We are so excited to introduce you to Erin, founder of Rommer and a mama to three gorgeous girls. Her journey into entrepreneurship started when her daughters were little and she was struggling to find silicone bibs that were high quality and aesthetically pleasing (not those bright colours that seemed to be everywhere). This sparked the idea to create her own range of silicone bibs in thoughtful neutral hues with a functional design.
Experiencing immediate success, Erin continued to expand her product collection and has since gained a loyal following of mamas around the world. In this honest and inspiring conversation, Erin shares her rollercoaster journey of running a business, while continuing to be a present mum and partner to her family. Let’s get started…
tell us a little about you and who is in your beautiful family?
I’m Erin, the founder of Rommer. I live in Perth with my partner Beau and we have three gorgeous girls, Rosie (six), Summer (four) and Willa (one).
we absolutely love your gorgeous business Rommer. Can you share what led to the creation of this business and what you’ve learnt on your journey of entrepreneurship so far?
I guess you could say I love interiors, and although our house is small, I love having nice things! When we had babies, we quickly realised so many ”ugly” things made their way into our home and one of them was silicone bibs. We had two, they were teal and hot pink. The bucket never caught food as it wasn’t wide open enough and they were quite narrow meaning they didn’t offer great coverage across the chest. They were always visible in the kitchen and I used to think, “If I have to look at these, why can’t they just make them in NICE colours!” So I searched the internet high and low and when I couldn’t find them, I decided to make them! Within four months we started the business. We called it Rommer as it was a combination of both Rosie and Summer’s names. We had a very successful start. Silicone bibs had been around for ages but we found a tiny niche in the market doing beautiful and thoughtful neutral colours that no one else was doing. Stores all over the world wanted to stock our bibs and we were having sell out launches with our own online store. What I’ve learnt about entrepreneurship is that it’s one big ROLLER COASTER. Resilience is key if you want to go down that path and I like the saying “you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
“the highs are high, but people don’t always see the lows that happen behind the scenes”
we would love to hear more about your own experience of pregnancy and postpartum, and in particular how you approached it the third time around while running a successful business?
I have been lucky enough to have three great pregnancies, so I could continue working close to birth! I did have some severe coccyx pain after my first birth that only got worse with my second pregnancy. I ended up seeing a pain specialist and having an injection into it when Summer was very young, as sitting down was almost unbearable.
I’ve experienced three different types of births. First a Vaginal, second a C-Section and lastly a VBAC. I’m happy for anyone to slide into my DM’s if they want to chat about any of them!
There’s a lot of people who don’t overly love the newborn stage but for me it’s some of my most favourite times in my life. It’s the only time where life truly feels slow. Time is that thing between each feed, and nothing else is expected of it. No schedules or plans, just taking the hours as they come. Staring at this new little person we created, watching every facial expression, their hands and feet.
“my heart just felt like it couldn’t be more full and happy each time we brought a baby home”
So the third child gets all the older sibling love but doest get the nice structured routine that we once followed. It was very easy to take Willa to the office with me in the beginning. Babies sleep anywhere! It definitely got harder as she got older but she goes to daycare two days a week now and the older kids are at school, so I try to make the most of those two kid free days.
for someone like yourself who has been in the business game for many years now, can you tell us how you stay motivated and passionate about what you do?
It’s actually very hard staying motivated when it’s just me in the business. I have a marketing girl and I love working with her, but for most part, It’s me wearing all the hats. Throw in parent life, the occasional sick kid and it’s hard to keep on top of what I need to do. Packing orders actually helps me to see the products people are ordering and when I see it all together, packaged up and heading out to a new home I feel so much pride in what I have created. Our colours are beautiful, our products are such high quality and I TRULY feel like they deserve a place in everyone’s home. I get messages from people saying they bought our stuff years ago and that it still looks brand new and I LOVE HEARING THAT! I want our stuff to stay in your home forever and to be loved by each little child that comes along. I want parents to feel like they still can have nice things and still enjoy their space in an otherwise “messy” phase of their lives… kids eating! I want to only create beautiful products that are functional too. So that always drives my design.
“when I’m feeling flat, I listen to business podcasts, chat to other small business owners and lean on my partner Beau for advice and comfort”
speaking from experience, we know how much of a game changer your silicone dinnerware products are for starting a baby on solids. For someone who may not be familiar with your brand, can you share the benefits of some Rommer essentials for the feeding journey and what sets them apart from other products?
Firstly the QUALITY! We use the highest grade of silicone and truly believe our range can stand the test of time with little people. Our products have been independently tested and verified to be completely safe for babies and children. Silicone can withstand extreme temperatures without leaching chemicals, so for that reason it is totally safe to be serving your baby’s food in and heating in the microwave. We want our range to grow with your children so for that reason we focus on regular plates and bowls with no suction as we feel the ”suction phase” is just such a short phase in a baby's life. We get that babies can make a mess so our wiggly placemats are one of our best sellers as they’re super cute and they encourage you to bring the high chair to the table and let baby eat with the family. Our new smoothie cup is also MESS PROOF, as little ones can’t take the lid off or pull the straw out so that would be a must have in my eyes! I also love love love our plates and bowls, as they are a great size and are so sturdy - not at all flimsy!
as a mama of three and busy business owner, we would love to hear what advice you would give to a fellow mama juggling all the things and your approach to this season of life?
I heard a podcast where Hugh from The Imperfects described (to other parents) that right now, we are in a “CAREGIVING” season of our life. I have often thought back to that when I’m feeling overwhelmed, and pulled in so many directions. I bring my focus back to the kids, get down, give them a hug and whisper to myself “caregiving, caregiving, caregiving” haha. I am super triggered by noise and mess, which is the worst combination for a mum so I try to stay on top of clutter as it makes me feel better. Also when the noise in the house is escalating, I sometimes play baby lullabies and it seems to calm everyone down a notch. I don’t overbook our schedules. I don’t try to be everywhere. All my friends are in the same boat too so we know sometimes it goes too long between drinks, but we always pick up where we left off and enjoy filling our cup before heading back to “the trench” as we call it. I also think these years for some are “SURVIVING NOT THRIVING.” So removing the pressure to be achieving too much and being happy with the small wins helps. Was everyone fed, warm and loved? If yes, then happy days!
“For me right now, life is caring for our young family and growing our business”
can you share what’s ahead this year for both yourself and your brand Rommer? We can’t wait to see what you create!
Oh yes! Beau and I are getting married! We’ve opted for an intimate wedding of 40 guests and are then taking the kids on a two week holiday to Bali. So one big family moon! Haha. So far the planning has been super simple. My dress was $200, I’m doing my own flowers and I’m trying to keep the day as easy as possible with three kids in tow! We can’t wait to have some quality family time and enjoy two weeks of switching off.
In terms of Rommer, we’re taking this year to “rebuild” if I can be really honest. We started out in the Covid bubble and had very quick success, but this past year has been full of challenges and knocked our confidence a bit. We have so many ideas that we haven’t been able to bring to life yet, but I can’t wait to launch our next range which is all about the OG customer four years ago and what their kids might need now!
“The remainder of 2023 is all about getting our groove back, reminding ourselves that Rommer deserves a place in the world and planning for a big 2024”
and lastly, a very important question, what are your top 3 favourite biglittlethings?
Ahhh ok! 1. Little Beacon Wrap - they are soooooooo incredibly soft and such a great size! Rommer collaborated with Rachel a few years back, so I know first hand how much love she puts into her brand. 2. BibRond Élhée Bottle - I bought some off you when I had Willa and I love how high quality they are. We started her on glass bottles but when she started self feeding and throwing her bottles, I realised I needed an alternative. 3. Lastly, we just can’t go past BIBS Dummies - they really are the perfect shape and we always have lots on hand if they go missing!