Marketing is fun and very necessary. My goal is not just numbers; I want to tell a story about how we can change the way we clean and take care of families without harming ourselves and the environment. To get this message across, we must put effort into telling this story by teaming up with a marketing and digital agency on a local and national level, which is how I started a working relationship and partnership with Regan Communications, a public relations and digital marketing agency in Boston. Regan is helping me navigate the media, engage on social media and work with a digital team to target specific markets and demographics throughout the year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Cosco, founder and creator of MomRemedy.
Jen Cosco is the founder and creator of MomRemedy, an eco-friendly, sustainable, everything household cleaner and stain remover that is hydrogen peroxide-based, non-toxic, biodegradable, and naturally scented with citrus.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My great-grandfather made forged iron hardware and created Acorn Manufacturing in 1937 in Mansfield, Massachusetts, which is still in business today and run by my father. Acorn Manufacturing is known for making hardware and nails here in the U.S. My mother was a stay-at-home mom who cared for me and my siblings, and now I am a mom and realize it’s one of the toughest jobs of all! My mom has always loved and supported my family and our goals, I get that from my mom. Once I set my mind to do something, I immediately act; it runs in the family!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“This too shall pass” is a famous quote by Abraham Lincoln, although I was first introduced to it when reading “Awaken the Giant” by Tony Robbins. We all face challenges and hardships. Right now, the entire world is suffering through an unprecedented time that is causing pain and fear for many. In times like these, we all need to remember that even when things are difficult we can endure and learn from them, good times will come again, and we will be stronger from the experience. As a business owner, I have come back to this mantra time and time again. Business is hard and there are many ups and downs. It is the people who stick with it and keep fighting that find success, in whatever form that may be.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
About a year ago I started listening to NPR’s “How I Built This” podcast and the host, Guy Raz, interviews founders of the world’s largest well-known companies and uncovers stories of the companies they built. I often joke that before starting MomRemedy, I went to the ”How I Built This School of Business.” The stories of trials and tribulations these founders went through to create household names is truly inspiring and has provided me with many ideas on the best way to launch MomRemedy and share my mission with the world.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
My husband and I own Bluemar Promotions, a distribution company that launches consumer products into U.S. retail in Exeter, New Hampshire. Since 2007, we have been helping international brands establish a footprint in the American retail market. Being a business owner and working with retailers and brands from all over the world gave me the confidence to launch my own product into market. It started in 2019 with an idea and experimenting with ingredients to create an effective, non-toxic formula. I worked on a business plan and decided on the path of retail and grocery to reach as many families as possible. I have been able to utilize our established relationships and experience with retailers to get my cleaning collection in front of the right people.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
When the pandemic first hit, I was in the midst of running Bluemar with my husband while MomRemedy was still in the back of my mind. As with many other businesses, our sales slowed quite a bit during this time. While we were still busy with retail business that was planned the year before, our daily operations and new opportunities slowed substantially. With some extra time on my hands, I decided to dive back into my plans that began in 2019 to move forward with the creation of MomRemedy. I got to work on the logo and label design and poured myself into a business plan for MomRemedy to bring my vision to life.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
I was home during the stay-at-home order with my husband and two girls. With the entire family at home, things can get messy! And with the pandemic, we were on high alert for keeping things clean. I wanted to avoid strong chemicals, so I completely used all of the MomRemedy sample solution I had originally created. That’s when it dawned on me that I need more of this stuff, and if I do, then other families do too! I created MomRemedy because, as a mom, I was in search of an all-purpose, everyday household cleaner and stain remover that I felt confident about using around my family and I wanted to share this with others.
How are things going with this new initiative?
It’s going incredibly well! Initially, we began selling solely online through our website and Amazon. Soon after, we launched on HomeDepot.com and TheGrommet.com and MomRemedy is in demand! MomRemedy’s mission is to change the way families clean so my goal is to be on retail shelves everywhere, so everyone has the chance to become a MomRemedy friend. We have since partnered with United Natural Foods Incorporated (UNFI), the largest natural foods distributor in North America, so we can truly reach homes all over the country.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am beyond blessed to have a family who is extremely supportive. My husband, John, is my biggest advocate. From the conception of MomRemedy, he has believed in me and encouraged me to go for it. He is fully involved with MomRemedy and has been with me every step of the way and continues to support me and the business in any way he can.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
When I launched MomRemedy, I was not sure how people that I know personally would react. I knew my close friends and family would be supportive, but with social media, people I haven’t seen in years would be exposed to my new project. I was pleasantly surprised when old friends whom I hadn’t spoken to in years started buying MomRemedy and reaching out to me about how they were looking for a cleaner like this and how well it worked. Some even took to their own social accounts to share with their followers and friends. I felt so lucky to have such positive feedback from so many people!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Five things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization are things that surprised me when I began this venture in creating a non-toxic and effective everyday/everything household cleaner. I am grateful that no one told me these things at first because it may have deterred me from starting MomRemedy. Sometimes I think it’s better to be new to an industry so you do not have too many preconceived notions or anticipated obstacles.
- It is not easy to find chemical companies to work with on custom formulas, especially on small batches here in the U.S. I began this process myself, at first playing around with hydrogen peroxide solutions at my own home, and in order to go full-scale, I needed a company to make and bottle my solution. It took some research, but I was lucky to find a company who would start small and work with me to be sure that our solution is true to my mission for MomRemedy.
- Raw materials such as packaging and wipes were scarce. MomRemedy was not created in response to the pandemic, but it was timely in that people had and continue to have cleaning top of mind, now more than ever. However, that also created the challenge of packaging and material shortages. We have had to get creative to keep up with demand.
- Marketing is fun and very necessary. My goal is not just numbers; I want to tell a story about how we can change the way we clean and take care of families without harming ourselves and the environment. To get this message across, we must put effort into telling this story by teaming up with a marketing and digital agency on a local and national level, which is how I started a working relationship and partnership with Regan Communications, a public relations and digital marketing agency in Boston. Regan is helping me navigate the media, engage on social media and work with a digital team to target specific markets and demographics throughout the year.
- Be prepared to be interviewed. I was so lucky to have TV, print, and online news outlets reach out for interviews. This is new to me, so it was a bit nerve-wracking, but with proper media training and practice, it is not as scary as I once thought and as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect.
- Before you can benefit from the economies of scale, the start-up costs are higher than you would expect. Small batches can be pricey. From buying your inventory, to shipping, to marketing, it adds up quickly. I am fortunate that we had our current business to assist in getting MomRemedy off the ground!
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
I try not to watch too much news at one time, though I do like keeping up with current events, especially during this time. I want to stay informed, so I periodically check in on the topics that are relevant and leave it at that. I tend to listen to, read, and watch “news” publications with inspiring content that I can learn from and motivate me in business and my community. When I can’t avoid the news, like when an election is underway or a pandemic is ongoing, I try to remember the mantra I mentioned before, “This too shall pass,” and to focus on what I have control over while doing my best for my family and community.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I will relate this to women in business. I think there has never been a better time in history to be a woman in America. While we still see some instances of inequality and discrimination, such as in the workplace, women are coming together and supporting each other now more than ever and men are, too! Do not be afraid to go for it, whatever “it” may be, and ask for what you want and deserve. If you have an idea for a business, do it. The best inventions are created to fulfill a need. If an idea comes to you and it fills a need or want that you have, then most likely other people will feel the same. You can start small and see where the idea goes.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Sara Blakely, the creator of Spanx. She is an inspiration to all entrepreneurs (especially women) and I really identify with her entrepreneurial spirit. I love her public persona; she is very real, funny, and relatable.
How can our readers follow you online?
Instagram/Facebook @momremedy and our website, www.mom-remedy.com.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!