Hoopla*Baby Founder Toby Partridge Talks Business

January 31, 2017

Hoopla*Baby Founder Toby Partridge Talks Business

Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do. Please include your business name and your role.

We are hoopla*baby – a product invented for moms, by moms. We are the first ever teether and dress clip that turns dresses into play clothes.

What prompted you to get into this business? Was there a particular revelation or experience that compelled you to move forward with your plans?

When I found myself pregnant with my little girl, my girl mom friends were kind enough (or terrible enough) to let me know that I would have little use for all the gorgeous dresses I had purchased for my daughter. “Little girls can’t crawl or get around in dresses, so you will dress her for events or photos but then have to change her so she can play” I was frustrated every time I opened her closet and that irritation inspired hoopla*baby’s development. I also feel that our diaper bags and cars have limited space for one trick wonders so I knew hoopla*baby had to be more than just a dress clip, and by making it a teether and a fun toy- it’s a must have accessory that does double duty. 

How many years of experience do you have in either your business or the baby/mommy industry? And yes, parenting definitely counts!

My background is in Interior Design and I have been lucky enough to do product development – that combined with my parenting and hoopla*baby experience adds up to 14 years.

What’s your favorite thing about working in the baby/mommy industry? What fuels your love for it?

The baby industry is an ever developing animal that is determined to make family life easier. Sometimes that is by going back to older ways of doing things, but it’s also open to new ideas and opportunities. It’s almost as fast paced as the tech world and I find that fascinating. Plus, being an interior designer and feeling strongly about form following function, baby items have to work and work every time – moms don’t have time for products that don’t help them. I love that about this industry – really great design.

What baby/mommy product do you recommend the most? What are some of your other favorites? Why?

I am a huge fan of baby carriers. Your baby will want to be with you all the time and holding them helps regulate their temperature, and milk production and a million other things. But trust that you will get so tired of never having a free hand. I was in love with my Becco Butterfly baby carrier and recommend having a few to get you through everything from dinner prep, walking around a city and just having a free hand for a drink or snack.

What is your number one piece of advice for new moms?

Labor only lasts one, maybe one and a half days. Its brief and you will get through it. Baby will come out. Stop stressing over that tiny bit of time and start thinking about what to do after baby.  

What would you say is the hardest part about being a parent?

If you aren’t a parent yourself, what do you think is the hardest part? You cannot get an A or an A plus. No one will tell you that you are doing anything perfect. There is no perfect. And some days there are no thank you’s and there definitely aren’t any end of year bonuses. You just have to find the happiness in raising little people.

In your experience, what helps the most in the first 12 weeks postpartum?

Sleep and giving yourself a break. Don’t be so hard on yourself and if you feel like you are failing or falling or just darn frustrated talk to a mom friend, your husband, your doctor – anyone. Its hard. Its so hard and don’t feel bad if you feel that way.

Share your respectful insights on a hot button topic (bottle vs. nursing, co-sleeping, pacifiers, paternity leave, or any topic you’re most passionate about).

I find it unfathomable that our country cannot seem to get its head out of its ass and provide every child with both parents for family leave. These children are our future and your work force is happier and more efficient when they are able to raise their families. How can we be the #1 country in the world when we can’t even take care of our babies. Its baffles the mind.

Leave us with something important, inspiring, funny, or wise. Be creative!

Don’t pick your mom friends based on their attire, stroller or parenting style – pick them based on their love of coffee and taste in wine. You may only snack on puffs and leftover kids lunches but you will find time and an appreciation for caffeine and good adult conversation accompanied by a glass of wine.

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