Natalie Gordon is the founder and CEO of the most brilliant concept for moms who are registering: ONE place to register from all the stores you want! I know before I had Sophie there were things I wished I could add to the registry that were not from one store or another, and even for my second I would have loved to register for practical things like meal deliveries, monthly clothing plans, etc. Natalie felt the same so she created BabyList especially for people like us (which is everyone, I think). Thrilled to have her talk about life, balance and motherhood today.
What is your favorite thing about being a mother?
In the first couple of months, it was really hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that “I was a mom”. It was a huge change in self-identity. I obviously love Max with all my heart, and I’ve loved watching my husband become such a great dad. In the day-to-day, I love how excited Max (2) is about the little things. It makes me notice more. Airplanes, stickers on apples, dogs, tall trees, motorcycles, cranes are all things that we stop and notice. Seeing the world through a child’s eyes makes absolutely everything more interesting. He keeps on getting more and more fun. He’s crazy physical, loves to wrestle, play ball and he recently discovered stuffed animals.
What is your favorite part of your days and week?
I love my job. I love getting to work, turning on my computer and drinking my first cup of coffee. It’s usually after hours of morning chaos. The best part of the week is when we have our weekly weeknight dinner with friends who also have young children. We order in food and the kids sit at the kid’s table.
When do you feel most relaxed/content/peaceful?
When I'm hiking. We recently moved to San Francisco, and it’s so close to amazing day hikes. It’s the ultimate remedy to living in such an urban, work-filled environment. I also love a good date with my husband to enjoy drinks and dinner together.
What is BabyList?
BabyList is an online baby registry that helps expectant moms discover and ask for everything they need for their new baby. You can take a quiz and get a personalized baby registry checklist and then one-click to quick-start your registry.
What motivated you to start BabyList?
I was pregnant. I was creating my baby registry and I was completely overwhelmed. The thought of going into BabiesRUs with a scan gun gave me a panic attack. There were these things that I really wanted to ask for. For our family they were a diaper service, someone to watch our dog for a week or two, and home-cooked meals. I tried using about 3 different registries and they were all wrong.
I’m a software developer and I knew exactly what I thought the ideal baby registry experience would be. I met up with a designer online and we collaborated and created BabyList. We launched the site two weeks before my son was born.
Where were you working before you started your own company?
I worked at Amazon as a software developer out of college. My dream was always to quit and travel the world before having any children. So my husband and I did that in 2008. We spent a year and a half living in a couple of different cities in Latin America. During that time we started a Spanish-English language exchange start-up. Eventually, it became obvious that that business was never going to make money and we shut it down this past summer. It was a major learning experience.
When I had the inspiration for BabyList we were living in Vancouver BC. I was doing some contract work and working on our language-learning start-up. I have to say that I have very low aspirations for BabyList. I thought that it could maybe make some passive income for us. But once it launched, we had a handful of users and they were crazy about it. I was definitely nervous launching it, but that’s because putting anything out into the world is scary.
How do you balance your home/personal life and your work life?
I take it day by day and constantly prioritize and then re-prioritize. My husband and I aren’t afraid to try different arrangements and then see how things are working. Right now we have a staggered schedule, a great child-care arrangement, and we’ve gotten serious about having our parents come and stay with us and help out.
A year ago we spent two months living and working from Costa Rica, literally on the beach. Working on the internet has major pluses!
Do you have any tips for people starting their own businesses?
Two things. I talk to women all the time who are building a business and they feel like they have to do a million things to actually show it to the world. This is because launching things and putting them out for the world to see is really scary. You have to get past these emotions and realize that the sooner you put your project out there, the sooner you’ll start learning from real users. Or you won’t have any users and that will teach you something else.
The other thing is the power of doing one thing every day to move your business forward. If you do just one thing every single day, in a year you’ll have done a lot. Start today.
What has been your favorite opportunity or collaboration through BabyList?
BabyList was in the past 500 Startups batch. That was an amazing opportunity for me. It was really, really hard but it pushed me and BabyList forward. It was great being with other entrepreneurs from all over the world, who were incredibly passionate about what they were working on.
What makes you most proud of your business?
This is going to sound cliched, but I’m really proud of how happy we make our users. I love our users. They’re pregnant. They’re overwhelmed. I email or talk to them on the phone every day. BabyList is actually helping families and making people happy. I love that.
What is your style uniform?
Jeans, t-shirts, boots. My uniform needs to work on a bike, be easily washed and work in the SF climate.
What are your favorite Etsy shops and small businesses?
I literally look at amazing, original baby products all day: Sweet Pea and Tots - Kathy makes gorgeous, luxe, hand-knit baby hats. Wooly Baby - They make beautiful, soft-soled baby shoes that are upcycled from wool sweaters and leather jackets. Culture Baby is one of my favorite online store for original baby finds. Natalia sources the most wonderful baby products from all over the world.
What are your favorite brands and stores to shop?
Natalie thank you sooo much for letting us have a peek at your life, and for creating such a fabulous tool for expectant mothers! xoxo, Kate