Notable Minnesota Moms: Lucie Hunter, Momspit
Categories: Advice, Ideas & Stories
By Julie Burton
I feel so lucky to be able to be meeting so many bright, creative, go-getter Minnesota moms who are coming up with fabulous ideas to make our lives as moms better, brighter, cuter, more interesting, and now cleaner! And Lucie Hunter is one of those moms. Prior to meeting Lucie, I had only seen Momspit on her website, but I have to admit when I opened the Spit Kit (press kit for Momspit) and got to feel and smell the product, I was completely SOLD. What mom doesn't lick her finger to clean some chocolate off her son's face because she is just about to go into her in-laws house and she can't have him looking like a total disaster? Or how about a little spit to tame some of her daughter's fly-away hairs? O.k., we've all done it, but it is pretty disgusting, and when your child gets old enough to figure out what you are doing, he or she will NOT allow it. So, what's a mom to do? As far as I'm concerned, Momspit is the answer. The small bottle is great to throw in your purse and I now have the big bottle in the glove box of my car. So, it's goodbye to the alcohol-laden hand sanitizers, which you'd never use on your kid's face, and goodbye to those tedious, environmentally unfriendly baby wipes that always run out when you need them...and hello Momspit.
"Inspired by the original" is the tagline for Momspit, and that it was. A few years ago, Lucie was with her friend and former co-worker Shelley Armstrong, of Toronto, Canada, at the Mall of America, and they had been talking about wanting to do or create "something"-- they talked about household cleaners. And right then Shelly did something that most moms do several times a day, but at this particular time, and for this particular mom, it would change the direction of these women's creative talents from inventing a new kind of soap to...yes, Shelley did that spit on the finger thing to wipe off some goop from her son's face, and of course her son screamed "gross!" "Someone should bottle mom spit," Lucie said. And that's what they did. In May 2007, after a year and a half of intensive research, Lucie, Shelley, and their third business partner, Kim Dixon of Ottawa, Canada, introduced Momspit to the marketplace.
Only months after the product hit the stores, TV cameras followed a woman by the name of Paris Hilton (you may have heard of her), walking into Intuition (a boutique in Los Angeles), where she bought thousands of dollars worth of products for her friend (at the time, anyway) Nicole Richie (you may have heard of her too) who was pregnant. E! News featured three of the products that Paris bought. And yes, Momspit was one of them! Kudos to our Minnesota mom! Needless to say, Lucie's phone starting ringing. Paris Hilton and I are not the only ones who thought Momspit was "it." The product was featured in the January 2008 issue of Redbook, and Janet Zappala picked Momspit as a "jewel" on Janet's Jewels and Junk, which spotlights some her best and worst consumer picks and airs as a segment on Cn8.tv's Art Fennell Reports.
Lucie and partner are well equipped to deal with the success of Momspit. Lucie, originally from Canada, had worked in the high tech world of software, before becoming a mom to twin boys 7 years ago. Her customers were Fortune 500 companies and her territory was 1/3 of the U.S. Kim, a single mom of a 14-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter, works full time (in addition to handling the marketing and sales for Momspit), and was named Ottawa's Businesswoman of the Year in 2006 for her work in marketing and communications. Shelley initially handled the online sales for Momspit, but is now pursuing other interests.
Lucie heads up corporate for Momspit, as well as doing sales and back up marketing. Coming from the high tech field, which she describes as being very male-dominated, she is delighted to feel a kinship with moms across the country. In fact, she attributes much of the success of Momspit to "mom bloggers," who she is extremely grateful to as they "really get it and are our biggest advocates," she says. Momspit is sold in 50 boutiques in the United States and Canada, the majority of which are owned by women/moms. Locally, you can find Momspit at Pacifier in Minneapolis. The co-owner, Quyen Tran, has been a huge advocate of the product and has been very helpful to Lucie in spreading the word. "It's fun work, and it's exciting because of the positive response we've been getting," Lucie explains. "Occasionally, people don't like the name, but we wanted to market to hip, cool moms, and the majority of people we want to "get it" do.
As much as Lucie loves working full time on Momspit, she also loves being mom to her boys. "I drop them off at school, work all day, and after school I do the 'mom thing'." After the kids go to bed, Lucie often spends another three hours working. "The kids have been involved since the beginning," Lucie explains. They were involved with the "sniff tests" when picking Momspit scents and the kids gave their feedback about the product as it was being developed. "When the kids help me put a "Spit Kit" together that we send off to a store, and the store buys Momspit to sell in their store, I give the kids each a dollar," Lucie explains. But what if the store doesn't buy it, the kids would ask. All the more reason to keep trying...
Lucie says that she and her partner would like to get Momspit into more boutiques, gift shops, and travel shops, as well as into stores in airports across the U.S. and Canada. The small bottle is 2 oz. so it can be taken onto airplanes. They are looking into more fun Momspit scents, as well as looking into some other products. But for now, I am pretty certain that as happy as moms are about Momspit, our kids are jumping for joy!
, Feature Stories
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