Mom Entrepreneur: Joy Chopak
Business: President, gunamuna
gunamuna’s debut product, the gunapod, is the easiest, most comfortable sleep sack – roomier for babies who want to stretch in a super plush fabric and more convenient for parents. In fact, the gunapod is the only wearble blanket with a patent-pending, all-around zipper. Need to change a diaper without removing sleep sack? gunapod to the rescue!
What inspired you to start your business?
Several friends complained that they could not find a wearable blanket that they and their child liked. One friend came up with the ideal sleeping sack with uber functionality that allows maximum comfort and usability for caregivers and babies. Of course, everyone wanted one! We saw an opportunity, which led to the birth of the gunapod!
How long have you been in business?
We incorporated in 2009, and officially launched in January 2011.
What did you do in your past work life?
I draw on 15+ years of work in the retail/clothing industry, including experience with Bloomingdales and Children’s Place. I’ve worked with a number of companies in this industry, helping to design and build clothing labels. Being a mom has also provided me with invaluable real-world experience that has shaped my approach to business.
Describe your ideal workday.
Ideal? Wake up leisurely, finish my to-do list, keep everyone happy, visit a children’s store, go to the gym, prepare a yummy dinner for my family that everyone loves, have a restful family evening or a night with the girlfriends. Oh wait, has that ever happened?
What have been some of your major successes?
I must admit, we’ve been incredibly lucky from the moment we launched in January. Our feedback was outstanding at the two trade shows where we exhibited in January, and we received a huge pile of personal orders at both shows. It’s the ultimate compliment when people in the industry, who have access to every product available, choose us for their baby. Not only did we exceed expectations at the shows, but we also sold out at our first retail launch last month in Boston. It’s truly been an amazing ride, but at the end of the day, our greatest success is when customers tell us how much they love the gunapod.
What have been some of your major challenges?
The same challenge most of us have…balancing family and work. Keeping the business on a steady course with the economy. And just when you think you’ve found the ideal business solution, a different one crops up, and it’s back to square one.
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
We are three mompreneurs who have more fun working together than alone and understand the challenges of juggling it all. We understand that moms need things to be easier. We understand that we want our babies to be safe, but comfortable at the same time. We truly believe that we are giving caretakers and babies a better option at sleeping safely through our own experience. That keeps us going on the tough days.
We honestly get excited when a customer sees the gunapod. So when we run into those awful days, we remember our mission and it motivates us. We didn’t start gunamuna because we wanted to start a business. We started gunamuna because we found a fabulous product that we wanted to share. We’re not just about business, we’re about a product that we believe in – and that always keeps us going.
Do you have a motivational quote?
I actually have two favorites….
• “The world is conspiring in my favor” (Unknown)
• “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.” (Erma Bombeck)
If there was one piece of advice you could give to your children about running a successful business, what would it be?
Find your passion and love what you do every day, then you’ll be successful.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
I’m still looking for it. I’ll let you know when I find it!
Do you have a favorite business tool and/or resource?
People. My best resolutions germinate from networking and seeking the advice of others. That’s the ultimate tool, even in today’s tech age.
What is next for your business?
gunamuna’s mission is to be a standard bearer for both baby and parent. gunamuna is committed to making a profound difference in the children’s market by having an obsessive focus on the actual needs AND wants of the both the baby and parent. We’re not seeking the ‘next’. It will seek us
Your two cents sales pitch?
Made for moms, by moms, the gunapod is the ultimate wearable blanket for babies. With a patent-pending all-around zipper, we are the only blanket that answers the mother’s and baby’s call for safe, comfortable, easy sleep.
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