond just for my family but they’d help a lot of other families. I sought out to find a local manufacturer she was a seamstress who does pillowcases and curtains so she had just a local, I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s a factory, but an area where a lot of people are sewing, small factory I guess even finding that was so difficult.
I remember I was going to Joanne fabric and asking the people that worked there is there anyone who comes in and buys a lot of fabric that has a business? or it’s not an easy thing to find? I got a bunch of board at the back of Joanne fabric so I drove to all the ones that were probably within an hour of my house and I pulled down all the business cards and called all of them and nobody thought that they could do what I was asking. Then I met with several people and it’s just really hard to make so a lot of people didn’t know how to do it there but then I finally found the person who could make our first samples and they were not aesthetically good, but they had the concept there so I gave them out and nine out of ten of the people that we gave them to had an absolutely incredible sleep transformation like we did, from the first night up to you know that first week.
Either extending sleep windows or um getting their baby to fall asleep faster so I knew that it was definitely you know and I’m reiterating on this because I think that some people just think oh I have a great idea like I’m gonna go mass produce it but you really want to do like smaller batch testing even if the samples like I remember 150 at the time and I needed 10 because I was giving them out not just to those 10 people this was before covet so I would I took them back and I laundered them and then I give them to another 10 people and so I was doing these week-long, basically sleep tests with people, and people didn’t even want to give them back.
It was so funny and I was like no you don’t understand how much money these cost. I need that product it’s worth investing up front because what if I’d given them to 10 people, and it didn’t work for anybody, and it was just a fluke that it helped my son, so it gave it me the confidence to know now we can really take that next big swing of getting a full on factory and ordering like a true production run. Most of the factories require a minimum order quantity, for us it was a thousand units, so that again, we couldn’t afford it. That’s why we did the Kickstarter to raise those initial funds.
KEISHA BLAIR: Okay so I want to hear about that because that’s amazing! That’s a good pivot into the Kickstarter process and I guess after you had those prototypes and people came back and said yes you know they didn’t even want to give them back, I guess you’re thinking at that time was okay well how do we get the funds then to get this mass-marketed right? And then you ran the Kickstarter is that what happened?
TARA WILLIAMS: Yeah that’s pretty sequential. So all the while I was researching the medical side so that was happening behind the scenes. The first thing we did was file a patent just to make sure it was one of those products that everyone I showed were like how does this not already exist? This has to be on the market. There’s no way you were the first person that thought of this. Weighted blankets are so popular for adults children, even dogs, why wouldn’t they be for babies? That seems like the most obvious -babies like to be held, like they’re coming out of the womb, where there’s a gentle weight on them and just everyone that I talked to it seems so obvious and so we had the legal side and then we started the commercialization process and really refining the product design. I had met with Pulmonologists, NICU nurses, Certified sleep consultants, Pediatricians and we were really making sure the medical side that there was no you know any safety testing. We were doing all of that simultaneously so there were two channels that were going on but it did all lead to doing the Kickstarter.
I had launched it in May of 2019, and that ties in a little bit with Shark Tank because I refined it from an aesthetic standpoint. I connected with Shark Tank in May of 2019. I had just applied to be on the show and then they emailed me back and asked if I could get on a call. I was speaking with the Executive Producer and he just loved our story, and loved the product, and was like I don’t see these anywhere. I don’t know how but you’re the first person that’s got in and then he was like so what are your sales? and I said, Oh we’re pre-launched and that was when the conversation pretty much died and he said well you know we’re not really interested in pre-launch products so let me know like what the plan is to launch or you know he was done with the conversation and I said wait I’m thinking of doing a Kickstarter. Would sales from that be enough to interest the sharks in making a deal with us? The revenue from that? and he said oh yeah if you have something under your belt they just need terms of what people actually buy. If there’s a product that exists that’s being sold.
I was like okay yes, and he said so you know when are you gonna do it? And we weren’t really ready again from just the way it looked like I wanted to make it look nicer but I said oh we’re going to watch it next month or I think I said April so in two months. He said okay you know just keep in touch let me know and that was it. So I had I knew that they had filmed in June and September like they had followed the same schedule for a lot of years. I had actually a friend that was on it the previous season and she told me that and so she said you have to you have to do it before the June filming.
You’ve already basically missed that but if you don’t get assigned to somebody by June or July, you’ll miss the September filming too. Then you’d have to wait a whole another year and so I was like okay then I just need to get this Kickstarter up and see if we can get some sales from it. So, it really was twofold, it was seeing one, if everybody said they loved it they wanted it you know, but will they pay $79 for it, because those were the margins we needed because they’re made by hand and we’re doing such small batches to make it financially almost a break even at the time. So, we did the Kickstarter and then I didn’t have money to buy that first batch of production, and I felt like doing the Kickstarter would give us a kickstart because if I had just put up my website. We wouldn’t have all these people flooding to it.
It became an event and it was a way that I could get my personal network behind it and they could tag a friend on social media or tell a friend and it was like we’re here you know there’s this 30-day window where you can buy it really discounted and so that’s how it started with Kickstarter.
KEISHA BLAIR: So that’s amazing, and I looked at your Kickstarter page, and the product looked great on it. It looked so well done, it looked like you took like a year to even put that Kickstarter together because it had a lovely video, the photography, everything looks clean. It looked amazing. So, I’m just wondering how you were able to pull that off in such a short time to meet your goal and pull all of that together did you get help from like a marketing company or PR to do that? and achieve that funding goal? Because it was so rushed?
TARA WILLIAMS: I think from the time that I had that phone call until the time that we launched it, and went live, it was about eight weeks and it was just non-stop work in terms of getting the photography and the videography and the copy. I partnered with a marketing agency. They don’t really help all that much and they don’t actually help you until you’re live on the Kickstarter. So we didn’t go into it with an email list which would have been smart. We didn’t really have a social media presence at this time so we went in cold. When you see these Kickstarters that fund $500 000 the first day, they’ve spent a ton of money in advertising and marketing to build that email list and so we didn’t have any of that. So people I hadn’t talked to in 15 years from high school bought, work bought one, and referred a friend to buy one and you know had an extra for their daycare kind of thing and there were so many people in my network that I never would have thought would buy. If they didn’t buy it, they were sharing it, you know they didn’t have a baby or something, they were sharing it on their social media, like hey my friend is doing this, go check it out if you have a baby. It does help that they’re really discounted so I think they were about 40 percent off at the time, but Kickstarter is really not a good avenue for baby products and that’s particularly because my product is time bound. So in the Kickstarter, we had a zero to six month size, and a six to 12-month size, and so they had bought it in May but they wouldn’t get delivery until August.
With a lot of Kickstarters, you are signing up that this is a dream and a hope and it might not come to fruition. That is part of why at this crazy discount you are agreeing to this gamble that hey this product might not even ever come out. So if you bought something well, if it got pushed back from August until October, its not a big deal, but if you have a two-month-old and you buy the zero to six month and instead it doesn’t deliver in August it delivers in October, well now, your baby’s too big for the product. So there becomes a risk where if this doesn’t deliver on time which a lot of them don’t, it’s not going to work. So again, it’s just not a really a great place for baby products. People ask me you know if you were to do it over what would you have done different?
I’m like in my circumstance, in my moment in time, I would have done everything the same, but again it’s just it’s not some hit you know I had a friend who went on there and did about $200 000 in sales that went viral. Ours did not, so it really was people in my own network and then we had a little bit from the actual Kickstarter community that bought some. I got totally hosed because like we had international people buy, and because they’re weighted, I guess I just didn’t figure out how much they’d really cost to ship. So I think I had about $14 on there but they cost me about $40. So overall, it really was basically a break even but it did give me those funds in advance to be able to purchase that first round of inventory.
I guess I could have taken a loan or borrowed they money, but it just seemed like kind of a win-win to hit all my avenues of sales and get the product and then be able to show revenue for Shark Tank. So, it filled everything I needed at the time.
KEISHA BLAIR: So, in terms of fulfilling that Shark Tank sales goal from the Kickstarter, what were the sales figures then that you had to hit from that Kickstarter?
TARA WILLIAMS: Yeah, they didn’t really give me a sales figure. He asked me what my goal would be and I said twelve thousand five hundred. I wanted it to be a little higher than ten thousand but I also didn’t wanna not hit our goal if our goal was twelve thousand five hundred. We had only sold twelve thousand dollars worth. We would have just lost it. You have to achieve the goal or you don’t get anything. It’s an all or nothing. So, I wanted to make sure it was low enough but I wasn’t sure if that would be enough for them to say oh yeah this is great. It’s enough revenue, they were just wanting to see some sales even if it was five or ten thousand or twenty or thirty just something to show like this is a viable product that people will actually buy. So I don’t know that there was necessarily like a sales number.
KEISHA BLAIR: So after that Tara, the Kickstarter is good, it works out, what happened next on the journey? I know lots of folks before even the Kickstarter launches, they’ll set up a Shopify website so people can pre-order through there too. So is that what happened? Let’s say you had the website and then sales just started to continue to flow in, was that what happened?
TARA WILLIAMS: Yes and no. So we had a landing page and the landing page basically said you can check out our Kickstarter. After the Kickstarter ended, there was a button that you could press and it would say pre-order from our website. It was really a basically just a shell of the website but as you can imagine, building a website takes quite a bit of time, and consumer insight too to know what people even want to see on your website. So I didn’t have time to get the website up and running prior to the Kickstarter and then through the 30 days of the Kickstarter that was like a mass race every day to try to get PR to you reach out to anybody who was an influencer in any capacity and ask them hey will you share this? We’ll send you a product once it arrives. It’s not really the right avenue for babies so a lot of people that I reached out to were like oh we’re not really interested.
Most of the magazines or editorials that you would think would pick something up like this really had said hey let it like we’ll talk about it but after it funded, so let us know when it’s over. So I was just trying every day to get stuff set up and then still finalizing all my details with my factory and saying okay I think we’re gonna do this many and you know then I thought you know there’s always a chance it goes viral and you sell way more than you anticipated. So that didn’t seem like it was happening, but we were really pushing with the marketing agency to get some ads out and retargeting to people who had bought from previous baby campaigns in Kickstarter. It was a full-time job and again I was still watching my kids full-time. So I was being a mom too but that took up all my time and so then the Kickstarter ended and we had funded and it was really exciting.
I felt a little disappointed because I had hoped that it was going to go viral and we’re going to do $100 000 in revenue and we didn’t but it was enough. All the while I was actually sending these video clips to Shark Tank where I was speaking and giving like play-by-play updates, okay we’re on day one like it’s five o’clock I’ve already done this much in sales. I was sending them to that Executive Producer and he was like okay stop with the video clips, but after it was over I sent him the final and he was like yeah I think that’s good enough. Let’s get you matched up with an Associate Producer and so that was our next step.
Preparing for Shark Tank again was like a full-time job. I mean it was at least 20 hours a week of work and part of that was because we weren’t completely set up as a business. We still hadn’t actually sold or shipped a unit yet and going into Shark Tank it is like you’re going into a regular VC pitch. They want to know all the details on how much it costs to ship, and what you’re making it for and all of those things. Just getting everything together and even like things like finalizing our business license and setting up our tax systems. I mean there was so much we had to do, I didn’t even have a bank account in the business name before the Kickstarter. So, I was doing a lot of that and then simultaneously I was developing the website. We actually didn’t have the website live and up and running until the inventory was available and that was beginning of September. So that’s when we started, we turned it on the Shopify like you said and then we started directing traffic toward the Shopify website.
KEISHA BLAIR: And then you went on shark tank and got funded? And can you tell us just a bit about that experience with Lori Greiner stepping in to fund it? and what happened afterwards?
TARA WILLIAMS: It was really incredible! I went in and Lori is my dream Shark but I didn’t think she would invest in an early stage company. So I went in open to thinking okay maybe Mr. wonderful because I know he had invested in Donald and pop, which is a like a pacifier. Maybe Robert because he has kids so I went in speaking to each of the three of them but then right away I could tell Lori Greiner was really interested. So I started really directing the conversation to her. I think what is not seen or known is you see a 10-minute clip, but I was in the tank for an hour and a half. So it’s a really long conversation and you are on the spot and you’re answering questions from five people that are celebrities that you admire. I watched that show for 10 years. I am a Shark Tank super fan so it was this crazy out of body experience really. I felt I was standing there and like another version of me was like okay answer this way. So if I come off really calm cool and collected it is how I felt but you know it definitely was just like this is a crazy once in a lifetime moment.
You’re in a studio under all these lights and truly it’s like, “lights. camera action”, like a movie star. So it was a really fun experience and then when Lori Greiner offered me the deal of course I was ecstatic and it was just really exciting. What I did not anticipate was how long it would take for us to air. So we filmed in September of 2019, and the season started airing in January of 2020. So I would watch each week and they don’t tell you if you’re gonna be on or not until two weeks before you air. So I would watch every week and I’d be like okay maybe this is the week we’re gonna get the call. Then I remember there were some people that I had filmed with the same day I filmed that we had been you know you’re kind of on set all day so we were hanging out and chatting and a couple other founders and remember it was early March I saw them on there.
I just remember thinking we didn’t get chosen to be to go on TV because even if you film and you make a deal, they still don’t show all of the episodes so I remember I was so deflated and I emailed them and I said hey you know I saw like some other people that were on there the same day I was filming will you let us know if we’re not chosen? Every week I would you know race to the TV and see like am I going to be on in two weeks? because they give the heads up and they said to me something cryptic but it was long lines of like don’t give up the hope yet like we saved the best for last or something like that. I was like what does that mean and so my husband and I were joking well maybe you’re going to be on the season finale. I was like no way, the season finale, that would be such an honor, and it’s on a Friday night. That would just be such the perfect timing and it is what ended up happening. We were on the season finale. The very last episode and so it aired on May 15th, nine months after I had actually initially filmed.
I had applied in March of 2019 so it was over almost a year and a half from the first conversation until actually being on air. It was just such a long process and it was really exciting and fun but it was definitely a little bit just waiting and waiting and waiting and not knowing.
KEISHA BLAIR: So after Shark Tank in terms of business growth, I know you got into two of your favorite stores. I think Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom? So I just wanted to hear a bit about of the retail strategy and how that happened?
TARA WILLIAMS: Bloomingdale’s I believe reached out after they saw us on Shark Tank and so they had reached out to us and said you know we saw you online we think this product would do really well in stores for us and you know basically just we’d love to have you. I was like oh my gosh, I had emailed Nordstrom prior to being on the show and either they weren’t interested or they wanted to see more sales, but it was it was a “no” and so after we started moving forward with Bloomingdale’s, I reached out again and I said hey you know you may have seen us on Shark Tank we’re in the process of getting set up at Bloomingdale’s you know have things changed on your end and they said oh yes they have and right away they wanted us to come in store. It really was like when one store wants you then all of them start to jump on board.
KEISHA BLAIR: that’s amazing to know because I just want to jump in just to ask for entrepreneurs listening in who want to get their products into stores but don’t know how to you know even formulate a retail strategy or how to go about even approaching these stores you know. Can you share a bit of advice on that? It that sounded like you were very proactive yourself which is amazing you know in reaching out and finding the relevant people in these stores to reach out to but can you just share some quick tips on that?
TARA WILLIAMS: yeah absolutely. So I think my background helped a little bit. I was in a different industry in medical devices, but a big part of my role was market development, so it’s really taking products that were unknown or unheard of even the concept of them so these novel type products and introducing them to the market via Surgeon Champions and getting case studies from large academic hospitals and then trickling that down. So if we get one hospital like a Stanford on board, then that’s the accolades in another hospital like UCSF is good and they say okay you know if Stanford’s using it we want to use it. Then that really trickles down to like the smaller you know county hospitals and different things. So I really took that same strategy I had Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s that were both really interested and then I really just canvassed like where else do we want to be? And we can’t be everywhere at one time because it was just me managing it.
So I also knew from working with those two stores that we had started conversations in June but we didn’t actually get set up until it was about November and that entire time it was a yes and then it just started to go through like the approval process and creating the creative and copy and there’s so much that goes into it from a fulfillment perspective and connectivity and negotiating what price you’re going to give them. It’s different if you’re gonna drop ship or they’re gonna stock it in store or are they going to consign it. There’s so many different decisions with different groups and organizations within each one. Nordstrom has 10 different departments for one type of product so I was talking to a whole bunch of different people and this is pretty standard at all big box stores. So from there you know we’re working through those but I also really wanted to be in target that was another one and then I started just asking around friends like hey you know, Target seems like the next step and then I wanted to be in some of the smaller ones like Motherly and Masonette we’re in those stores and they’re more curated for the discerning parent and so I just felt like brand-wise that would really be a good fit for us.
So I started reaching out to other businesses and saying hey you know I noticed you’re in the store would you mind getting on a 10-minute call from with me I’d love to pick your brain on how you got in and you know I think if you’re going to reach out to a brand that has a million followers, they’re probably not going to give you the time of day but if you’re reaching out to a brand who’s just maybe a year or two ahead of you, then they remember where they were and where you are and most people are more than willing to help. I mean myself I probably get on too many calls but you know anybody who reaches out I’m like sure I’ll get on a call, especially if it’s women. I love helping other entrepreneurs so I mean that’s always something I would say just try to reach out to somebody that you see is doing what you want to do and isn’t ten years ahead of you. They’re one or two and typically they’ll be more than happy to help you and then if you can’t there’s something called Linkedin and you can just search around and try to find you know you want to be. Try to search around and find the buyer there’s a baby buyer at Target and then you know maybe it doesn’t say their email but figure out what is the Target email and just reach out.
So a lot of that is really just hunting and if you know what you’re looking for then you’ll find a way to get to it. So I would say, if somebody says no like Nordstrom the first time, I mean they were totally uninterested, it wasn’t until hey we were on Shark Tank oh and by the way Bloomingdale’s wants us then it was like oh yeah we want you too. So I think you can all also give these buyers updates like if they say no right out the gate, then you can give an updates like hey we’re in Target now or just want to let you know here’s an article we were in motherly or Good Morning America like you know just keeping in touch. A lot of it’s timing too, and you never know when that buyer is like oh I just got approval to bring on two new lines and you know they remember you had emailed them the week before well you’re gonna be that line if you sit back and do nothing then you know it you’ll be forgotten so I think that pretty all-encompassing of all the things I did.
KEISHA BLAIR: Okay that’s great thanks for those tips and so in my book Holistic Wealth, I mentioned that everyone should have their own personal financial identity and I’ve been asking guests who’ve been on the show as you’ve probably heard to take this free quiz that I developed from the personal financial identities framework and to share with our audience their results and thoughts on the quiz, especially female entrepreneurs, who tend to be mostly bootstrapped and have the same hurdles. It’s just great to hear the stories and the stories have been so inspiring so far because in sharing thoughts about their results, these women have been sharing to about what they’ve been doing or how their philosophy has been integrated into their business practices. So Tara I’m just wondering if you could share your results with us and some thoughts on that?
TARA WILLIAMS: As I was taking the quiz, I think a lot of the things I answered, like for example, you’re willing to do without, and we were for a few years, and things like if you make extra money you put it into savings and that’s absolutely true! Last year, it was the first time I did take a salary and there was some extra money and I remember saying to my sister, oh you know I want to go buy a new car and of course I’m thinking of this like really expensive fancy car, and she says you know what are you like one of those people that they get money and then they’re bankrupt you know six months later? And so it kind of stuck with me because I thought yeah I mean I would never have gone and got a new car even though I need one because I have four kids and I have a tiny car but you know what I was thinking it was not even practical and it’s it is true that I if I do get extra money, I am putting that aside.
So in my personal life, I was a Finance major and my husband is in financial management so we are very financially cautious and that year that either one of us didn’t have a salary because it took my husband a full year to get a job you know in another scenario we would have had to sell our house and move out but because immediately we sprung to action and we said okay we have this full-time nanny and we’re gonna let her go. We had somebody who was cleaning our house and we’re like okay we’re gonna have to do that like any extra expense we went through and cancelled every subscription even Netflix.
Netflix is ten dollars a month but we said like we do not have an extra ten dollars a month for that luxury of Netflix right now like it’s just not something that we feel like we can have and so it seems really small and insignificant but we made the decision to cancel all subscriptions. Amazon same thing and the irony of all this was I’ve never gone back to needing Amazon prime or to needing a subscription or you know I used to go to Starbucks a lot and get a five dollar drink and I don’t do that anymore. So you think that you need all these things in life and when your back is to the wall and you truly cannot afford the. You aren’t any less happy, 2020 year of the pandemic that hit my family in like 2008. It was just a really crazy year for us but I think it made our relationship stronger and then it also made us so much more grateful for you know we do spend almost all of our money on vacations because creating family memories to me is more important than driving in a new car. I feel like those are the things our kids will remember so I think for me a middle minimalist describes me perfectly and it also describes my business my business was profitable our second month which is actually really unheard of now overall our first year you know we were negative but on a P&L, month to month we have been profitable since our second month and that’s because every decision I’ve made in any investment in if that’s an agency if that’s a contractor if that’s an employee if that’s a you know packaging decision it all had to have I said it has to pay for itself and alleviate something from me.
So anybody I bring on board if I’m going to pay them $200 a month or $10 000 a month they have to bring in that same revenue and they have to take something off my plate that allows me to be freed up to do something else that will bring in revenue and I think because I was a financial major and or finance major other I can really clearly look at our P&L and know where we’re overspending where there’s opportunities. I look at our cash flow every month and I understand how that works and so as a business owner, it’s such an important piece and something that I’m so grateful that I had that training to just be able to understand that part. I mean my very first hire was an accountant before I hired any marketer any social media person anything I said I want to make sure the business is profitable and I want to make sure we’re doing everything legally like submitting for taxes on time and you know we’ve now crossed nexus and almost all the states so you know having somebody manage that for us those were my biggest priorities and to date we’ve done okay we’ve been profitable which is exciting.
KEISHA BLAIR: yeah that’s amazing to hear and thank you for sharing that because this is the part that I love most in the podcast is this part at the end where we talk about this because I think there’s so much nuggets of wisdom that can be passed on through to others from you know this experience and so would you say that your husband’s probably a minimalist too?
TARA WILLIAMS: definitely yes he always jokes and says you know I could live in a tent in the backyard it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t need things in life you know for us it’s just as long as our families together that’s our most important piece.
KEISHA BLAIR: Yeah I know it sounds like it and that’s such a wonderful thought to end this interview on. Tara and thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It’s amazing. I had so many questions and I still have more but I know time is running out and so can you tell our audience where they can find you on social media on your website?
TARA WILLIAMS: Absolutely! So we are on dreamlandbabyco.com is our website and that’s you know the primary place where we sell the product and then on Instagram and Facebook where dreamland baby co and oh we just started tick tock which has been really fun um so you can find us on any of those channels and we ship out of the united states and we also ship out of Canada so there’s any Canadian listeners we have inexpensive quick shipping because we have a location in Canada as well awesome thank you so much for sharing your story with us it’s just an amazing story
TARA WILLIAMS: Absolutely! Thank you for having me!
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