In Conversation with Maria Berglund of In Kind Boxes
Describe your business in a few words?
Moms on a mission with baby shower gifts that give back.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I wanted to be a source of love and support for new moms, especially moms in need. Gift boxes like ours didn’t really exist. We’re filling a gap by offering baby shower gifts that give back, as well as a gift that is for both moms and their babies.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I have been a stay at home mom since 2012 when my first son was born. I have always been interested in volunteering and giving back. When we moved to Oregon in 2013 I joined a local mom group to make friends for myself, and my son. I joined the Moms Club board then, and stayed on as President for 3 years because I cared about bringing moms together to support one another. When my youngest came in 2017 I took a break from it all and focused on family. In 2019 decided I wanted to give back in a bigger way and started In Kind Boxes.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
No. That was never a title I sought out, although I do love the independence of working for myself.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
I wouldn’t say we had a specific strategy in place. We reached out to friends and family and asked them to show our social channels love, and help us spread the word about our mission. It’s tough in the beginning getting the word out! We’re still working daily on building awareness for what we do. Influencer marketing has been very helpful in that regard.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
Last year we had a challenging time with supplies. Some essentials that we include in our gift boxes were extremely hard to find due to COVID-19. These items (infant healthcare kit & hand sanitizer spray) were standard in our gift boxes prior to the pandemic. It was really important for us to continue to have them in our donated gift boxes especially. When doing research with our nonprofit partners who work with families in need, I was told that the expense of a thermometer was something many families couldn’t afford. I wanted to ensure that families receiving our gift boxes had the healthcare kits for that reason. I worked really hard to source them because of it.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I am very proud of the work we do giving back. To me, that’s the most important thing- it’s why I started In Kind to begin with.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
As of right now, we don’t have any employees. In Kind is run by me and all of the day to day is me volunteering my time when I’m not busy with my kids. When we get to the point of hiring staff, I would look for folks who have a passion for our mission to give back.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
COVID-19 has impacted our work in a few ways:
- There are more families in need of our support than ever, so demand is high for donated boxes.
- We were hoping to build awareness about what we do by participating in physical events, but that’s not really happening in Oregon. I work on building relationships, and connecting with people through our social media channels instead.
- Fundraising is tough right now because many individuals and businesses have been impacted by the pandemic.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We just recently opened up our gift box donation program nationwide. Now we can help moms across the United States! As we continue to grow, I would love to have a physical location where we can have people help pack, deliver and ship gift boxes. I would also love more collaborations with businesses who want to donate products to our gift boxes, and help us help new moms.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Patience. When you’re passionate and driven, it’s hard to be patient, but sometimes it’s necessary.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I wish I was less afraid, and believed in my capabilities more. This is all new territory for me, and I had imposter syndrome in a big way.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I don’t know if there is such a thing as balance for moms. We have a lot on our plates usually. I’m always multitasking, and doing my best to juggle work and family. Some days my best means checking more things off my list than other days. This is where patience comes in. I try to have patience with myself if I don’t get to everything I wanted to that day.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I am Canadian 🙂
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Have a grateful mindset. I think about all the things I “get to” do for In Kind each day, rather than things I “have to” do.
- Write things down & make lists- they help me stay focused.
- Give yourself a break. Take time for yourself, drink water, get outside, move your body. Caring for myself helps me care for others better.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
I love reading about all of the inspirational Entreprenistas! Women are amazing. When we work together to lift each other up we are capable of doing great things.