Introducing you to Addyson Kids, Heidi Ruggier’s latest mentee
Matte PR’s founder and president, Heidi Ruggier, is a proud mentor with The Forum Mentor Program: a one-year program made for women entrepreneurs who want to nurture their professional and personal growth. We’re very excited to announce that last month Heidi began mentoring Kaela Vanderlugt, founder of Addyson Kids. She’ll be providing Kaela with guidance, leadership and tools to drive her business’ success.
We took some time to pick Kaela’s brain and find out more about her experience as an entrepreneur and her business goals going forward. Keep reading for great advice and more details on Addyson Kids’ upcoming launch!
What inspired you to start Addyson Kids?
My kids! After having my first, 3.5 years ago, I remember telling my husband that buttons & snap clips were such a nuisance while our son cried and squirmed changing his diaper. Fast forward to having my daughter, 2.5 years ago, I said the same thing. I said to my husband, “I don’t like the kids in pyjamas all day, but the zippers are so convenient.” That’s when I came up with the brilliant idea.
Photograph by Paula Visco
What makes yours different from other kids brands?
Our clothes eliminate all the small inconvenient challenges you face with your baby. They are all one-pieces that appear and are designed to look like two separate pieces. This eliminates belly exposure when you are carrying, lifting, or have a baby on the move. They have a zipper opening that encourages faster-than-ever diaper changes. We work hard towards owning a sustainable fashion brand by using bamboo jersey fabric, which is not only extremely soft to touch for delicate baby skin, but also lightweight and stretchy. This also means there is no extra bunching around their diaper wrapped bellies.
You launched your brand just before the pandemic, how has COVID-19 affected your business?
It was a disaster at the beginning. We planned to launch in the summer with our first manufacturer, but due to several setbacks we decided to change manufacturers. We moved forward with a Canadian manufacture instead of an overseas one that was able to guarantee a faster launch. Unfortunately, Covid still came into play and our fall launch was delayed until December. As frustrating as it was, we did the best we could under the circumstances with baby number three due anytime. We launched and two weeks after the launch I had my third child two and a half weeks early. It was a whirlwind.
How has being a mum influenced your brand?
It has been the backbone to the company. We base everything on how to make parents’ lives easier while keeping their child happy and fashion-forward and keeping sustainability in mind.
Photograph by Paula Visco
Matte PR’s founder and president, Heidi Ruggier, has recently become your mentor through The Forum’s Mentor Program, how did you get involved in the program?
I was listening to an interview about a Canadian business owner on a podcast. She had mentioned a few companies and programs she used when she was starting up. The Forum was one of them, so I decided to check it out. I had recently hired a business coach, who is great, but I was also looking for a mentor with similar business background or fashion background that would have different insight.
What are you most excited about for your mentorship?
After the first 20 minutes on the call with Heidi, I was thrilled about what there was to come. She was so knowledgeable and gave me a big to-do list, which I love. I see a lot more blood, sweat & happy tears in my future with Heidi and my business. I’m SO ready for what’s to come.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to start a brand for the first time?
1) No matter what stage you are at in life and have started a business, learn how to use your time efficiently and effectively. Every minute counts.
2) Educate, educate, educate. You can never learn enough. This world is constantly evolving and so are you and your business.
3) Understand time is money. Setting your personal cost per hour as the business owner is important. You are your greatest asset in the company. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, paying someone that has your weaknesses as their strengths is worth every penny and will save you so much time that you don’t have as an entrepreneur.
What’s to come for Addyson Kids? Is there anything exciting we should keep an eye out for?
The FW21/22 line! This will be my favourite season yet! We will have two drops. The first FW21/22 drop is launching September 15th at 8 p.m. EST and the second FW21/22 is launching November 1 at 10 a.m. EST. This is the first season we have introduced prints. I have exclusively designed a different print for each season. We are also introducing larger sizes. After several requests to offer clothing for toddlers, we will be introducing sizes 2T, 3T & 4T as separates with FW21/22 Drop 2.
Photograph by Paula Visco
We love hearing from founders like Kaela. For more Q&As with entrepreneurs, media and more, head to our news sections.