Mompreneur Series – Narda Simpson, President of Oyaco Products

Mompreneur Series – Narda Simpson, President of Oyaco Products

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Our second installment in the mompreneur series is an interview with Narda Simpson, President of Oyaco Products. Narda, who continues to run the company today, is an inspiration to Mompreneur’s everywhere. Building a company from an idea drawn up at their kitchen table into a national success story is something many entrepreneurs will do only in their wildest dreams.

What was the inspiration for Oyaco?

Oyaco is my first baby. I wasn’t a mom when I started the company. A friend of mine was making sleeping bags for babies, and I bought one from her to give to one of my friends as a baby gift. My friend was very impressed with the usefulness of the sleeping bag, and word spread to other friends, who were eager to have them for their babies. Before too long, we found ourselves sewing baby sleeping bags after work in the evening and selling them privately.

Where did the company name come from?

The word Oyaco (o-ya-co) was derived by combining the Japanese word “oya” meaning “parent” and a modified version of the word “ko” which translates to “child”.

What was the biggest challenge you had becoming a mompreneur?

Running a household, building a business and having three kids has definitely been a challenge. It goes without saying it takes a village to raise a family and I am grateful for the village that I have. The biggest challenge was trying to figure out how can I be a mom that is involved in my children’s education, as well as being dedicated to my business. As a former teacher, this is quite important to me having seen the benefits of parent involvement in the schools. The solution that has worked so far has been to dedicate 1 weekday a week to volunteer at my children’s schools’ (in class, fun lunches, field trips, etc.), which also allows me to take my kids to their various appointments.  Although this isn’t perfect and I still end up missing the odd event at school, overall I feel that it gives me the balance that I need to be involved. 

What advice would you give to other mother’s looking to start their own business?

It is a lot of work and sacrifice both physcially and financially. Having your own business is not a hobby. It is not something you do just in your spare time.  Running a business is all consuming (24/7, 365), it takes over your life and everything that is in it. When I had my son I was back to work full time 12 days later at the office, after the twins it was 2 months…that is the reality of being a business owner. There wasn’t a maternity leave.  It is so important to have good help, not only for your business but to assist you with your family. There are enough hurdles to overcome when building a business, be sure to surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family.

Thank you to Narda for inspiring us all to take advantage of an opportunity when it comes your way and being honest about how hard being a mompreneur truly is.





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