Did you know that a toddler’s car seat is, on average, home to more germs than a toilet seat? If you answered no (and ick), you had the same reaction as our NJMOMpreneur of the Week, Lauren Siclare. Her child’s messy car seat led the then Google exec to search for a cleaning service that would come to her. But when she couldn’t find one, she was determined to create her own, and since then, BuckleBath has been a game-changer for car seat and stroller hygiene. The white-glove, mobile business does the dirty work of cleaning and disinfecting using all-natural, pediatrician-approved methods in about 30 minutes—a welcome service for busy parents, especially since COVID-19. We sat down with this Madison mama of two (who was recently featured on a Good Morning America segment) to chat about the leap she took from Google to starting Bucklebath, how the attention on sanitizing has been good for business, and the local crafty spot where she and her daughter plan to be in 2021.
featured image via Roessler Photography
Take us through your journey to becoming an NJMOMpreneur. What led you to start BuckleBath?
One morning, when a teacher took my daughter out of her toddler car seat, there were a bunch of crumbs and mess all around her even though she left the house perfectly clean. When I turned around and realized it was from leftover snacks on the back of her car seat, I was mortified. After, I frantically looked online for a service that would come to my driveway and clean the messy car seat while I was working, but surprisingly, I couldn’t find one. However, I found shocking studies identifying more germs in a toddler’s car seat than a toilet seat. As a full time working mom, I didn’t have the time to give it more than a quick surface clean. Right then, I had the idea to create a convenient and white-glove service for busy parents so children can ride in germ and mess-free car seats.
You took a giant leap leaving a comfortable and successful position at Google. How did you find the courage to leave your comfort zone like that?
I have always been creative, and when I realized the need for BuckleBath and how it would solve a common problem, I was dead set on figuring out how to bring it to fruition. At the time, I was a manager on the Google Cloud team. Delving into this business idea let me marry my love for all things mommy-related to my passion for innovation and creativity. Inherently the courage was from within, but my husband’s support is what made me take the big leap. The fact he allowed huge pink commercial vans to be parked in our driveway was a small token of his support. My career at Google was amazing, but building BuckleBath from the ground up has been incredibly fulfilling. As we take the next step and start to franchise in 2021, I am so excited for the new ways to exercise more courage and again embrace the unknown.
Over the past year, we’ve all become more focused on germs and hygiene for our families. How has your business changed as a result of the pandemic?
Before COVID, BuckleBath had a lot of organic growth. But as the pandemic started, and families became even more hyper-aware of germs, our business increased significantly. It was incredibly motivating to push through and expand in the hard times, and as a result, we’ve broadened our reach throughout NJ and into NY. We’ve also moved over to our subscription model, so parents don’t have to think twice about reoccurring monthly or quarterly BuckleBath appointments.
What would you say is the most challenging part and the most rewarding part of your starting your own business?
Balancing your time is always going to be the most challenging aspect. Some days your business is thriving, but you are two loads behind on laundry, your house is a mess, and you are figuring out dinner a few moments before it’s dinnertime. Other days you are rocking class-mom duties and serving a healthy meal, but you are 10 emails behind and rescheduling two conference calls. I am still working on the right balance, but the days I can do both well are incredibly rewarding.
Tell us about some of your favorite local businesses and what you love about them.
There’s a craft studio—Crafted in Madison—that I love. Although we haven’t attended many classes lately, my passion for projects and love for arts and crafts has translated to my daughter, and I can’t wait to take her to more classes later this year. Sugar Rush in Madison is also a personal favorite. I adore chocolate and interesting gifts, and they have an incredible assortment of both, available in-store or online.
What advice do you have for other moms wanting to start a business?
Think about the problem your business idea solves and ensure there is a large target market with longevity. If you have these components, you are creating a business for other people, which will be a business you can nurture, and it won’t feel like work. Don’t try to do it all yourself—most importantly, always set aside time every day to do something that brings you joy. For me, that is uninterrupted time with my children. They are pure joy after working non-stop daily. I can pause, take in their adorable faces at the dinner table and snuggle them tight during our bedtime routine.