Coldsmoke Founder Series: Emily Lancaster Co-Founder of Nurture&

We are happy to share with you the highlights from our founder series guest, Emily Lancaster, Co-Founder of Nurture&.

Nurture& worked closely with real parents to design a top-of-the- line nursery glider. Featuring smooth glide, adjustable power functionality, stain-resistant fabric, non-toxic material, extra padded cushions and built-in USB charger.

Mark: Hi, Emily. How are you? 

Emily: I'm well. How are you 

Mark: Doing well, it is a pleasure to see you as always. Thank you so much for agreeing to chat with me on the second installation of Coldsmoke founder series. 

For those who don't know me, I'm Mark. I'm the founder of Coldsmoke Creative. We're a Shopify plus agency, and I'm excited to have Emily Lancaster here, who is the co founder of Nurture& 

Emily: Nice. Thank you for having me.

Mark: You are so welcome. The pleasure is all mine. So for those who don't know, Nurture&, and is a are you a startup still, would you say? 

Emily: Yeah, we're a startup. We're a startup, but we are mainly a direct to consumer baby and kids furniture brand. 

Mark: Yes. So you're filling up the whole, the whole nursery started originally with the, the crib or No, with the glider.


Emily: Yep, yep. Yep. And then we launched. So we're still relatively young. We're about two and a half years old, but we launched with just the glider. And then from there we've designed and come out with the crib and dresser. So we basically create design and produce nursery furniture. And then from there on, we aim to be the destination for all your nursery and kids furniture needs.

Mark: Great. And we'll jump into all of that in a second. But first, I thought it'd be helpful if we could just jump into like your background and your experience leading up to co founding Nurture&. 

Emily: Yeah, would love to. I, have been in the so it's funny I've been in the startup world for the majority of my career and then on top of that I've been in the furniture world like as you know for the majority of my career as well, but I co founded a company called Havenly Which does online interior design.

So, you know, for a flat fee, we'll design your space for us. And then you buy all the furniture through us as well. So I co founded that company almost 10 years ago with my sister who still runs it. I then went to business school at Wharton and then I started Nurture& with a friend of mine. 

You know, we launched two and a half years ago, but we've been working on this business for about three to four years now.

So the majority of my career has been in, like, effectively direct to consumer or consumer facing, I suppose. And then I just happened to find this love of furniture, I suppose. You know, nice chunky AOVs and stuff like that. So that's, that's also been where I focused the majority of my career as well. 

Mark: Yeah and when you started Nurture&, I thought it was so interesting that there was that crossover from your previous experience at Havenly. And I think I was, If not the first customer, I was one of the first customers. 

Emily: Do you remember we said that? We were so poor. We were so cheap, too. I think I found, like, a photographer on TaskRabbit to send to your It was a bachelor pad in Seattle.

Mark: Essentially.

Emily: Yeah and then we used it for our hero image on our website for a really long time. But I think that TaskRabbit was like 80 years, like, wasn't there a funny story behind that? Like, I don't know who this photographer was, and we're just like, here, take some photos 

for us. 

Mark: But they clearly did a nice job, I mean, hero imagery, turned out great.

Emily: Yeah, that was like back, that was 10 years ago, that was 2013, when we did that. So thank you for that. 

Mark: You're welcome. I'm waiting for the royalty checks in the mail 

Emily: I wonder if I have the screenshot of that hero image. But yeah, that was that was back in the day You know what when we launched Havenly 10 years ago Shopify. 

Obviously Havenly is different because it's a custom platform and it's not necessarily direct to consumer Like, what Shopify provides today, but it is so funny.

You had to kind of, everything was so customized and it wasn't as simple for non developer as it is today, if you will. 

Mark: Right. 

Emily: But yeah, I was thinking about that the other day. That's pretty funny. I still remember the stripes 

Mark: Yeah of the quill.

Emily: Yep. Yep. Yep. 

Mark: And I have a very nice picture of my dog Randy sitting on that front.

I don't know if it was from the photo shoot or if it was just something I did shot by iPhone, but yeah, it was great. It made, it was a great experience. It made that quote unquote bachelor pad. It was like a shared house with two other guys. And it made my room really elevate, I think prior to Havenly. I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor. 

Emily: Yeah, so at least we got you off the floor. 

Mark: So it was a major upgrade. 

Emily: Yeah, there you go. So funny. 

Mark: Oh, look at us now.

Emily: I know. Oh, man. Well, gosh, 10 years goes by fast.

Mark: Goes by fast.

So, you know, to that point, a lot has happened in 10 years. Havenly grew was very successful, raised a lot of money still is very successful. And in that 10 years, you know, you've moved on from that business went to business school, started this new business started a family.

 I know that Nurture&, you know, in addition to your experience at Havenly, you know, in the furniture business, so to speak, furniture and design, Nurture& was founded for parents by parents.

And your first product, which is your award winning glider What was like, what was your unique insight or when did you decide that there was a gap in the market to create that product and that, and the brand itself? 

And how long did it take from like, Ideation to like actual launch and what was that process like?

Emily: Yeah. No, that's a great question. I think you know through my experience at Havenly as well Just seeing all these other direct to consumer like sofa brands pop up or like, you know Even like Casper was doing like bedroom furniture and all this stuff. 

But nothing really existed in the nursery category, and the reason that was so pertinent to me, and the reason I noticed it more, was because I was in the process of having my first child, and seeing what my friends were buying, and it was just so interesting.

You know, a lot of people anecdotally would be like, oh, like a glider is really important for your nursery, that's where you spend so much time in the first six months, because that's where you're like rocking your baby, and like feeding your baby when they're up every two hours, and all that stuff.

But everyone had the question of like, Oh, what's the best glider on the market? Right. Like, or where do you get yours from? Or like all these things. Right. And so that kind of got the wheel spinning in the sense that like, that is so interesting that that is one of the most expensive pieces in the nursery.

You know, the average price is like a thousand dollars and yet no brand existed. That really was the ultimate version of it. Like we had seen in so many other verticals. And so that kind of was like the convergence of everything, like my knowledge of the furniture brands out there and the fact that there was this white space around the nursery in general.

And then kind of getting into it with the way that my life stage was happening and all my friends were having babies and seeing what they were buying and like, you know, they were going to all these different brands and things along those lines, and there was no one centralized place to really buy those pieces 

And that's kind of like, you know where we started thinking through this we chose the gliders kind of the Trojan horse to get into the nursery just because we felt like it was a really overlooked product and when we looked at the market back when we started this whole thing really the gliders that were on the market were just effectively like modifications of existing living room furniture or you know, they weren't like basic things, right?

Like they didn't have stain resistant fabrics, like any mother or any like father would tell you who has a newborn that like you need stain resistant fabric. That's such a basic thing, but it was crazy how that wasn't really like the norm on the market, right?

And so that kind of helped, you know, start the process of ideation and of like designing the chair itself.

So the way that we went from ideation to really launching is we started with the product. We always knew, especially as a direct to consumer brand, we needed to have like a high quality product. We opted for premium and really nice materials versus going More mass, I would say, but that was kind of the decision we made in the beginning.

And we interviewed hundreds of moms and dads to come up with that list of features that we thought were the most important for the glider that we came out with. And that was kind of it. Like, we really focused a lot in the first , call it almost a year on designing the perfect chair for the nursery. 

 So that took about a year and then this thing happened called COVID. 

Mark: I've heard of this. 

Emily: Yeah, yeah, the pandemic, I suppose. So we were supposed to launch in, I want to say, January 2020 or, sorry, February 2020? Or, sometime around, you know, right when COVID, the pandemic started, right?

Like, we were going to start, like, pre orders and things along those lines, and You know, unfortunately, our products are made overseas and all of these things and we were waiting for the container and it just kept getting delayed, delayed, delayed. So we ended up launching the summer of 2020, but in a completely different environment, which actually was beneficial to us because people weren't going into stores at all.

 So as a direct consumer brand, you always hope that people will make the leap of faith, especially with the furniture piece of purchasing something online that they haven't tried like you always have to kind of grapple with that but with the pandemic what was nice is like none of our competitors who might have had brick and mortar stores like no one was going into their stores either.

So we did have that going for our advantage when we launched but then on the flip side we also had supply chain issues, you know, it was it was a chaotic time. So And it kind of evens out, but that was kind of the process and in the launch, if you will. 

Mark: Yeah. So a couple of big obstacles to getting off the ground.

It sounds like you did a lot of customer development which is, is great. How do you take that? Like for me, it seems like a big step to take that information and then figure out how to build a chair. 

Emily: Yeah. 

Mark: Cause to my knowledge, you don't, you and your co founder don't have any furniture design experience. How did you all take what you learned from the feedback from customers and actually turn that into a product? 

Emily: Well, we got really lucky because we actually partnered up with a big sourcing company, big manufacturing company who I knew through a friend of mine from business school, actually.

And so we were able to really lean on their expertise. We had a lot of people and then we also worked with the designer that I need to my hate Lee days, so we were able to really like us as non designers were really able to synthesize. Okay, let me take this customer's research. Let me boil it down to like brass tax and, like, figure out exactly what the functions of this chair were and kind of aesthetically what we wanted as well, But then we did have a great support system to really translate that.

I will say that for my, you know, call it the majority of my career being around furniture and being around design. Obviously, I can't design anything on paper, but we did have a very strong point of view. And then again, I'm a consumer, right? Like, people always say, build something that you need, or whatever, but like, this is the chair I was building for myself, effectively, and the, the bet, and the, you know, the bet was there was enough people like me out there.

They're right, but I think the nice thing about us is that customer feedback loop that like, again, some of the bigger guys don't have and really being able to like tap into that. So one thing I'll say is immediately when we put our original glider on the market, we would start collecting data from customers who purchased and customers who didn't purchase.

And that really informed all of our next product categories. So right now we have four. Gliders on the market. We launched with just one, but then we developed three additional ones based on customer feedback. Which again, like us as a startup is really helpful because we're able to be nimble and we're really able to synthesize that and put that into product development.

But that's the benefit of being, you know, a small company, a startup, if you will. 

Mark: Right. Cause. You and your co founder are the ones reading that feedback and then you can just directly go to the manufacturer and be like, Hey, we need to add X, Y, and Z features to our next product, which I imagine at your unnamed competitors is a six month process.

Emily: Exactly. Yeah. So again, we've only been out for two and a half years, but if you look at our glider category, we have four of them out there. We have like a ton of additional products, considering we only launched with one hero product, two and a half years ago, all of that has really been based on the information we get from customers.

Mark: That's great. When you, when you did launch, I know you had all those supply chain issues, but how did you initially market and promote Nurture& to, and to build that first customer base? 

Emily: Yeah, so I would say two things. First, the baby space in general, and you know this, you're a dad, like, it's so recommendation driven, right, like, even, you know, when I was pregnant, my friend sent me like an Excel spreadsheet of all the things she bought, right, like, it's so analog, it's so old school, like, you're constantly asking friends, so we knew that, right, so we knew we had to have a really, really, really good product that people would recommend.

And I know it's hacky, and I know everyone says, oh, word of mouth, but like, truly in the baby space, it has to be word of mouth driven. And so what we did initially, obviously a lot of the like initial conversions were friends of friends or things along those lines. We also did invest in paid marketing.

I would argue that like Google and Facebook and Instagram is a big, was a big pillar and remains a big pillar of how we acquire customers. But then I just want to flag that like. You know, reviews really important to us. People referring to our to their friends was really important to us. And also we launched at a time where like Furniture was chaotic, right?

Like it was like 52 weeks to get a sofa Like all this stuff, right? So we were able to kind of make through.

Listen we had some wait times but nothing compared to our competitors so I think that really helped us break through as well in terms of messaging free shipping free returns again very unheard of in furniture 

It's unheard of in traditional furniture. Startups do that all the time, but we were able to message that again, break through kind of the noise. So I think a combination of those things really helped with the initial acquisition. And then now, you know, obviously we're a little bit more well known and we have these awards and like all this other stuff, but I think in the, in the beginning, that was kind of like the big things that kind of got the name out.

Mark: Yeah, and now that you are a little bit more well known, how do you continue to make sure that Nurture&e stands out against your competitors? 

Emily: Yeah, I mean, like, this is so cheesy, but like, continue to have a great product that is still going to be recommended. Right. And then additionally, just making sure like, you know, our big thing is, can we have a very curated set of items that really serve your needs?

So making sure everything we do and everything we put out there. And the customer actually needs right? So for example, we were hearing from our glider customers that like, oh, like, I just want one place where we can buy like all the big nursery pieces, which is why we came out with our crib and changing table.

And now we're one of the only places I think that you can buy all three of those big anchor pieces for your nursery and you get a discount as well. And it's just like, okay, I Did it. I'm done. Check off my mark off my to do list if you will. And then obviously like digital paid is still a big thing Influencers is is interesting.

It's bit it's not as big as I would argue some other companies like some clothes companies and stuff like that just because Furniture is more expensive to gift. It's more expensive to get places, right? So, you know, we do have influencers who help us get the name out and then really just like affiliate marketing and stuff along the lines.

But I truly think that like having a really good product, like you can do everything else, but just making sure, especially in the baby and kid space, that it is something that people are talking about with their friends and their families and things along those lines is really important for sure. 

Mark: I want to jump back to like customer development and getting feedback from customers because I think it helped inform your initial launch.

And then it seems like you have these tight review cycles to figure out what additional features do we need to add?

What additional products do we need to add to our lineup? What's the actual mechanism for getting customer feedback. Is there a tool that you're using? Are you using surveys?

Do you meet internally to review it? Like what's the actual process if there is one or is it just like anecdotally we're seeing these emails come through customer service 

Emily: Yeah, so I personally read every review and I actually read every customer email that comes in much to the detriment of my productivity. Like I'll do an audit every month of like every email just to flag what comes up. And that's the on the anecdotal basis. We do have reviews, right? So we get a lot of information from there. And then we also do a once a year customer survey, which we'll be doing in a few weeks, but we did it last year as well.

And basically we asked, Customers, you know, we kind of dive into, like, marketing messaging for the items that they did bought, buy. But then also, like, why didn't she buy our other products, right? What was it, right? And those surveys are really interesting for us and we try to do it, like, to maintain the fidelity on a regular basis.

I assume now, especially that we're getting bigger, we'll probably do it twice a year. But still, we're small enough where I know like every customer question, I know every like review that comes in. And obviously you can't take one anecdote, but especially when things bubble up and you're seeing numerous questions of, Oh, I wish it had this.

I wish I had this. And you're getting multiples of that. Like that's something interesting to kind of look into for sure. 

Mark: Yeah. What tools are you using for that, like for the customer survey and for reviews?

Emily: So for reviews, we use Yotpo. 

Mark: Shout out to Yotpo. 

Emily: Yeah. And then for customer service, we just do type form, like, pretty manual analog type thing.

And then I spoke to so last year, when we did the customer survey, I also had in depth conversations with about 10 customers as well. And that survey a year ago was really focused on the glider because we were trying to figure out how to make it how to make that better. This year, now that we have more products for the first time, I think it'll be even more interesting to see like, you know, all the different levers that we want to figure out based on customers and what they say.

Mark: Yeah. How are you capturing information from people who didn't buy and when you do track them down and they agree to speak with you? 

Is your first question, how dare you? 

Emily: Yeah, no. 

So when I say when they don't buy, it's really like someone who bought a glider but didn't buy like a crib and dresser, right?

Like, I'm not, unfortunately, I don't know if I can go after people who don't, I mean maybe you could but you kind of want to. But, you know, anecdotally, I also have friends who didn't buy. Right. So I can get some of that anecdotal information, but from like an actual survey and like, you know, data mining perspective. When I say don't buy, it's really focusing on, Oh, you bought this piece, but why didn't you buy the rest of the suite?

 Cause that's a big strategy for us moving forward.

Mark: Right. Well, I think it speaks volumes to. To you as a person that you are still friends with the people who did not buy your product. They went elsewhere. So, I mean, kudos to you. 

Emily: You were one of them. Didn't you just have a kid? Don't you want a glider?

Mark: We already, we already had one. We had one pre Nurture& launch. Or maybe it was your supply chain issues. I don't know. No, we already, we already had one. And I wish that we, that we had one of yours because ours is, is very not fancy. It doesn't have any charging capabilities. I don't think it has stain proof.

 I actually don't even know if we have, I think we've given it away. We're still upset with it, but then we didn't get a new one. 

So I'm digging myself in a hole.

Maybe if a discount code comes our way for, for the next one. 

So at what point, like, so it was you and your, and your co founder Roberto, who founded the company.

And I think that you've done a very good job, I think mostly because of Roberto staying pretty lean throughout the growth of the company. But I know you've made some hires recently. 

What was sort of the the turning point or the, the metric or the milestone that you reached to start investing in team members and start growing the team?

Emily: Yeah, so we were two people until a year ago, less than a year ago. So we were two, just the two of us, co founders, and obviously we used agencies, we used some contractors, like, but we really hacked it together. Until Q2 of 2022. So then at a point, right? Like you start thinking through, okay, what, what, what does it look like?

But we always really did want to stay super lean, right? Like we didn't want to raise a ton of money. We wanted to have like a really tight. Team. We have a lot of great partners. Obviously, our relationship with our manufacturing team is really strong as well. So we had them to really be able to rely on.

And so, you know, we Again, still have a really tight team, but we do have, for example, like some core competencies, like we just want on a paid marketing e commerce head, right? Because there's points where you just know that like someone who might know more can really optimize for it. 

Actually, you introduced us to one of our first hires indirectly. I think you introduced me to her husband. Nikki who runs brand marketing because obviously we're a brand and like at a point you need someone to start thinking through that on a holistic basis so you know I think again compared to a lot of startups out there we do run pretty lean and we intend to for the rest of the life of the business, if you will.

But again, between Roberto and I, I think like we're very different, but we have different specializations. So we were able to kind of like, there wasn't much overlap in terms of what we do, I suppose. 

Like what he's good at is just not what I'm good at and what I'm good at, you know, it's, it's, so it's nice because we were able to kind of like do a lot within the two of us But yeah, I would just argue that we like to keep it lean, you know, like, yeah, you know, And the world has just shifted like again when I mentioned about Havenly like now with all these tools, right?

Like, like a Shopify, like, like, you know, there's like this tech stack that every direct to consumer startup does and yeah It's not like you still need someone to be able to like understand I don't understand it. But like now things have become easier to like change on the back end, that was not the case 10 years ago.

Right? Like, you don't need a developer when you're constantly like when you're changing something on the homepage anymore, right? You can figure it out and learn it yourself. So I do think that, you know, in 2023, it has become I would say, like, the hurdle to starting a direct to consumer business or starting a website or whatever has just become a lot lower than it was, call it, ten years ago.

There's still other issues and still other things that make it a lot more difficult, but I would just say in terms of standing up the business, it has become, like, the tools are just, you know, bar none, especially compared to, like, the last business I started. 

Mark: Right, where everything was custom, 

Emily: like, yeah, I mean, was even I think, you know, like Mailchimp was around, but like, Klaviyo, definitely, maybe it was, but I, you know, I just didn't know about it, like all these things, right?

Like, all these tools, I just feel like in the past four to five years have kind of blown up. And what's really nice is they could, they may, they build it for people like me, like non technical people and the user interface is really easy and all that stuff like that was just not the case. You know, a few short years back, right?

Mark: Right. So what does, what does like your backend stack and your marketing stack, what does that look like? And are there any tools or call outs of specific things that you can't, you don't think you could live without? 

Emily: I mean, I think it's like the typical, like, we don't do anything like that creative, right?

So it's like the typical, you know, obviously Shopify and then Klaviyo for emails and then, you know, Attentive for text messages and then, yeah, but for reviews, like, I feel like every kind of company has this, like, 

Mark: the starter pack, the D2C apps and services starter pack. 

Emily: Yeah, exactly. Right. Like, it's just, it's just funny because it's, five years ago, 10 years ago, right? That wasn't the case. 

You would have to like, it was just a lot harder to integrate everything. So that's kind of like the bread and butter. 

I'm trying to think of what else, but like, honestly, Shopify, like the app store or whatever, it's just so nice and easy to discover stuff. But yeah, I, I would already like, I see emails come through from other direct to consumer companies and you can kind of tell they're all using the same, the same.

Mark: Yeah. Are there any tools that you wish existed that you haven't found a great solution for yet? 

Emily: That's really interesting. I'm sure, you know, the thing that we worked with you guys on like upgrades and like bundles and stuff like that would be cool, like a better app for that instead of having to do that custom.

I don't think really existed or I, I don't know. I don't think like something very strong exists there. I know there are some apps that do this, like on the checkout for example, like really upgrade you or like 

Mark: Upsells.

Emily: Yeah, upsells. And we've looked like we buy I think is one that we were talking about, but like, we haven't started using that just yet.

But stuff like that I think is really top of mind just getting like how to increase the AOV and how to increase my customer's cart size is really top of mind for me, right? So anything to make that easier without having to go custom would be great. I'm trying to think of what else we also sell on Amazon.

And I do wish the Amazon seller app was a little bit easier to understand. It's not the best, but yeah, I mean, you know.

Mark: How's the experience of growing a business? Where you're, you know, you're relying or you're, you're trying to get as many sales as possible on your D2C brand. For all the obvious reasons you keep, you know, your margins are better.

You get, you own the customer. But you can't compete with Amazon's traffic. Like and they're a search engine like a lot of people start their buyer journey on amazon, I talked to Michael about this as well of Piper Golf and Pckl because they have an amazon business as well. 

How much time do you spend focusing on the amazon side of your business versus the shopify D2C version of your business?

Emily: I would say we do the majority of our time on the shopify Direct to consumer business, but what's nice about amazon is it's not like we use it as a discovery tool, and obviously people do transact, like you said, just the number of people that are on it. Also, for us, we're targeting pregnant people, and as I'm sure you remember, like, the amount, even if you're, like, Kim Kardashian, I'm sure she's spending time on Amazon buying diapers, right?

Like, you could be the most bougie person, and you're still on Amazon for your, you know, when you're pregnant. For like some of that stuff, right? So our, our customer really lives on Amazon. So that's how we see it. But yeah, I mean, I think the thing with Amazon versus like Nurture& is you constantly have to like breathe life into this brand that's living on my website and like figuring out like.

Changing the marketing messaging and making sure everything's aligned and like the creative and stuff, right? Whereas on Amazon it is It is more transactional, right? it's like really based on reviews and like really based on like Obviously the stuff that amazon takes care of right like the two day shipping and the returns and stuff like that Like they already have that and then it's really focusing on reviews and stuff like that So I would argue we spend a little bit a lot more time on our brand itself, but they feed into each other like someone might discover Nurture& from like a branded ad, right?

But then they go on Amazon because it has the prime shipping and they just don't want to deal with it. Right. 

So they kind of live together if you will. But Amazon is more of like a, I don't want to say set it and forget it, but it is just like, it's a different beast. It's not as like brand focused.

You're not worried about, all the things that you worry about that you pour into on your directed consumer website. 

Mark: Right. And I don't want to say it's like a necessary evil because that makes it sound maybe a little bit more evil, but it does seem like it's an important if you're, if you're going to use fulfillment by Amazon anyways, to take advantage of their fulfillment capabilities, it seems like it's at least worth a test to, to grow a presence on Amazon just because they have so much volume.

Emily: My customer is living there regardless, right? Like when you're pregnant, you're on Amazon shot. Like, even if you're not going to buy the glider from there, you could discover us through there. Right. So I just think like, again, 10 years ago, like people, Amazon was like, Oh my gosh, if you're a direct to consumer brand, you cannot be on Amazon.

Cause it'll dilute your brand. I don't think that's the case anymore and you see it, , a bunch of these guys are selling on Amazon nowadays, right? Like. I think Casper and you know, a bunch of the startups and stuff. So it really just has become, we see it as like a brand discovery and also a conversion tool for us for sure.

Mark: Yeah. How do you personally stay up to date on like trends and changes in the e commerce industry? Are there any newsletters you read? Are you going to conferences, podcasts? How do you stay up to date? Is it just the day to day running? 

Emily: Yeah. I just cluster you on what to do. I am not very trendy. I do have a few a few like directed consumer newsletters.

I'll have to see what exactly they are. I used to listen to Nick Sharma, has a good podcast that he runs with a guy from who founded Native, the deodorant company. So I like to listen to them just because I'm not a big podcast person, but sometimes they bring on people who have done it. And what I like about them is they're also really focused on.

Like the way that we run our business, which is direct to consumer with raising very little capital. Understanding that a direct to consumer business is not a sas business So you cannot raise money that way you cannot run your business that way like you do have to pay attention to unit economic like things like that, right?

So they're not one of those Their point of view is very similar to ours. So I do learn a lot from them. I think Sharma also has a newsletter that I'll read as well. And then we have two really great advisors that we really lean on one who's like, was the CEO and also the president of like a major baby category brand

So we really lean on her for trends and things along those lines especially industry specific in the juvenile space and then our other advisor is more, you know, he exited a direct to consumer business, right? So he we lean on him for like, okay What did you do for x y and z in the actual like conversion world?

Whereas, you know, our first advisor is really industry specific. So we kind of have that to support us. But then I also try to like, you know, trends are so funny because like, you know, one day everyone's telling me that I need to be on Clubhouse and then the next day, like, Clubhouse is gone, right?

Mark: Clubhouse doesn't exist. 

Emily: Yeah, so like, and I'm old, like, I'm like, you know, maybe five years ago I'd be like more, you know, trendy, but I like to see how things play out. Obviously, like, TikTok is here to stay, but like, the Clubhouse example is a great one of like, oh, everyone was like, you need to like, figure out how to and it just. You know, it goes away. 

So I like to see how things shake out a little bit. You know, maybe that's not the best in terms of like being a cutting edge, direct to consumer business. But I tend to, you know, I like to learn, but then just see what works for us as a business for sure. 

Mark: Yeah. What what was the original inspiration for creating a board of advisors and, and have you gotten everything you've wanted out of it?

And has it kind of been a surprise maybe how effective it's been? Because I think creating board, like a board of advisors is a potentially underutilized tool or people might think like, Oh, we're too small for this. We don't, we don't need a board. Like what, what are sort of the, the thought process behind getting that set up and then how have you leveraged it and how has it had an impact?

Emily: Yeah. So a year ago or a year and a half ago, I remember we're like, we just need people to bounce ideas off of, because, you know, we were two people for a really long time, so sometimes you can be in like an. echo chamber, if you will, or like you just need like a third person to be a tiebreaker sometimes, right?

So we went out with the distinct purpose of finding, you know, two to three people that we were actually going to utilize. So yeah, they're on our cap table. Yeah. They have like some whatever, but we wanted to make sure that we were actually using them. Right. So we, I had like categories, right. I wanted to direct a consumer.

I wanted a baby category expert. I wanted a baby category expert and those were kind of the two worlds that and if someone was both, that's great, right? But really we just kind of like went out there. I asked my entire network for intros, like all that stuff, right? And just kind of try to find people we would jive with, but also people who would be willing.

To give us the time right, because a lot of time an advisor can be, you know, more in name than in function, and that is not what we wanted, because we're also very stingy with the way we think about equity, so we wanted to make sure we were giving, you know, we were getting what we needed, right? So, I would argue that in the past call it year like we have twice a month meetings where we come up with agendas and we're like like we are very we use that time well and we're very focused on it and really for us as a small team it's just nice to have like an external sounding board right and who've done it before.

Look, like, things change, right? Things change quickly, so what might have worked three years ago might not work now, but like, you know, these people are best in class in their industries and in their careers, if you will, so it's nice to have that to really pick their brain. 

Mark: Definitely. I think it's a great tool, and especially as you have a small team to get out of your echo chamber.

Emily: Yeah, exactly. 

Mark: I'm going to ask one more question and and then we'll let you go. But what's one thing that you think brands should start doing that they're not doing? And what's one thing you think they should stop doing with their e com businesses? 

Emily: One thing that they should. Start doing I mean, I think we we sometimes do this as well but I think we've done a really good job of trying to focus like I will argue that like sometimes I see brands and I get very overwhelmed with their product categories in the sense that potentially they're trying to do too much at once, right?

Like let's say I started off with just like a coffee company and then all of a sudden I'm also selling like CBD tea I don't know. That's a terrible example But like we've we've been guilty of like, oh like we've seen this other company do this Maybe we should do this and it doesn't really make sense for our category or brand or whatever but we've you know, we've And then you have to like, spend time developing a product, and then it just doesn't land, even though it's a good product, but like really thinking through why every product that you launch, like, what is the reason for existing?

And what is the reason for existing for your customer? Like there could be other companies that sell that same product or whatever, and are really successful, but you have to think about like what your core competencies are, and really, really, really focus. I really am a fan of like tight curated product assortments just because like I think the days of like the endless scrolling like yeah there's companies that do that 

But like as a direct to consumer startup you want to have like a really tight set a curated set in a story that like people can really buy into so I would say that's like one thing I think we're focusing on and that we've been guilty of in the past of like throwing a bunch of shit at customers, that doesn't really make sense, right?

And then the one thing, sorry, I don't know what that was, what they should stop doing, I guess.

Mark: That would work for both. You should start being focused and you should stop being unfocused. 

Emily: Yes, there you go.

Mark: We'll call it a two for one. Yeah, there you go. You get two birds stoned at once, as they say.

Well, perfect. That's a great, a great thing, a great place to end on. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat. Always great catching up with you. And congrats on, on the success at Nurture&. And it's just been really cool to see you and Roberto start with, you know, the one, the one glider and grow like you have been.

Emily: Yeah. And more to come, especially in 2023. 

Mark: Anything you want to share that you're really excited about with Nurture& coming up in 2023. 

Emily: We just have a bunch of fun products that I think will really expand our brand and expand the category in ways that we haven't done in the past. And really just like building upon, you know, the success that we've had at the Glider and really portraying that and kind of pulling that over into the next products that we have.

I'm just excited about that and then I'm just excited, you know, I'm having another kid so I can get all the free products, right? 

Mark: Congratulations. 

Emily: Yeah. So I get to, I get to not worry about my nursery furniture because, you know, I can steal some stuff from the warehouse.

Mark: From the warehouse. 

Emily: Exactly.

Mark: And where can The dozens of people tuning in right now, find find your products.

Emily: Yeah, so you can find us on Amazon and then obviously on our direct to consumer website, Nurture&, N U R T U R E & dot com and then we do also sell on BabyList, so if you're building your registry, you can add us to your registry for other folks to buy but that's kind of where you can find us.

Mark: Amazing. Nice plug. We'll edit out the Amazon part. Just go straight to Nurture&. com. You can get bundles, save a little bit of money. The shipping is going to be great. Don't worry about it. Just as seamless as Amazon. 

Emily: Exactly. And 30 day return. So you can return any, like if you don't love your furniture, you can return it. No stress. 

Mark: No stress. Stress free. Perfect. Well, thank you so much, Emily. Talk to you soon. 

Emily: Bye.

Back to blog


Coldsmoke Founder Series: Cara Oppenheimer Co-Founder of goodbuy.

Coldsmoke Founder Series: Cara Oppenheimer Co-Founder of goodbuy.

| 42 min Read

We are happy to share with you the highlights from our founder series guest, Cara Oppenheimer, Co-Founder of goodbuy. goodbuy, an e-commerce platform, provides shoppers with small-business alternatives to major... Read More

Coldsmoke Founder Series: Cara Oppenheimer Co-Founder of goodbuy.

| 42 min Read

We are happy to share with you the highlights from our founder series guest, Cara Oppenheimer, Co-Founder of goodbuy. goodbuy,... Read More

Coldsmoke Founder Series: Drew Marconi CEO of Intelligems

Coldsmoke Founder Series: Drew Marconi CEO of Intelligems

| 36 min Read

We are happy to share with you the highlights from our founder series guest, Drew Marconi, CEO and Co-Founder at Intelligems. Intelligems is a suite of tools that empowers brands... Read More

Coldsmoke Founder Series: Drew Marconi CEO of Intelligems

| 36 min Read

We are happy to share with you the highlights from our founder series guest, Drew Marconi, CEO and Co-Founder at... Read More