Get out of the office. Don’t just sit at your desk. We travel to many different new mom events around the country. We listen to what moms want in terms of fabrics and designs so that we are offering them the very best.
As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lauren Levy. Lauren is the co-founder of Magnetic Me, the magnetic-fastening layette company that sells to major retailers such as Nordstrom, Buy Buy Baby, Amazon, Von Mauer and over 3,000 local boutiques. After struggling to put a Velcro bib on her nephew and then seeing him cry from the Velcro ripping out his fine baby hair, Lauren thought, “why not a magnet which would be more gentle and fasten itself?” Two years later in 2010, after vigorous research and development, Magnetic Me came to market with a full line of infant’s wear to critical acclaim. Lauren lives outside of NYC with her husband and 3 children.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
After struggling to put a Velcro bib on my nephew and then seeing him cry from the Velcro ripping out his fine baby hair, I thought, “why not a magnet which would be more gentle and fasten itself?” I left the corporate world with my college friend Lawrence on a mission to make parents’ lives easier. Two years later in 2010, after vigorous research and development, Magnetic Me came to market with a full line of infant’s wear to critical acclaim.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
We have been so fortunate that celebrities love not only the functionality of our designs but also the prints. They post the most adorable photos of their babies wearing our products! Bravo’s Andy Cohen just shared a photo of his new baby son wearing our hotdog print, and Behati Prinsloo posted a photo of her and Adam Levine’s daughter on Christmas Day in our Aspen print. Hilary Duff, Carrie Underwood and Anna Kournikova are also fans of the brand.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When we launched, my partner Lawrence and I both were single with no children. We brought our analytical backgrounds to our company and researched and tested so thoroughly and completely on so many of our friends’ kids (and strangers too!). The biggest gratification came when I had my son and realized I wouldn’t change a single thing about how our clothing works or fits. Getting to use my own creations on my own children is like opening a gift every single day because I see all my hard work in action. At 2 am when I am on double diaper duty with one eye open, I am proud that our gowns and footies can close themselves so that I can go back to bed! It’s a double assist! I am so proud of our line and that we are able to help so many parents, too!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Other than the distinct feature our company was founded upon — the magnetic-fasteners — Magnetic Me is smart, soft and stylish. We take the essentials of a baby wardrobe and make them better with the softest, most luxe fabrics paired with whimsical and stylish designs and prints. Our signature magnetic closures make changing a baby, day or night, a breeze.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We just launched “An Heir is Born” collection to honor the arrival of Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex first royal baby. The newly launched collection pays homage to the future royal’s American and British heritages with whimsical designs. Available at Nordstrom.com or MagneticMe.com, the collection includes a gown, footie, bib, lovey and blanket so that parents on both sides of the pond can commemorate the occasion of their heir being born.
We created our first sold out royal baby collection for the birth of Prince George in 2013. I am a huge fan of the Royal Family and had the idea for the collections while visiting the UK during the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I loved that I could buy a souvenir to take home with me to commemorate the event. I was pregnant with my first child around the same time Kate was pregnant with George and I thought how cool it would be to have something to commemorate the birth of the first royal baby as well as the birth of my first. When we released the collection, we called it “An Heir is Born” to celebrate everyone’s little heir. We honestly didn’t think that anything could come close to as big of a worldwide royal phenomenon as Prince George until Prince Harry married an American. We knew from Day 1 that when the time came, we had to roll out a special “An Heir is Born” collection again, but this time include the baby’s American heritage.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
Communication, patience, and apps! Apps are great and definitely make your workday more efficient. These are a few of my favorites:
- Xero — This app has a much better user experience than Quickbooks and it allows you to track your company’s finances from anywhere.
- Adobe Fill & Sign — This app has been lifechanging for me. Not only does this let me scan important contracts from my phone but I can also sign and send. I love that this app turns photos into PDFs.
- Paypal and Venmo — These are a must-have. They help get the money in faster and allow me to pay vendors with ease, as well.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. 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’m grateful for my partner Larry, in taking a leap of faith with me to create this award-winning company and watch it grow for almost 10 years now. My mom was also a huge supporter of me in launching the business and I’m grateful to her as well.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Our infant clothing makes parents’ lives easier due to the sew-safe magnetic closures that close quickly and easily so parents can spend less time fussing with diaper changes and more time cuddling their little ones. Our clothes are also safer for babies and made with high-quality fabrics that don’t irritate baby’s skin.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. You can never have enough mentors.
I have been fortunate to have many over the course of my career. I have met some wonderful mentors.
2. Find a work/life balance.
I love lazy Sundays with my family where we choose our own adventure. These days to unwind are so important.
3. Be authentic.
People know when you are not being real.
4. Get out of the office. Don’t just sit at your desk.
We travel to many different new mom events around the country. We listen to what moms want in terms of fabrics and designs so that we are offering them the very best.
5. Never stop improving.
We’ve introduced a magical, silky-soft fabric that’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer called Modal to our lines. It’s certified as 100% BioBased by the US Department of Agriculture, and is responsibly farmed from Beechwood trees and manufactured in an environmentally friendly way.
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? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Our mission is to make parents’ lives easier. Our magnetic-fastening clothing helps parents and we wanted everything our brand stands for to further this mission. Everything from our tags and labels to how we laid out our website are geared towards making it super easy to help new parents during this sleep-deprived, wild. Moms today are the most socially forward and most cognizant about the importance of raising good and decent humans. I’m glad I get to help them and parent alongside them in this day and age.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it but by working for it,” Estee Lauder
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I would love to meet with Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, and be a part of her new mom journey. She is a phenomenon in her own right. She’s smart, fashionable, and an incredible role model.
Thank you for all of these great insights!