Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Saxton.
Jennifer, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I came up with idea for Tot Squad while in business school at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. I was looking for solutions that would help busy parents manage work/life balance. Classmates laughed at my “cute baby idea”, but my business plan went on to win the Kellogg Cup Business Plan competition, which validated my instincts.
Tot Squad now operates in Los Angeles, San Diego, New York and Washington DC (a franchise unit). We are scaling the business through franchising and growing through B2B partnerships with rideshare companies, car rental agencies and online retailers. We are close to completing a $1.5M fundraising round and I was just named a Fellow in the Tory Burch Fellows Program.
Locally, we owe so much to retailers who believed in and supported Tot Squad and our mission to help busy parents. So much of Tot Squad’s success has been about understanding how we can support our partners’ objectives, whether it be a boutique maternity shop or a big box baby retailer, and what our customers’ needs are.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Like any business, we have had our ups and downs. One of the bigger challenges we have faced is fundraising, both as a non-tech startup and as a woman-owned business. Baby gear may not be “sexy” per se, at the end of the day, successful startups still rely on the ability to provide solutions to everyday dilemmas. We found that our mission and business model resonated with women-backed angel investor groups and those investments helped us to then appeal to other investor groups.
Tot Squad – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Tot Squad is a mobile business that offers baby gear cleaning, car seat installations and stroller repairs at different retail locations, daily. We also offer house calls and preschool events. What sets us apart is that we offer not only convenience, but also peace of mind: We use eco-friendly cleaning products from Honest Co. and have a team of certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians who are car seat safety experts. Our goal is to become the “Geek Squad” of the baby industry.
We are most proud of the 20,000 some parents we have helped (and counting!). We also volunteer in our communities to help low-income families with car seat education and installation, because every child deserves a clean, safe car seat.
What’s your favorite memory from childhood?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs and growing up, my father owned the Zilker Park Train in Austin, Texas. One of my favorite memories is riding the Zilker train around the park, which swings by Barton Creek and Lady Bird Lake. Zilker Park is such an iconic and beautiful part of Austin – it’s part of who I am!
- Car Seat & Stroller Cleaning: The Basics: Vacuum & wipe down $19.99 Lotta Love: Above plus sanitizing & light stain treatment $39.99 The Works: Above plus heavy stain treatment $59.99 The Full Monty: Above plus extensive deep cleaning & stain removal $79.99
- Car Seat Education Safety Check: Check a seat that has been installed $35 Safety School: Full installation education $50
- Stroller Repairs Tune Up $100 Repairs per hour $50
- Address: 3767 Overland Avenue #106
Los Angeles, CA 90034
- Website: http://thetotsquad.com
- Phone: (310) 895-9976
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com