Samantha Rudolph actually came up with the idea for Babyation before she ever had a baby. She was reading a New York Times article that was lamenting the current state of breast pumps, and she was appalled at how little they’d changed over the years. She turned to her engineer husband and asked if he thought he could build something better. And from there, Babyation was born. Samantha is here today to discuss how she runs her own business and balances motherhood; she has a little one of her own now, Exton, and is so excited to bring a better breast pump to the market! You can follow Babyation on their website, Instagram, or Facebook.
GG: How and why did you start Babyation?
SR: I certainly never saw this one coming! They say necessity is the mother of all inventions, and in my case, it was the prospect of being a mother that prompted this business. A few years ago, I stumbled upon an article that highlighted the shortcomings of breast pumps. Even though a family wasn’t yet on our radar, I knew at some point I wanted to a) be a mother, b) continue working, and c) feed my hypothetical baby breast milk. I had zero knowledge of breast pumps prior to reading this piece, and I was horrified by what my future would look like. Lucky for me, I’m married to a gifted engineer who immediately said, “I can build something better.” And thus, Babyation was born!
GG: How do you balance work and family?
SR: Well, it helps that I absolutely love what I’m doing — both personally and professionally. I wouldn’t trade my baby or Babyation for anything. Co–founding this company is a privilege, and I am acutely aware of how fortunate I am. But, starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart — especially if you have a family. The pressure to succeed is extraordinary.
I do think there’s this misperception that often comes with being a mompreneur or running a business. Yes, I have a ton of flexibility in my schedule, and yes, I get to spend more time with my son than I would if I had a more traditional office job. I don’t ever take that for granted. Exton is the best thing I have ever done, and the title I am most proud of is Mom. I very clearly have that priority established in my life, and I make no apologies for it.
I also know that I don’t feel like myself unless I’m working and creating something from scratch. That is a very personal decision, and I completely support a woman doing whatever is right for her and her family. But for me, I’m a better mom because I work, and the flip side of a flexible schedule is that every second I’m not working on Babyation is a second I get behind in something. That’s just the reality. So for me, I make other trade offs. I refuse to shortchange my son or my startup. That means that I sleep very little. I no longer work out. I don’t see my friends as much as I would like. Laundry piles up, and the cleaning doesn’t get done. There are only 24 hours in each day, and I have to prioritize.
I’m well aware that this delicate balance only works because of the people around me. My husband, who is also my business partner, is an amazing dad. I can leave town on a business trip and not for one second worry about Exton. We moved in with my parents when we got serious about making Babyation a success. It allowed us to both commit to the company full-time without worrying about keeping a roof over our heads, and it gave us two more sets of hands to help with the baby. There is absolutely no way we could do this without them. When we’re successful, it will be in no small part due to them.
GG: What’s the best part about being a “Mompreneur” and running your own business?
SR: I have the best and worst boss in the world!
Kidding aside, the best thing about running THIS business is the incredible moms I have encountered. I am inspired by every single interaction I have. I can have the worst day ever, and then I read an email or a Facebook message about how this will change someone’s life. That’s just humbling. Something I’m doing can have a tangible impact for someone. She might be able to feed her baby breast milk longer. She may have the tool she needs to grow in her career. She might be able to feel like herself by getting out of the house. I don’t for one second forget who I am doing this for. And that makes every sacrifice, every setback, and every tradeoff worth it.