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Stoweyjoey: A Mompreneur Follows Her Passion in Pursuit of Profit
  • 28 July 2016
  • Bonnie Stack

Stoweyjoey: A Mompreneur Follows Her Passion in Pursuit of Profit

At The UPS Store, we support small business owners every day. Whether it’s marketing, business planning, logistics or simply connecting them with fellow entrepreneurs, The UPS Store is here to help. One such business owner is Marcella Dominguez, founder of StoweyJoey, a modern, all-in-one toy bag, nap mat and waterproof pad. When she attended an event hosted by Entrepreneur Magazine and The UPS Store earlier this summer, she did not realize the impact the event would have on her business and her life.

Dominguez, a native of El Paso, Texas, has always had a curious, entrepreneurial spirit. While pursuing law as her first career, she also became a mom. She wanted a career that allowed her to be her own boss and spend quality time with her children. In the midst of building a client base for her own law practice, life presented challenges resulting in a time when she was unable to work. She seized this time at home to pursue her unending dream of starting her own business.

Dominguez and her husband felt they were constantly picking up the kids’ toys individually, only to find a toy pile mess again just minutes later. They brainstormed on an idea of a blanket with handles as an easy pick-up device for all of the toys at once.

“I worked with my mother-in-law and nanny to design and sew prototypes of a blanket with handles, trying out different features, fabrics and ways I could make the product unique,” said Dominguez. “My kids were the perfect test subjects, seeing what colors and fabrics they liked and having them use the blanket to help clean up and store their toys.”

Dominguez decided on a final product – a blanket with handles that is waterproof, slip resistant and multi-layered, with layers that allow for coloring with washable markers. It can be used as a nap mat, playing mat and for toy storage.

She began building a customer base by selling to customers online, expanding to a local El Paso baby boutique and the farmer’s market. Dominguez also found success in working with online deal flash sale websites as the featured product of the day or week at a discounted price. However, she knew in order to keep costs down and place larger production orders, she needed more capital.

An avid fan of shows like Shark Tank and The Profit, she came across The UPS Store and Entrepreneur Magazine event, with Host of CNBC’s The Profit, Marcus Lemonis. Eager to seek advice from Lemonis, she submitted a video about her business and was chosen as one of three contestants to participate in a Q&A session with him at the event.

“The experience was remarkable and invaluable,” shared Dominguez. “We received amazing advice from Marcus, the expert of experts, and he used the audience as a focus group for my business idea. The honest feedback they gave was so helpful.”

Dominguez connected with fellow small business owners at the event that she now talks to regularly, expanding her network and sharing ideas across multiple industries. But advice, friendship and tips for her business expansion was just the beginning of what she gained from this event. An offer from The UPS Store President, Tim Davis, and Lemonis changed the future of StoweyJoey.

“I was sharing my business idea on stage, talking about our high price barriers to growth and all of a sudden Tim offered us $5,000 to support our business,” recounted Dominguez. “Then, Marcus said that he was willing to invest another $5,000 in StoweyJoey if I shared with him a concrete business plan. Of course, my answer was yes!”

About a week and a half later, Dominguez shared her business plan with Lemonis and The UPS Store and the financial support was finalized. Putting advice from the event in action, she plans to use most of the investment to place a large product order to decrease cost and increase profit margin. She will use the rest for website development, marketing and packaging.

“Since my kids are the inspiration behind this idea, I cherish the fact that my family is involved in StoweyJoey,” said Dominguez. “Starting a business in our home has allowed us to instill an entrepreneurial spirit within our children and involve them in the process of running a small business.”

The UPS Store and Lemonis’ investments came at a key turning point for her business, allowing growth without financial burden. When asked for her best business advice to others, Dominguez replied that people should not wait to jump on their ideas. “Pursue your passion because if you never try, the answer will always be no,” stated Dominguez. “Commit yourself to your business endeavor and always be ready to learn more.”

With the first order of business to increase product inventory, Dominguez also plans to use her local UPS Store to print marketing materials such as business cards and banners for her local sales. On a mission to help parents live more organized lives, she wants to expand her product line from the StoweyJoey blanket to a unique car organizer. To follow her adventure, visit StoweyJoey.com.

Comments

I've also had the opportunity to get to know The StoweyJoey Family! What a great event and opportunity to meet other like minded entrepreneurs! Can't wait to see StoweyJoey as a household name!

We couldn’t agree more! We wish StoweyJoey small business success. Loved meeting all of the inspiring entrepreneurs in the room.

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