Since we are in holiday mode with gift and shopping advice it only seems fitting that for today’s Journey To Motherhood we’d feature a toy maker! Donna Lynn Brin is the co- creator of the green friendly Eco -Bonk which is available on her site. We are excited to have this entrepreneur mother of two as our Journey today!
Name: Donna Lynn Brin
Hometown: Peekskill, New York
How long have you been living in Brooklyn? 5 years
Occupation: Eco-friendly Children’s Toy Maker
When did you first become a mother? My first son was born in Dec 2009.
Before becoming a mother, what did you know about motherhood? Was the reality close to your personal image/idea? I knew nothing and vowed to read little on the subject. There was way too much uncertainty so I took a deep breath, let my instincts take over and allowed things to fall into place naturally rather than forcefully. The reality of motherhood was beyond anything I could have ever imagined and nothing could have prepared me for it … it teaches me selflessness; it tests my patience; and makes me a better person.
How would you describe the first year? It was insane, fulfilling, exhausting, humbling, rewarding and forever challenging.
Did you have a support system near by? No, our families live all over the country … I have a very strong friend network.
You have two young children, did you feel more prepared when the second came along? Yes. With less uncertainty comes confidence and with confidence comes ease.
You are a toymaker, such a cool craft, please tell us about your line! Pueri Elemental has created an earth-friendly inflatable bop toy exclusively made in the USA. Eco-Bonk is the first bop custom-fitted with plush organic cotton covers and screen-printed with fun-loving animals who take on the shape of the toy, offering a gentle alternative to rough-and-tumble playtime … it is not only healthier for children to play with, but also better for the environment around them because our vinyl is manufactured with a revolutionary technology that enables it to biodegrade in an active landfill in some period greater than a year, which is exponentially faster than ordinary vinyl that can take hundreds or even thousands of years to breakdown in the earth … oh and a portion of our proceeds are donated to Wildlife Alliance and there are interactive storybook apps that feature these super-cute animals sold separately. There’s nothing else like it on the market!
How did the business come about? My husband came home with a superhero-themed inflatable bop toy for our son. My first thought, “what an eye-sore”; my second, “how long before it breaks”; and my last, ”how long will it sit in a landfill” … one week and three busted ibop bags later, a product concept was born.
What has been a struggle while starting up your company? The learning curve has been extraordinary … understanding supply chain management, production, logistics, public relations, marketing and the list goes on … it’s exciting yet overwhelming! My constant struggle while starting up the company is finding balance between business and family … I’ve learned how to ask for help, trying to do it all myself is a recipe for disaster and I make time to truly disconnect, putting down the iPhone and laptop and being in the moment with my children never felt so good.
What have been some of your major successes?
1) Earning my MBA – I was a terrible student in high school.
2) Meeting my husband – He challenges me to go beyond myself.
3) Becoming a mother – I never knew that I could love so much.
Any tips for new moms? Learn how to give up control … you can’t force them to do what you want – they’ll sleep when they’re tired and eat when they’re hungry … give them the freedom to make choices and learn by making their own decisions … oh and find a great sleep training program.