Denver Businesses: Get to Know Teething Treasures
Welcome to a new series on the blog where I showcase and/or interview local Denver businesses. I absolutely love getting to interview people and find out the backstory to their business journey. Maybe I missed my calling as a journalist!
Today I’m bringing you a firecracker of an entrepreneur, Ashley Lutz, of Teething Treasures, a silicone jewelry teething necklace boutique. She makes teething necklaces for moms that double as the modern, chunky, and colorful accessories that are all the rage these days. (You may remember seeing one of her teething necklaces included in my Colorado-Themed Baby Shower Gift post.)
I met Ashley at the Everything Baby Expo a few months ago and we instantly hit it off. You can’t not like her! I was drawn to her exhibit/booth because of the bright and happy colors of her jewelry/accessories/baby teethers and once she explained their purpose and how awesome they are, I was more than intrigued. She’s really on to something!
She designs the teething necklaces with moms in mind. She wants moms to feel good about wearing them so that they don't just sit in the accessory drawer. And when you wear one, your baby (who spends a lot of time on your hip!) has easy access to a teether or simply a play toy. And! Your purchase helps local babies to receive infant essentials--Ashley elaborates on that aspect in the interview below.
She runs Teething Treasures from her home in Broomfield, Colorado, where she lives with her husband, Brad, and adorable son Benjamin (who kindly modeled some of her creations).
Let’s find out more straight from Ashley!
How long have you been in business?
Since mid March of this year (2017)! Teething Treasures is a new little treasure trove! Technically, I sold my very first necklace to a very good friend of mine in mid-February (shout out Erica & Stella Bella!). Or maybe the real "technical" date is late May / early June when I finally established my LLC, my FEIN, and all the behind the scenes important stuff! Either way, Teething Treasures is sure full throttle now! :)
Did you always know you’d run your own business?
Oh, gosh no! I am definitely an accidental mamapreneur!
Before I was promoted to Stay-At-Home-Momma, I was a high school science teacher (chemistry & environmental science)! And even that was a surprise for me.
When I was an undergraduate, I also volunteered in high school ministry. I had the intention to pursue Physical Therapy, and while I did graduate premed, I realized I loved spending time with those students. So much so that I decided against medicine and I went back to school to receive my Masters in Education. (I obviously chose teaching for the money. . . :)
How does being a mom influence the materials you use in your products?
As a Momma, I have designed this necklace to be attractive for you, but enjoyable for your teething child!
As a craftswoman, I take pride in quality and safe materials. All my necklaces are handmade and many are one-of-a-kind! But every single one is made with much love, attentive care, and abundant joy!
Why/How are your products different than other teething necklaces on the market?
Teething Treasures are Fashionable for Momma, Functional for Baby, and 10% of profits are donated to charities supporting the needs of babies in our community!
(1) Fashionable for Momma: The physical market for Teething Jewelry and Accessories are limited. And much of it looks like its a toy around your neck. I create boutique style pieces that mommas can feel stylish in!
(2) Functional for Baby: Teething jewelry and accessories are so much more helpful than just for soothing teething pain!
Before you think, "Oh my kiddo isn't there yet..." Bright colors are great visual stimulation for littles who aren't reaching yet! Or, for those kiddos who are grabbing, the different sizes, shapes, and textures serve as an additional means of tactile stimulation and exploration! Encouraging fine motor movement development!
Or! Does your baby breastfeed distractedly? Wearing a necklace can capture their attention and keep them closer to you! (One friend found it helped her little girl to not scratch her so much during breastfeeding!)
Also do not be too quick to think, "Nah, my toddler isn't teething anymore." Did you realize it typically takes 2 years to get all those toofers in? Babies tend to grab hair and jewelry - at least feel confident that its okay for them to chomp away on
(3) Donating Infant Necessities: By purchasing Teething Treasures, you are helping provide for infants in need! You can feel fashionable, your little can be entertained, and another baby has been given infant essentials!
(4) In-Person "Make & Take" Events I have a whole treasure trove of precious gems But! I also host Make & Take Events where Mommas (or Grandmas or Aunties or Nannies or Fraunties) can get together and make their own Teething Treasures!
(5) NEW! Norwex Travel Microfibers I am introducing Norwex Travel Microfibers to my Teething Treasures Boutique. The one (and only) complaint that I receive is that silicone gathers lint. Norwex microfiber is unique in that it contains BacLock which is their "micro silver antibacterial agent" and works to "self-purify and inhibit bacterial odors, mold and mildew growth within each cloth" (Norwex). So! Not only does this awesome cloth easily wipe away lint off my Teething Treasures (simply with water and the cloth), but it sanitizes it too!
(6) Knotting Variety I have introduced knotting variety! When you go to big box stores and check out their variety, you'll see that the beads are each individually knotted. I can do that, I can knot simply on the ends, or leave the beads loose on the strand. I prefer the latter as it is another means for which your baby can manipulate the necklace.
Do you offer customization/special orders?
Absolutely! To make it even more unique to you, I love designing treasures tailored to your tastes! Allow me to custom create a necklace or pacifier clip or what you have imagined! Or let's put our creative juices together to construct your dream teething accessory!
Please allow extra time for custom designing your perfect Teething Treasure! Keep in mind I may or may not have the inventory on hand to make your dream Silicone Teething Necklace a reality. I can order a wide variety of colors (over 50 shades!), an array of shapes and sizes, accent beads, wooden teethers, a variety of satin cord colors, etc... But I do not have all of these at all times. If I need to order, I will do so, happily! But this will add to both the cost and the time necessary to craft your jewelry.
Your final price will vary based on time spent designing, complexity, sample pictures, number of beads, shapes of beads, etc... Final total cannot be given at the start of the order. Estimates can be given, but is not exact nor guaranteed. Additional customization fee starts at $5.00. (Simply requesting a color change for an already existing design starts at $1.00)
What can we look for in the future—can you let us in on any secret products or projects?
Ha! I would LOVE to give you a sneak peek into a future project and future off shoots! I currently offer necklaces, bracelets, teether rings, teether rattles, pacifier clips, teether clips, and interchangeable teether / pacifier clips.
My next brainstorming product is a toy catcher! My son's favorite game is how-many-times-will-momma-retrieve-the-toy-I-just-threw... *eye roll* Ha! Right now, I often clip Teething Treasures teether clips to the grocery cart belt, stroller strap, car seat, etc...
This allows him to throw and retrieve on his own. But how great if I can make something that I could attach some of his favorite non-Teething Treasures toys! Keep your eyes peeled, Treasure Hunters!
I also see two more demographics that I can serve well with Teething Treasures! Right now I design for Mommas with infants and toddlers! But I think this would be great for school aged children and also special needs kiddos!
(1) I have so many parents who think that their little girls would love to wear their own Teething Treasure! Think about it! A lot of children gnaw on their shirt collar, chew their pencil / pen, twist their shirt, and fidget! Nervous Nellie & Nervous Neds can discretely munch on their necklace and twist and manipulate them! Yep. Nervous Neds too! Think like an individual silicone shark tooth or lego pendant. Now it doesn't look like a girly necklace! And! With so many schools having banned fidget spinners, I recently had a custom order for a teether clip (of course we didn't call it that) for a young boy's backpack! Definitely a future avenue I want to pursue!
(2) I have also had a huge request for children with Special Needs. Having been an educator, what a valuable resource this would have been! I even have a family therapist, MS who sought me out asking if he could use my company as a resource for some of his clients. He is specifically trained / experienced in Play Therapy and Sandtray Therapy with children, with Autism, and with Special Needs individuals.
Tell us more about what you mean by "By purchasing Teething Treasures, you are helping provide for infants in need!"
By choosing to wear Teething Treasures, you are also choosing to support Colorado infants in need! Teething Treasures, LLC provides diapers, wipes, formula, infant medicines, and other baby necessities to local food banks and homeless shelters! I donate 10% of monthly net profit in the form of these donations!
Keep in touch! Happy Treasure Hunting!
Thank you, Ashley! I can’t wait to watch your business grow and see what new products you bring us in the future.