Alicia Overby

Alicia Overby of Cambridge, Minn. has a product that is sold to over 300 retailers in the U.S., and to people in 13 countries. Last year, sales hit $1.6 million. This kind of success wasn’t something Alicia was expecting when she created her infant headrest, Baby Elephant Ears—she just wanted to make something to help her colicky newborn son, Finn. The headrest worked, and became a hit after she brought it to a national trade show in 2009. Alicia now works as a “mom-preneur” in a 150-year-old barn that she renovated into office space where she continues to work on expanding her business. 

—Valerie Turgeon

What was the impetus for launching Baby Elephant Ears?

After my son Finn was born he wasn’t a very happy boy. He cried a lot and there was nothing I could do to console him. The doctor wanted to prescribe medication for colic. I didn’t feel comfortable with that, so I brought Finn to the chiropractor. He was optimistic about being able to help. Because birth is a traumatic experience for babies even though it’s completely natural, their bodies go through a lot and can experience neck strains in the process. To help treat Finn, the chiropractor said to support his head and neck muscles by using a supportive headrest with padding on the sides. The chiropractor didn’t have anything I could use or buy so I tried to find something at the store, but I couldn’t find anything that would do what he described. I took matters into my own hands. I wanted something that looked cute, and wanted to make sure I had something that actually would help Finn, so I made my own.

How do Baby Elephant Ears work?

Baby Elephant Ears help aid a baby’s spinal and neck alignment and is especially useful when a baby is in something like a bouncy chair, swing, stroller, or car seat. But it should not be used in a crib. Elephant Ears will keep the baby’s head from moving side to side so their spines will not be thrown out of alignment. It can be used for all babies, but especially newborns and premature babies.

Why did you decide to expand it into a business?

I kept being asked, “Where did you get that? Can you make me one?” I thought if my friends and family liked them so much, so would other people. Also, having had four babies, being a mom is a major part of who I am but I also felt like there’s more to me than just being a mom. By turning this into a business, I can still be a mom and at the same time sell a product that will help others like it helped me. The beauty of also being a mom-preneur is that you can work on your own terms. Doing this allows me to spend time with my family and I can make my own work hours. [The business] has become a lot bigger than I expected, but it’s a positive surprise. I was not expecting this kind of success to happen so quickly.

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