Yuki Mese runs a successful, locally-based business called Wagamama Baby which has reached national acclaim. Yuki is another product client of mine (I’ve had the opportunity to photograph her Zabu mats) and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her and her staff of 5 women who run a now multi-product company seamlessly. Wagamama Baby has products that are very classy, modern and practical in design from baby mats (Zabus) to blankie balls! There are more product ideas coming your way in the future as well!
How did you come up with the name Wagamama Baby? Wagamama means “spoiled rotten” in Japanese, and I wanted a fun, catchy name that also reflected my ancestry!
How long have you been doing this? 1.5 years
Please explain a little bit about your product/business and how you developed the concept behind it: As the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of all invention!” We’ve always traveled a lot, even since Emerson was born. I made her the original baby zabu travel cushion so I wouldn’t have to tote around a big, bulky playpen. Then one friend asked for one, then another friend… and then voila! A business was born!
What makes your product/business so unique? There are 5 unique women in our biz but we don’t necessarily think of our business as being that unique. We certainly have lots of fun! Our product is also patented so I suppose that’s what makes us unique!
Where could we find your product? Our products are carried in over 70 retail stores worldwide.
What is the hardest part or have been some of your struggles starting your own business? Trying to find a balance between being a present & nurturing mom to Emerson, a supportive partner to my husband, and a successful entrepreneur.
How do you balance your business and your family? The truth is that often times I can’t! Both require tremendous energy and creativity, and many times the lines between the two cross. I try to embrace the chaos and just go with the flow. At the end of the day, I always know what matters most.
What are some of your short and long term goals with your business? We plan on expanding our international business in the next 9-12 months. We also have plans to add a couple of new products to our mix in the next year. Once day we hope to be able to sell the company or the patents and spend our days travelling around the world!!!
Is there anything exciting in the works that we can look forward to? As mentioned above, we are working on a couple of new products which will be showcased on our website in the first quarter of 2009. Starting in the spring, we also plan to dedicate one style every season from our collection, where a portion of the proceeds would go to a selected children’s charity.
What kind of charity work or “giving back to the community” do you do? I’ve personally always been involved in various organizations that support global women’s causes. As a business we are very socially and environmentally conscious and support organizations and initiatives to make the world better for our children.
What is your favorite restaurant in San Diego? Sushi Ota on Mission Bay Drive (YUMMY!)
What is your favorite mom and/or kid shop in San Diego? Magical Child in Encinitas
Favorite shopping link? www.etsy.com
Where might we find you on a lazy day with the family? Funny enough, when we have free time we go to Las Vegas because my husband just opened a restaurant in the Luxor called T&T!