Monday Motivation from Kerri Couillard, Founder & CTO of Babierge
Mondays can be rough and, sometimes, we can all use some motivation. Our #MondayMotivation blog series brings you tips and life hacks from industry leaders and some of the most creative entrepreneurs out there.
We sat down with Kerri Couillard, Founder & CTO of Babierge, to discuss the sharing economy, building an industry from scratch, and hiring a CEO to run your company.
What inspired you to start your business?
When my husband asked me to sell the baby gear my two young sons had outgrown, I had the idea to rent it, instead of sell it. As a software developer, I put up a one-page website and within 3 days, I had my first $300 reservation for items I already owned. I also loved developing this business along with the birth and growth of the sharing economy. From the beginning I started thinking of a business model that could scale internationally, while allowing moms (and dads) and retirees the ability to do simple, and flexible, wholehearted work. Babierge (baby + concierge) was born, and we are the first marketplace for baby gear rental.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
For me, it was a big choice to bring on a CEO for my company. I had many differing opinions and it really came down to knowing who I am. What am I good at? What do I enjoy doing? What do I need help doing? I’m so thankful I made this choice and I am thrilled to get the opportunity to work alongside Babierge CEO Fran Maier, Co-Founder of Match.com and TRUSTe.
What’s been the greatest reward?
The greatest professional reward for me has been to hand-code a platform that is successfully scaling, but the most meaningful part is that Babierge is helping entrepreneurs around the country launch businesses that fit their lifestyle while also solving a problem for traveling families who simply can’t carry all the baby gear they need to enjoy the comforts of home while on vacation. Everyone wins. We now have 28 independent Trusted Partners who are renting their own baby equipment, spanning the U.S. in 18 markets. They are each averaging over $1,000 a month in new income for their families.
What is the biggest thing you’d like to see changed in your industry, and how are you working toward making that change happen?
We’re inventing our industry, so we don’t look at how to change it, but rather how to invent an industry that serves both our customers and our baby gear entrepreneurs. On the customer end we strive for offering an inventory of high-quality baby gear, delivering excellent customer service, providing tips and advice to help families enjoy their vacations in our local markets and developing new opportunities to deliver value. We have some great ideas about this. For our entrepreneurial Trusted Partners we focus on helping them launch successfully and then providing ongoing support, training and advice so they can both grow their individual businesses and feel part of a larger collaborative team. It’s exciting to build something entirely new.
Who or what motivates you to keep going, even when things get tough?
The Babierge customers – the traveling families and local grandparents, motivate me to keep going and pushing past barriers! We have some of the best testimonials on the planet and hear frequently that Babierge has saved vacations, made the travel experience much more enjoyable, and that our Trusted Partners are miracle workers. In addition to being the Founder and CTO of Babierge, I still continue to be a Trusted Partner in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I have personally hand-delivered over 1000 reservations. It is so motivating to see other Trusted Partners experience this ‘gushing gratitude’ from their customers as well.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to another entrepreneur just starting out?
Here are a few pieces: Trust yourself, believe in your work, and take pride in the core competencies you bring to your startup. Keep your eye on your customer. Solve a big problem. Change the way the world does something.
What do you do every Monday morning to prepare and motivate yourself for the coming week?
I prepare for the week on Sunday. I make a prioritized list for the week and review my calendar. I go to bed early on Sunday night in order to set myself up for success. I almost always wake up the best (and earliest) on Monday and generally feel ready to conquer the week. Monday is my best day!
For more #MondayMotivation, check out our interview with Apryl DeLancey, Founder & CEO of El Porto Shark. We discussed making sharks lovable, balancing environmental concerns with profitability, and using the power of digital media to spread conservation awareness.