A business born out of necessity
The late night feedings went later. The exhaustion became more overwhelming. Tara Darnley’s baby girl, Alethia, was already teething at two months, and without the fine motor skills to hold a traditional teething toy, nothing helped. “We wanted her to have an alternative to chewing her hands for comfort and relief.”
One sleepless night, Tara and her husband, Carl, had an idea.
The next morning they bought the smallest snow glove they could find and put it on Alethia’s hand. For soothing her teething troubles, it was a perfect fit. The Darnleys were onto something.
Tara didn’t have a business background or a college degree when they developed the product, and her husband was still working full time as a pastry chef. She recalls the day he turned to her and said, “Can you run with this?”
A few prototypes later, Darlyng & Co. was in business with the Yummy Mitt. “The response was incredible. We realized we were not the only parents in the world with this need,” said Tara. The Yummy Mitt combines cotton to absorb excess saliva, and a food-grade silicone that’s safe to chew on. It was a hit at trade shows. A few months later, the Yummy Mitt was on retail shelves. But Tara said listing the product on Amazon was a game changer. “Seventy-five percent of our sales come from Amazon,” she said.
Amazon first invited small businesses to sell on Amazon nearly two decades ago, and today small business and entrepreneurs are a vital part of Amazon’s continued growth and commitment to customers.
Tara relies on Amazon customer reviews to help drive product modifications. And Darlyng & Co’s online sales data informs how they market and grow their business. “We thought we only needed to market to moms, but our Amazon data showed us we really needed to target grandparents. Once we did, our sales jumped,” she said.
The Yummy Mitt was only the beginning. Darlyng & Co. is now a global company selling 20 other products for babies and toddlers, including a suction bowl inspired by the couple’s 2-year-old son, Amir, “So I didn’t have to worry about him throwing his bowl across the room.” Carl quit his day job and works alongside Tara and a team of ten.
We’re in a good place. I like Amazon and the leverage it gives us as a family. It gives us that time, so we’re always able to put family first.
“Working with my wife has its own benefits and challenges,” said Carl. “We have to learn how to balance being business partners while raising a family and maintaining a healthy marriage.”
The Darnleys admit running a business while raising a family is challenging. But they’re not doing it alone. “Amazon has been the greatest asset to our business in terms of balancing family time,” Carl said. Fulfillment by Amazon manages their inventory, fulfillment, and customer support.
“It helps that Amazon does so much of the work for me,” said Tara. It’s especially helpful during the holiday season, Darlyng & Co.’s busiest time of year. During the 2017 holidays, small and medium-sized businesses had a record-breaking season with more than one billion items ordered worldwide.
It also frees up the Darnleys to brainstorm other beneficial products for babies. But most importantly, Tara said it gives them something every new parent craves: time. “We’re in a good place. I like Amazon and the leverage it gives us as a family. It gives us that time, so we’re always able to put family first.”