Mompreneur: Nicole Cibellis and Little Froglet
August 15, 2011Posted by pamela |
Marin mompreneur Nicole Cibellis turned being laid off in the economic downturn into an opportunity to design her own line of children's clothing. Her company, Little Froglet - Real Clothes for Real Kids, just launched this month, and so far her products are a hit with both parents and children. We asked Nicole to tell us a little about her and how she started her business.
Please tell us a little about yourself. What's your background?
I am a wife of a supportive and wonderful man, Evan, and a mom to a fun and rambunctious two-year-old little boy named Nolan. Nolan really has been the catalyst of all the change in my life over the past few years. Prior to him, I worked for 11 years at many different Bay Area specialty retailers in their corporate offices focusing on buying, sourcing and product development.
How did you get started creating your own line of children's activewear?
In 2008, I finally got pregnant after trying for years. Unfortunately, my employer laid me off the day after I returned from maternity leave. With the economy melting down I wasn’t sure what would happen with future employment opportunities. One day while playing with Nolan and his friends at a playground, it struck me that kids need to have a more functional jacket when it is cold. My son and his friends didn’t want to wear gloves and hats so the Ultimate Year 'Round Jacket was born and it was time for me to start a company of my own. Little Froglet has been two fun and exciting years in the making and I am so proud of it. Also during those two years, I created A Family that Eats Together… from Foodie to Kid Friendly in One Dish (afamilythateatstogether.com). A Family that Eats Together is another venture of mine focused on making food for kids that we as parents want to eat while making only one meal for the whole family.
What's the most fulfilling thing about what you do?
The most fulfilling thing about Little Froglet is seeing the kids who wear my jackets love them and obsess about them. I knew kids would like them, but I get a ton of feedback about how kids want to wear the Ultimate Year ‘Round Jacket all the time over all the other jackets they have. I think that is because it is super cozy and comfy. Not to mention the kids really relate to the screen-printed designs.
What do you like best about living and working in Marin?
My husband and I moved to the Bay Area in 1997 from Southern California. We thought we would be here for a maximum of three years but we fell in love with the Bay Area and have never looked back. I love that I can mountain bike from my house to the top of Mt. San Pedro without even getting in my car. I love that the friends I have made in Marin are some of the most down to earth people in the world.
Working is Marin is a dream for me. I now have a work/life balance that I have never had before.
What do you and your family do for fun in the Bay Area?
We just returned from camping at Samuel P. Taylor State Park which we do every year with a bunch of moms and kids from our neighborhood. My son and I have just taken up paddle boarding, which is fun because he loves to sit on the board as we glide across the water. On clear days he can see what is beneath the surface and we discuss what he is seeing. It is a great bonding experience. We are also an avid mountain bikers and swimmers.