It is a pleasure to introduce you all to Kelly Douglas of Itzy Ritzy. Creative, innovative, talented and stylish, Kelly has it all, and these qualities really shine through in her extensive product line. She starts with cool, must have products, then she adds flair and style with great prints and textures. Kelly tops it off with meticulous design, to bring you a fantastic product line worthy of any style loving mom!
From shopping cart & high chair covers, peek-a-boo pods, nursing covers and reversible car seat covers, she has a mom’s needs covered. Add to this the fact that each item is chic and sophisticated yet totally fun and functional, and you have a winning combination. Itzy Ritzy is not only hugely popular among our customers, but among celebrities as well. Celebrity parents such as Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie, Rebecca Romijn, Brad Pitt and Nicole Kidman have all chosen Itzy Ritzy for their babies!
How would you define the Itzy Ritzy style philosophy?
Itzy Ritzy uses modern sophistication with high function, luxury, and fun to create chic products that parents and children adore.
What inspired you to become a designer and start a business?
My husband and I wanted to do something entrepreneurial together. Prior to starting Itzy Ritzy, I worked in corporate America at Accenture, ran nursing homes, and worked on feature films in New York City. After the birth of our second baby girl, both my husband and I were ready to take the plunge and risk of becoming entrepreneurs. We spent eight months researching companies to buy and we bought a little baby company out of California with two products, relocated it to Chicago, re-branded it to Itzy Ritzy and have grown the business to include over 10 products that are found in 700 national and international retailers.
Why did you choose to design products for parents and children?
I love business and being a parent, so I choose Itzy Ritzy to create chic products that help busy moms and dads (like us!). They say “go with what you know” and we know fashion and babies! My two young girls are constantly inspiring me.
What is your favorite part of your daily work … when you reflect on the day, what is most rewarding?
The most rewarding part for me is seeing an idea from conception through completion. It is fun to have access to and responsibility for all aspects of running a business from product design and development, marketing, advertising, customer service, trade shows, management, and overall brand strategy and vision.
Also, I love the flexibility that owning your own business allows. I am my own boss which allows me flexibility – for instance, I have the freedom without having to “ask permission from my boss” to leave work in the middle of the day to attend my daughter’s princess camp performance. The major challenge, however, is allowing myself to have down time and not feel like I should be working on the business 24/7.
Do you have any advice for other working moms?
1. Stop making yourself feel guilty. A happy mom is a good mom. This means different things for different women: working full-time, working part-time, or being a full-time stay at home mom. Don’t compare yourself to your friends and neighbors; instead, do what is best for you and your family.
2. One of my best friends once told me that it is harder for the kids to have you at home working yet not there for them. It’s confusing for them, as they see you and want to have your full attention, yet you are distracted by the computer and the calls. So, if possible, I advise getting out of the house on your own for some time each week to work. There are many ways to do this: while the kids are at school or at an activity bring your lap top and sit at a local coffee shop, hire a part-time sitter for a few hours each week, or as necessary hire a full-time sitter if it works with your budget and ideology.
3. Network, network, network! There are so many great women out there doing this too.
4. Start a focus group. I started an Itzy Ritzy focus group with my other mom friends. They reflect our core demographic and since those of them that aren’t working now had careers prior to having children, they love contributing in a business-like setting (business-like, yet while sipping on wine).
5. Hire good people that share your work ethic and value integrity above everything else.
6. Go for it!
If you had to pick a favorite design from your collection, what would it be?
Currently my favorite Itzy Ritzy products are the Snack Happened™ Snack Bags and the Wet Happened?™ Wet Bags. These bags are ridiculously versatile and fun. I use the FDA approved snack bags for all of my girls’ goodies from grapes, crackers and sandwiches to ballet shoes, crayons and hair accessories. They are the perfect go-to bag to replace disposable baggies. In terms of fabric, Central Park West and Avocado Damask are my favorite prints available now. However, I’m ecstatic about the 8 new fabrics that we’re launching this summer. They are fresh, modern, preppy, unique, and 100% exclusive to Itzy Ritzy – I especially love the upcoming “Little Miss Zig Zag”! Check back soon to scoop up these looks at Rosenberry Rooms!
What sets Itzy Ritzy apart from other designers?
We are always current, we set the trends instead of following them, we constantly introduce new functional products (stroller liners launch this summer) and we work really really hard to provide great gear with remarkable customer service.
Do you have any news that you would like to share, perhaps about upcoming designs or introductions to your line?
Itzy Ritzy believes in partnerships! This summer we are launching eight new 100% custom Itzy Ritzy Fabrics. We partnered with Stacy of www.NameYourDesign.com to create four of these amazing new looks! Simply put, the new prints ROCK! Also, we are launching a stroller liner that will begin shipping in June and have some other top-secret hot products up our sleeve!
Now…Just for Fun
Chocolate, veggies, bread (unfortunately), sushi & discovering new restaurants!
Favorite TV Show
Project Runway and CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°. Also, my husband and I love to watch Psych & The Soup together.
Favorite Weekend Activity
Cooking breakfast with the family over music, followed by a walk or bike ride, exploring local events, and then having friends over for dinner while the kids run around and play.
Favorite Stress Reliever?
I love “low-brow” celebrity gossip! I compare my love of celebrity gossip and trivia to men’s knowledge of useless baseball trivia. I know it’s trivial and unimportant, but it is also fun and a great break from stress.
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