Croissant chupa chups dragée donut apple pie.
A podcast where you join me (Penny!) as I chat to fellow creatives over a cocktail.
Caramels cookie marzipan chocolate danish soufflé powder oat cake pie. Candy icing lemon drops danish halvah macaroon jelly beans sweet.
Sarah Dorsett is CEO of Nanit, a high-growth baby tech company that supports the new parent journey with products that connect parents to their child’s development through powerful insights that improve the sleep and well-being of the entire family.
She was previously the VP of ECommerce for Bed, Bath & Beyond and comes from a long standing career in the fashion and beauty industry.
But above all, Sarah is the mom of 3 managing a family and a career.
The roles she plays at home and in the office with dual working parents
What she’s doing as CEO of Nanit to create an environment that supports working parents (especially for moms after returning from maternity leave)
Her maternal experience in the demanding big retail world
Her jewelry side hustle where she channels her creativity called Parken Jewelry
The two things she can’t leave the house without doing first
Advice for entrepreneurs on go-to-market strategy and humanizing a technology product
Creating a community around family
Subscribe, review and tune in weekly because you know you’ve yelled “Mommy’s on a Call” at least once in the last week!!!
Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Audible, or your favorite podcast platform!
Follow along at IG: @MommysonaCall & @StephanieUchima
[00:00:00] Sarah: I remember early in my career kind of thinking when I first had children and I was listening to these wonderful successful women talk and they had families too. And, and hearing them say, you can’t do both. You just can’t . You’re going to be either good at one or good at the other.
And I kept thinking. Well, that’s not fair. Wait a minute. Like, you know, you might not feel great at both at the same time, but is there a way that you can kind of feel good about one? And who helps you with all of that stuff? You know? And, and, and there isn’t any support out there to do that.
And my hope is that as Nanit evolves, we will be showing our parents , that we care about that very thing.
[00:00:30] Stephanie: Welcome to mommy’s on a call your sacred space to laugh, learn, and feel like a real grownup human for a hot minute. I’m Stephanie Uchima Carney, a mom of three under six serial entrepreneur business strategists and donut connoisseur. Just trying to get through the day one cold cup of coffee at a time. I believe that with more intention, a positive mindset and self care, it is possible to thrive in motherhood, business, and life.
My mission is to uncover the daily rituals, life lessons, real life tactics, and favorite tools to inspire and empower you mommy, to get the most out of life every single unpredictable day. So grab your headphones, tell your kids you’re on the potty and tune in weekly for some laughs knowledge bombs, and plenty of real talk with real moms and maybe a dad or two.
Welcome to the mommy pod.
Welcome back to mommy’s on a call today. I’m excited to bring to you Sarah Dorsett. Sarah is the CEO of Nanit a high growth baby tech company that supports the new parent journey with products that connect parents to their child’s development, through powerful insights that improve the sleep and wellbeing of the entire.
Sarah was previously the VP of e-commerce for bed, bath and beyond. And she comes from a longstanding career in the fashion and beauty industry. But above all, Sarah is the mom of three managing a family and a busy career. Welcome.
[00:01:58] Sarah: Thank you so much. It’s so nice to be here.
[00:02:00] Stephanie: It’s great to have you. I wanted to kick it off with asking, what is your biggest mom win of the week?
[00:02:06] Sarah: Oh my gosh. My biggest mom went of the week. I think I’m going to sound so silly in that I actually had a really great conversation with one of my children’s teachers about improving something that they had been working on in school and believe it or not, I had actually gotten in front of it and had started working with him.
I’m going to get ahead of time. So I felt so proud of myself that I could have that conversation and say, yes, I’m on it. I’ve noticed we can have a conscience. A small win, but I think that’s probably for this week that that was a lot.
[00:02:42] Stephanie: That’s a good win. And to give the audience a little bit of context, what are the ages of your children and what are the roles that you and your partner play in the house and you know, when your family,
[00:02:54] Sarah: oh my gosh.
That’s a great question. I think about this a lot, actually. So about the role one. So I’ll have financing. Children. So I have two boys, 10 and eight they’re, 18 months apart. And then I have a five-year-old daughter. Yeah. So, so all three, it is, it’s what you would expect. Two boys, tons of energy crawling up the wall, super curious, athletic loud.
And then, you know, the, the princess who essentially like just waves or wander around the house and everybody just falls in line. So that’s really how the families is set up from a, , from a children’s roles perspective, from a parent role perspective. I’m the one who’s constantly chasing all of the calendars and making sure everybody has their doctor’s appointments and, you know, kind of everything they need.
And, and I’m very responsible for the play dates and the social side as well. And just like the general needs, you know, of, of their needs, basic needs, food and clothing and all that stuff. I would say my husband is probably more of the fun dad. So he’s the one who comes up with. Fun stuff for them to do.
And you know, they’re always, , he’s, he’s definitely a bit more relatable and creative. I think on the kid front, I always thought of myself as the most creative person in the family, but he is, he just knows how to connect with children. And he’s, he’s a great coach in the town and has a big sports history, but it’s really interesting how we, how we divide the two and how the kids think about us.
[00:04:20] Stephanie: And also are both of you, are you a dual working family? Like how is that relationship and role? Because, I mean, you’re the CEO of a big company, you know, you have a big role to play, especially like managing the kids and everything. How does your husband step in for all of that?
[00:04:37] Sarah: It’s funny when we had our third, that was really when I think he started to realize that I probably needed a little more help because I can only do like two at a time. It’s sometime in some cases, so both working. So we both have full-time jobs, he’s in the banking industry, which is a lot of hours. I’m clearly 24 7 on this business.
Or have to be, you know, as needed and, and, and building, especially in a VC backed world, you know, , really driving growth is pretty important. So it’s a, it’s a different kind of CEO role, I would say. , and maybe in some cases, even more intense and we’re really lucky that we have a great product, but what I’ve found is that he tends to, he doesn’t necessarily pick up on, you know, oh, I’ll jump in and do it, but I’ll remind her.
So I think we need to evolve what that actually means to this family, because getting so many email reminders about all the things that I should remember to do is his way of being supportive now, whereas before he just counted on me to like, never forget anything, you know, I had the extra pair of clothes and the 20 diapers and all the things that were needed in.
He would actually present me that way, like, oh, don’t worry. Sarah has three backup things in her bag. And now he’s like, you didn’t remember to bring an extra mask and I’m like, no, I don’t know. So he’s, he’s, he’s pretty good at reminding me, which
[00:05:58] Stephanie: I feel like it’s one of those things you need either like a WhatsApp or a sauna that has things.
[00:06:05] Sarah: Project management tool for families that is like really intuitive would be incredible. Somebody out there probably has one and I just haven’t discovered it yet, but
[00:06:13] Stephanie: , Nanit, it should take control of that and somehow add it like a scanner to feel how you’re doing in the day.
[00:06:20] Sarah: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. A mood ring.
I don’t know.
[00:06:24] Stephanie: And it relays instead of just baby information, but like, don’t forget to buy strawberries at the market or
[00:06:30] Sarah: I think it has to be sound-based where there’s like chimes that go up and do all these things. So that it’s really alternate, annoying, but really highly noticeable so that you really don’t, you can’t overlook it, but yeah, that’s how he is.
So if I could, if I could bottle up my husband and put in into Nanit as your, your, your, your assistant, or I don’t know, someone who just kind of reminds you of things.
[00:06:53] Stephanie: Well, on that note I wanted to ask is like, so now your kids are a little older. What does kind of your behind the scenes, your childcare look like?
You know, how do you manage being two working parents? Things have opened up now. I mean, I don’t know if you’re working from home. If he gets to work from home, how that looks.
But also, you know, stepping back a few years when you started and what had childcare looked like? You had three little, little kids, you know, how has, how have you managed to pursue your career, but also manage having three children and doing all the things that you’re saying you’re doing.
I mean, scheduling and all of that. That is a full-time job.
[00:07:29] Sarah: Yeah, well, I’m fortunate enough that I don’t, I didn’t ever have any sort of living care, which is, I think common when you have two, you know, jobs that take you outside the home, which is what we did have before. COVID fortunately with COVID we now have where we can now be more flexible and be home.
And I think one of the big benefits of being the CEO of a company is you get to help define what those rules are. And it’s something that I always always wanted in my career. My career, as you mentioned, has been in retail and retail was pretty rigid. There was you were required to be in the office at the times that they said, and, you know, obviously kind of go above and beyond as well, because it’s very fast paced environment.
And in the e-commerce world, it’s even more fast paced. So I never really had the luxury of being home and it was a bit of a. It was eye-opening for me to be home and to see how my children adjusted to me being home. So now it’s almost, at first it was almost like overwhelming for them. Like, I can’t believe mom’s home all the time.
Like this is like such a new thing and I need to be in front of her whenever I need to. I just need to come and see her all the time. So my door was always flying open and they just had no concept of mom’s at work because now she’s home. And it was just a very different thing for them. I still think they have those moments, but they’ve gotten more used to, to, to balancing.
For me, it’s just, it’s sort of wonderful because. I’m just more accessible. I can, I can reschedule things a little bit more easily because I’m connected and I’m right here in town. And so that’s, that’s better. My husband is back in the office. He was home, which was dreamy, but now he’s back in the office for quite some time.
We do have a daytime childcare. So we, fortunately being in school makes things a lot easier prior to them being in school. We still had the same nanny. So we’ve had a nanny. Since the same ones since my child, since my first child was born. So three months in, so she’s been with us for almost 10 years. We have some backup childcare, which now she sort of manages our household.
So she manages schedules for other babysitters if she needs some time off. So she’s really so much more than, than, than a nanny she’s she really has manager she’s a house manager for sure. Which I have to, I sort of knock on wood that we were so fortunate. To be able to find someone who would commit to our family in that way, you know, and, and be able to really transition into managing the household when the kids aren’t aren’t here as much.
But yeah, it was really interesting. I mean, we had her in the city, which is a lot easier to find childcare in New York we moved out to New Jersey five years ago and fun fact, she did not know how to drive and she failed her driving test six times in the first year.
[00:10:05] Stephanie: So do you let her drive your children?
[00:10:08] Sarah: Obviously, there was a lot of anxiety around putting her in a car with our children. So we only let her go less than half a mile, roughly around the town in the car. And she knows the route that she can take. But that’s about the extent that we go to and. R R it’s basically mutual our mutual comfort level.
I’m on the driving front. So that that’s been a little bit of a new, , thing that we’ve had to learn to balance too, is how do we get our kids from a to B you know, given our work situation and, and the childcare that we have, but she’s so valuable in so many other ways that we can, we can cover the, the driving part.
[00:10:44] Stephanie: Yeah. I think that’s super important to have like reliable childcare, especially with dual working parents. I’m curious being, you know, a working parent and now being at a baby company, have you added any sort of like parental benefits? Have you been on like the forefront of, you know, creating a company culture that supports working moms?
Like what have you seen or done? Because the past companies you’ve worked on, you said retail, it’s very cutthroat. Like you need to work. I envisioned like devil wears Prada, you know, all of that, like that industry and especially working in. It where you were working and, you know, rising up the company ladder, it’s hard to make that change.
But now that you have the hat of a CEO, you can dictate a lot more. Have you done anything to change it, or what have you seen in the industry that’s adjusted maybe even post pandemic, if you can even call it post pandemic.
[00:11:36] Sarah: Well, it was funny when I first walked into the organization, there was no framework for sort of anything.
It was very early days when I first came into the company, but a member of my team had just announced that she was pregnant. And so the very first thing we did was say, well, you get full paid leave. Like we’re not even going to, you know, we, we had no framework for even putting anything in place. We just said.
Take, you know, how much, you know, do you want to take your three months? And we’ll just pretend like you’re still on the payroll that whole time. Like there was no way that I was going to, to not do that. That has since become a much bigger sort of practice in the organization. We have, we now have a framework around paid leave.
We also have an office in Israel. So half of our office is in Israel. So we’ve had to really balance expectations. There also, uh, paternal leave was super important to us. Just evolving that one of the things we did was we took a look at big companies and who was being more innovative, you know, around, around parental leave.
And it’s interesting because I did see some. I see companies that really embraced it, but they were also companies who also didn’t necessarily have a great work-life balance when you came back. So I’m like, that’s great that you get six months off, but when people come back, they’re still expected to live in the office.
You know? So there wasn’t this sort of like, there was this moment where they could really, you know, they could really shout from the rooftops that you got this wonderful paid leave, but then things, you know, the minute you came back, it was like jumped right back in.
And that was a big challenge for I ran millennial teams, you know, I always have someone or multiple people on my team who’s pregnant at any given time and just watching their struggle as they came back and how they balanced it and how there really was absolutely no help and support for that. So one of the big things that we do now is when someone returns to work, we really talked to them about what it is that would, what, what life they want to have.
Like, what did they want? To look like and what will make it easier for them to transition back to work and do they need a schedule change and do things need to change a little bit and in a smaller company, you can do that. So we’re fortunate, but I’ve loved that kind of leaning in and learning more about what they need as they return to work.
Nanit is really, I’ve always thought that Nanit should be the monitor that helps parents do that. It’s a connected monitor. As you know, you can keep your baby everywhere. I hear from working moms all the time that they’re watching their baby on Nanit all day long and we see super high engagement and we see dads doing it too.
So moms and dads are exchanging Nanit photos because they’re using Nanit. So I absolutely love, and I’m really embracing that idea that we have a product that can, that can make that transition easier because that’s a huge transition. So incredibly hard to try to balance the two. And I remember early in my career kind of thinking when I first had, had, had children and I was listening to these wonderful successful women talk and they had families too.
And, and hearing them say, you can’t do both. You just can’t eat. You’re going to be either good at one or good at the other. And I kept thinking. Well, that’s not fair. Wait a minute. Like, you know, you might not feel great at both at the same time, but is there a way that you can kind of feel good about one?
feel good and, and who helps you with all of that stuff? You know? And, and, and there isn’t any support out there to do that. And my hope is that as Nanit evolves, we will be showing our parents that, that we care about that very thing.
[00:14:47] Stephanie: I’m curious. So you had three kids while you were. Like climbing the ladder, basically like your career was blossoming, but you were also adding a kid every single time.
First of all, how was your maternity leave experience? And second of all, you know, was there ever a moment where you’re like, I can’t grow both. You know, you were told that you can build a career, you can build a family, you are doing both. What pushed you forward and especially to take a role as a CEO, you know, that’s a big deal.
I see a lot of moms leave to maybe become founders. A smaller companies are inspired by what their child was doing. You know, a lot of these baby companies were spawned out of her own mother’s need. It’s interesting. You came into actually a male founded company and brought in this sort of motherly side, but to, to back it up, building three, we’ll start with.
Three kids, multiple VP positions to CEO. How was your maternity experience? And was there ever a point where you’re like, shoot, I do have to pick career or family and if you didn’t ever feel that why, and you know, what pushed you forward?
[00:15:51] Sarah: My maternal experience was not good. I was not at all. You know, and I, I acutely feel that whenever anybody announces they’re pregnant, because I automatically want to go in and say, it’ll be better than it was for me.
I had, you know, I worked in our super fast paced environment. , ecommerce. Even today, I think is very fast-paced, but especially in a big retail world, everybody was trying to kind of catch up with e-com and I was heading up these, the, the, the, the, the whole mission to do all of that. And so no one actually wanted me out of the office.
My first maternity leave, I would say I went, I went back right on that 12 week mark. My second, I went back on the 10 week mark and the third, I think I got a call at eight weeks. To actually take on more responsibility as soon as I possibly could get back to work or there really wasn’t and these are, these are, I hate to say this, but they’re there, they were pretty traditional retail environments, you know, led by men.
And I remember in my head thinking, I wonder if it’s okay for me to have a conversation with how they’re, how they would feel if their wife was asked to do some of the things that I’m asked to do. Like could I put it into perspective in a way? And I think I was too scared at the time to actually say it.
So I never did ask. You never did. I never sat down and said, Hey, look, how would you like if your wife was treated like this? I never said that. And I, I think, um, I think there, I think in hindsight, had I been more comfortable with how I would phrase that type of statement and how I would, how I would socialize kind of the empathy around, you know, what it, what it means to come back to work when you’re leaving your child.
I do think that that I would be, I would have the guts now to do it, but I remember looking back and one of the reasons why I think. I kept going was I’m just a glutton for punishment. No, I just, I have like this, I have this unending kind of grit. I just, I love to, I, I really designed for work. My, my family will even tell you that, that I just, my brain is just designed to kind of keep on going.
And I remember thinking it’s not that I want to take it all on, but I do feel like a better person. Me personally. By going to work and kind of figuring things out. And so what I ultimately did was have to do a bunch of kind of self-talk, you know, when it came down to that moment of do we make a choice?
And I think everybody goes through it, my husband and I talked about it at multiple times, like, what would it look like? Should we do it? Does it make sense? And I think kind of where we landed was I said, you know, I think I can be pretty involved. There’s a couple of rules that I want to have. One of the rules is I want to be able to drop my children off in the morning.
I want to make sure that I start their day and I know where they’re going. So it was really critical for me to talk to my every new role that I took. I said, I really just love dropping my kids off in the morning. Do you mind if I start my day? You know, after that,
[00:18:32] Stephanie: That’s amazing. So you did have the guts to advocate for that.
[00:18:35] Sarah: That was huge. I basically said I just, it’s just something that makes me feel a lot better about my day. And then I couldn’t the thing that I couldn’t get over, couldn’t really figure out how to approach was that like 3:00 PM moment when you want to be home for them when they get home, just so you can see how their day was.
But I also think, Nanit really helps with that was one of the reasons why I joined it because I thought now you get to see their day. Cause there’s all these things that really resonated with me when I joined the company. But one of the things that I think ended up being really critical for me was kind of deciding on the things I wanted to be good at as a parent.
So I wanted to be. Involved in certain things. I wanted to be involved in the community. I wanted to have relationships, but I also needed to set boundaries that other parents didn’t need to set. So I can’t be president of the PTO as much as I like to be involved. When you ask me the answer has to be, no, I can’t make that commitment.
I will disappoint miserably, but if a parent reaches out and needs something last minute, I can usually make that work, you know, or if they need something directly from me. And interestingly enough, I built relationships that way, where I’m very open about what I can and can’t do. And I, and
[00:19:38] Stephanie: you always good at that? Like saying no or drawing boundaries? Cause I know a lot of moms, we, you know, we think we’re invincible. We’re like we can do it. We can do it all.
[00:19:50] Sarah: I think, I think what I learned to do. Be almost introduced myself that way. One of my friends will tell you, Sarah introduces herself as kind of the most operationally excellent person at work.
She’s got all her ducks in a row. She knows what she’s doing at work, but then she’ll actually tell you she’s a disaster in her personal life. Like she won’t stay on top of any schedules. If you want to be friends with me, you know, you’re going to be the one who has to remind me of stuff. Would you be okay with that?
Like we have this really open
So it’s really, it’s really been one of those things where I’ve just kind of, and I think people have respected me for the effort that I put in, even when I mess up quite a bit, because I really do try to kind of show up. And I think people also really respect the amount of effort that I’ve put into to the job as well.
And, um, and I think they see that, but ultimately I kind of made the decision. Look, my, my children are not going to have me all day long right now. But when they need to make some tough decisions about their life, when they’re making decisions about their adult life and what they want to do with their life and career and management and people and, and what they really want to do and be, and, and, and all that advice that you need, when you really set off into the real world, I’ll be a good, I’ll be a great support then.
So, you know, so I kind of had to, I got to have to choose.
[00:21:04] Stephanie: Do you ever then also schedule in time for say you and I’m not talking self care per se, but like, what do you do for you to also like fill you up? Because that’s important too. You pour so much into your career, you pour so much into your family. How do you pour into you and how do you find time to do that?
Like, what are your, your things? What’s your wellness.
[00:21:24] Sarah: Oh, my gosh. Well, I’m, I’m obsessed with binge-watching just about anything. So I do, I do have have, I’ve had to learn to do it, but I have, you know, there are moments when I just feel like watching a show for a while and I want to discover something new and interesting and fun and be involved in more pop culture and modern culture stuff.
Sometimes I’d just rather than. Read or discover something. I also have a little mini like side business, so I never left retail in a, in a major way. I actually, I actually spun up my own little website and I always called it kind of my creative passion project. And it was, uh, it’s around a business, a jewelry business, which I’ve, I’ve always loved the creativity around jewelry and, and, and being creative.
I’ve never been able to separate myself from having a creative outlet because sometimes you get so involved in all of the things that go on when you run a company that you don’t actually get to be creative. And I recognize that for me, the creativity was super, super important. I needed a place where I could channel like all this stuff that was kind of colliding in my head.
But I needed to do it in a way that felt, felt like I was still making a contribution. So I, I ended up, you know, I, I made jewelry and then I started doing much more artistic things and getting involved in all sorts of stuff and ended up sort of saying, you know what, I know how to build a website. Why don’t I just.
Work on that. And so what’s happened is that because no one lets me touch the day-to-day stuff in the company anymore. No one wants me involved in anything specific because, uh, I get too, I get too
[00:22:56] Stephanie: into the weeds or like stressed about
[00:23:00] Sarah: like, you know, I love all the data then I love to think about things a different way.
And then, and then people start to go, oh my gosh, does she really want us to do all that? So I have to really, I have to, I love having this place where I can say, okay, I know it’s going to drive them crazy to do this, but I’m going to go run my own Facebook ads and see if I can learn something like I’ll do like little, okay, you’re
[00:23:18] Stephanie: going to have to tell me what is this website?
Because I’m going to have to look it up. And what are you selling jewelry? Are you actually hand-making it? And if so where, when do you have the time to do that? But I totally get the creative side because I’m like that too. I need a creative outlet in order to actually. Be a better person and to work better.
[00:23:37] Sarah: It is. Yeah. And I think, and I grew up as a, as a, as a very creative person, but I also had this like mathematical engineering side to my life. And if you see my parents, they are very much, one is the engineer and the other is the artist. And they’re both teachers, which is kind of just an interesting thing to grow up in.
And so the website’s called parken jewelry, parkenjewelry.com. And it’s kind of a combination of my kids’ names of course, because you gotta, I gotta have mom and everything. And I don’t make the jewelry. I was really lucky. I built all these jewelry businesses when I was working in retail at Bloomingdale’s and century 21 stores.
And. I learned so much about craftsmanship and the storytelling behind jewelry. Prior to that, I spent so many years in the beauty industry. I just loved all of the dedication to kind of a single product and what went into that. And it was just, it was something just, I think, beautiful and creative.
And, and I frankly, there were two things that I love to do it right before I left the house, it was choose my jewelry and put it on a metal had a very grounding. I I’m. So, you know, I’m, I’m so high level vision, creativity that it really felt like when I put on that jewelry, I was like landing on earth. And then, and then the fragrance I chose in the morning. So definitely the things I’ve done in my past. If I had a huge impact. What excites me today? What gets me going in the morning?
[00:24:50] Stephanie: Do you have any employees in that company? Is it just you
[00:24:53] Sarah: like not well, so I do, I have, I have partners, so because I can’t run this, full-time, I’m fully dedicated to Nanit. This is sort of, you know, when I, when I can kind of thing.
I have a partner who makes the jewelry, but we designed it together and we sorted the magically think about, um, what the feature of it would look like. And it’s much more about layering in color. And I love things that are handmade. I think having kind of that personal love put into something is so special.
So I’ve always looked for things that were kind of unique. You can probably, you’ll probably get some, a big MCPN, you know, I’m always kind of looking for who is that special artists creating that special thing. And, and when I discovered. So excited. So I have a partner who will make it all, but she’s been doing it for 25 years.
She’s self-taught, she’s made jewelry for a lot of people who I can’t even name because they wouldn’t want you to know that she’s the one that makes the jewelry. So I got really lucky and got a connection. We’ve become really great friends. And she does that side of the business and I do sort of everything else, but I have connected in the industry with marketing and creative people who, who sometimes just like to have a little fun and help me out.
So it’s just been kind of an organic thing, but it has definitely helped me stay on top of marketing trends and that type of thing. So it actually influences Nana in a really big way because. I learned things and I discover things that technically aren’t my role in the company, but really helped me think about what does you know, where does the future of this business?
What does it need to look like? Should I watch out for something while there’s something really interesting happening over in this channel? You know, maybe we should explore that or just learn more and get in front of it. So I
[00:26:24] Stephanie: love that because it’s actually kind of a founders mindset. So I see this with a lot of entrepreneurs that they become successful because they look elsewhere and they don’t just follow the person in front of them.
You know, they don’t just say like, well, this is what’s been done, or this is how it works. The people who are the most successful are the people who look outside their industry. Look for creative things. I remember just even being a part in the wedding industry, people would look at fashion trends. They’d look at interior design and they would be the ones who would be the forefront of what’s going to be what’s the new trend what’s popular because they’re looking outside of their own little niche.
And I think that’s a good kind of lesson for other entrepreneurs that don’t just be stuck in. Like I’m building this type of product, but to look elsewhere too, cause it, it can influence cultural too, whatever that is. I also really loved. I think in an article you just commented on recently. You wrote something about, you know, that health is more than just your physical wellbeing and this, I totally see for you, you light up when you talk about this.
And so it’s an interesting form of wellness because it’s like occupational, but it’s creativity. And I think that’s important for people to realize like your health and wellness, even coming out of this pandemic, isn’t just about being you know. Physically healthy, mentally healthy. It’s about more than just that.
And I mean, you like lit up and you were so excited to talk about this.
It just shows like that is something inside of you that I think as a mom, we need to find something else too, that fires us up. And so I love what you’ve done and I’m, I’m putting, by the way, I want to put that link on the show notes too, so people can check out your jewelry.
And then, but going back to like, that is such like a founder’s thing. So you do have, you are a founder of a company, but going back into then becoming a CEO of Nanit, like it’s interesting because I feel like you came in as a CEO. Although you were really kind of a founder in creating what Nanit is today.
Like, what are some of the like biggest struggles or like any advice for entrepreneurs out there or people building companies and scaling them that you have, especially as a mom?
[00:28:33] Sarah: Well, what I loved why I started join Nanit, because I, frankly, that was that mom side of me that really, really drove it. I came in thinking.
Oh, my gosh, this is everything I’ve always wanted. You know, like if I have the chance to shape this and help other families, this would be, this is an incredible opportunity for me. And I will feel personally pretty fulfilled if I can, you know, if I can kind of pull this off. So when I heard about what foundationally was built and how incredible it was and the thinking behind the technology and what it was meant to do.
I really came at it from, I think, more of a founder approach in that there was a big gap in the company around the go to market. Like, how do you, how do you talk to these families and these parents? How do you relate to them? Because this product can be very, very relatable, but it also is technical. So there’s this line where, where it’s hard to relate to a technical product, unless you can really kind of humanize it a little bit.
And so my goal was to do that was to really humanize. This tech so that you could embrace it rather than have to really kind of figure it out. And I think that one of the things that is sort of critical today, when you, when you think about approaching a business is to really look for, think about white space. Think about differentiators.
I know we, we sort of probably all say that as, as entrepreneurs, but I think that has been one of the things that is probably the most challenging thing is to think about. You might have an amazing idea, but then you have to flip it around and think about how is somebody who you’re trying to sell this product to going to interpret it.
And getting that sort of go to market fit moment, right? Can, can, can mean the world to you early on. So my biggest advice is really understanding what that story is. And one of my favorite things to do with other founders and, and, and people who ask me for advice in the industry is to help them shape that kind of go to market.
Like, why is this so important? What’s going to resume resonate sometimes your product. Isn’t absolutely perfect. But the message can be, so that that’s, that’s, what’s interesting. Sometime your PR sometimes if you have enough of a commitment to what your product can actually do and accomplish, you’ll get a lot of forgiveness.
That’s one of the things that we saw with family. They wanted us to succeed. So they gave us a free pass when sometimes there was a connectivity issue or, or the product wasn’t absolutely perfect. You know, when we came out with our, with our sleepwear, because we weren’t known, we weren’t expected to be an apparel company.
We were expected to be this great, you know, technology company and to keep their baby safe. So yeah, I’ll definitely give those products to try and then I’ll give you some feedback on them. People really wanted us to succeed. And I think that’s what you, that’s, what you want in your customer base is, is for them to really care enough, to stay with you as you’re growing a new business.
[00:31:17] Stephanie: I love that it’s the stories.
And then now you’re building a community which even strengthens kind of the story and the why behind it. Tell me more about the community that Nanit is developing or I’ve read about.
[00:31:29] Sarah: Yeah. So we launched a community in the beginning of, or the middle of last year and the big goal around it. We knew we always wanted to do this.
We knew it was incredibly. To have this community. And part of it was because we had this huge user base that was always talking to us and we thought, how about we let them talk to each other because you know what an amazing experience to come into a product that already had pre-built friendships and people who already knew, you know, what you were going through.
And it was just an amazing way, I think, to amplify. What we were trying to do as a business, which was to really support families.
And to your point earlier for me, family wasn’t really, I think for most of us, it, a healthy family also had a big social element to it. You know, a lot of times parenting can feel like a job and it can feel very isolating and it can be, you know, and you, you, you feel like you don’t have time to do stuff that even, even socially, that, that actually is really important for your kids.
For you to have social relationships and to, and to feel like you can make the right choices quickly. And the other thing about it was actually choice. We had all these people who we knew were making a lot of choices at this point in their life. They had started a new family. They’re making choices about where to live and what to buy and what car to drive and, and what, and what to do for their, what choices to make for.
Their children and what their children needed. And because they have so many choices, they’re calling all their friends, right. They’re calling their friends are calling, their parents are asking for advice. They’re just trying to make these decisions and get a framework and a list together and all of that stuff and having a community where you can go and just openly ask these questions like, Hey, I’m a new person.
What do you guys think it’s a crowdsourcing in our community has become incredibly valuable, you know, to, to get recommendations. And that’s the way we approach it now is how do we crowdsource? Like what do people care about? You know, what recommendations would all of these, these people make? And if you had hundreds of thousands of people that you could ask instead of just two or three, and we could get all the best recommendations and pull them all together in one place, that would be pretty valuable.
I think to our customer base, I know to
[00:33:27] Stephanie: understand your user, you really get to like, hear what they have to say, but. Sending a survey or something. So
[00:33:35] Sarah: an amazing, I think one of the biggest learnings has been there. Hasn’t been a real networker, a destination where family is the theme. You know, when you think about social networks today, there isn’t a theme of family.
You know, there are about friendship, which is more Facebook or there about career, which is more LinkedIn or there about, you know, the image and, and your artistry, which is more Instagram, Tik, TOK. Or entertainment, I guess, is more Tik TOK these days, but there isn’t one where you can just come and like be a, be a mom or be a dad.
And, and, and that’s, that’s what you talk about. And generally speaking, when you’re not talking about your job, if you are a parent, that is what you’re doing, talking about.
that wonderful place where you just get to emote about your children. And this is that that really, really safe place. And I think that that was where. We all sort of fell in love with this idea of community and connecting these families and allowing them that moment to, to build those friendships around a topic that is frankly, most important for them.
[00:34:33] Stephanie: Well, to wrap things kind of up, I have a few final of my own kind of curiosity. You have three kids. How do you manage to spend time with either all three or them separately with everything? Like, do you have any special, like traditions rituals you do in order to stay present with like each of your kid to give them like you time.
[00:34:52] Sarah: So my oldest son is very athletic, so he tends to get a lot of dad time because it’s, it’s the, it’s the athletic version. But, you know, I, I do sign up to be kind of a soccer mom. We, we sort of divide and conquer on sports and that’s really, it’s really important to him.
So, uh, sports and he’s also really artistic and that, that probably comes from my genetic, my gene pool. So when we try to find something kind of artistic and he loves to show off kind of what he creates and makes. So that’s really my, my time with him.
My middle son is just a chatter box. He loves to entertain. And so for him, you just need to give him a forum to do it. He’ll do anything you ask. As long as he kind of gets full attention. He’s really kind of that one-on-one attention guy.
And then my daughter gets to do a lot of girly stuff. So she gets a lot of the mom girl time. And we really look for those activities where she can really focus on something that she enjoys because the third gets dragged everywhere because the other two have a lot more going on. So we really try to carve out a few moments for her.
Interestingly enough, like they’re all different. So some of them want to be on the go all the time. Others are more homebody. So it’s like, they all have their own way. So I don’t feel like each one of them is always go, go, go.
And then we usually try to spend time together as a family and plan. My kids love vacations. So they love to be a part of the planning of all of that. Just finding those moments when we can all come together and have a little, have a little fun together. It’s usually like the, the all-inclusive time.
[00:36:15] Stephanie: And are you a morning person or an evening person?
[00:36:17] Sarah: Oh my gosh. I am definitely evening my energy is better in the morning, but I hate getting out of bed. So I do get up well, because I have kids, I get up at six. But if I, you know, sometimes even earlier, if I need to get a little work done, but, but I hate it. If I could get up, I choose like nine o’clock with the, the chairman’s hour.
If you will. I would choose that if that were going to be my real wake up time.
[00:36:41] Stephanie: Aww well, to wrap things up, I wanted to also ask, what do you think is your superpower that you gained once you became a mom that made you better in either business or life?
[00:36:50] Sarah: Oh my gosh. My super power. I think I was always pretty and I think most people would describe me as being pretty self-aware. But I think the thing that I really started to do once I became a parent was my oh, and I always loved making decisions. I was absolutely just a decision-maker. I think that’s probably. And I’ve moved me up. The ladder early in my career was yep. I’ll make that decision. I had no, I had no issue with making a decision.
But between being self-aware and making decisions somehow, I don’t think that I was really great before becoming a mom at true self-reflection. At really taking a step back and saying, is this important enough for me to spend time on. How might this impact my kids?
And as I started to reflect really heavily on how might this impact my children? Like, what are all these choices going to do for them? I started to apply that I think in my career in a big way. So now it was, now it’s more of should we be spending time here? What is the ultimate outcome that we’re trying to go for?
Are, is anybody learning anything? Are we excited? You know, is this benefiting us in any way? And sometimes I walk into a meeting and if it doesn’t start the right way, all of those things start to go through my head. And I started to think, wow, you know, this is, I, I really need to go back and think some more, you know?
And, and so I think self-reflection has been I’ve maybe wouldn’t call it a super power because I’m a lifelong learner. So I don’t think of myself as having. You know, anything that’s really, truly perfect, but I do think that that has been a big shift in how I approach work. And it’s been inspired by being a parent.
[00:38:21] Stephanie: Amazing. So where can we find you actually online?
[00:38:25] Sarah: Oh my goodness. I think it’s, um, I forget my hashtag now. I think it’s, I think it’s Nanit Sarah at the moment. I’m not as active on Twitter. I would really love to change that a little bit more because I know it’s more of a conversation vehicle. LinkedIn is a popular spot for me with just Sarah McCullum Dorsett so I still have my sort of full name out there.
And then, you know, I can be reached through a lot of different channels at Nanit. So, you know, it’s, it’s, I’m pretty easy to find.
[00:38:51] Stephanie: Amazing. Well, thank you so much for taking time today. It was a wonderful, just chat with you.
[00:38:57] Sarah: It was great. It was so nice to meet you. This was such an inspiring conversation.
[00:39:01] Stephanie: Thank you for being open and honest. I appreciate it.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of mommy’s on a call. Your support means the absolute world. To me. You can find the show notes for this episode and other goodies over at mommy’s on a call.com.
And if you enjoyed this episode or have gotten value from the podcast, I would be so grateful if you could head on over to apple podcasts and leave a rating and review so that we can reach unempower. All over the world together. Thank you so much again, mommy pod, and I will see you here next time.