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KikScore Interviews Zadyball Creator Alayna Slinker

May 10th, 2010 | Featured,Interviews,Online & Small Business Resources,Small Business | No Comments »

While recently shopping for a unique baby gift for a friend’s newest arrival, I stumbled upon Zadyball - a unique toy that combines the things babies love best: putting soft stuff in their mouth and having a snuggle buddy.  If only I’d found this when my daughter was that small!  Zadyball is a small company that is doing wonders for moms and babies around the globe!  We are very thankful that Alayna took the time to  share the exciting Zadyball journey with KikScore.

1. Tell us about Zadyball and who you focus on serving?

A Zadyball is a handcrafted toy designed with babies in mind. They are soft to hold and cuddle, and have lots of knotted fabric strings to grab and rub. Zadyball is easy for young babies to hold on to, and it quickly becomes a favorite!

I made the first Zadyball in 2004 when my son was about 6 months old. He had a stuffed animal with a knotted string for a tail. He loved playing with the string, and would rub it to help him fall asleep. Since the string was his favorite part of the toy, I decided to make a toy for him with lots of strings for him to play with.

He loved that ball SO much and took it with him everywhere we went, and refused to sleep without it.

We got comments on it all the time, usually to the effect of “what is that thing?” And, after I explained it, many people said “hey, my kid would like that too!” So, I decided to start making them for my friends and giving them as gifts at baby showers. Other shower guests started offering to buy them from me, and I eventually started selling them online and in small stores all over the world.

Our focus is to bring a little bit of happiness to the lives of babies and their families.

2. Where will Zadyball focus most of its energy in 2010?

This year, I’ve been focusing on giving the website a bit of a “facelift”. I’ve been working on improving the product images as well as optimizing the website for search engines.

3. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about having an online business, what are those?

One thing that I’ve learned is that quality pictures are CRUCIAL to online sales. In a “real” store, people can use all five senses to view a product. They can pick it up, shake it, feel it, throw it, even smell and taste it if they really want to. But, the only sense that is available when buying online is SIGHT. So, what they are seeing had better look good!

The second thing I’ve learned is how important it is to be unique. When shopping online, buyers can view products from all over the world side-by-side. You have to be one of a kind in order to stand out.

4. If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

Well, I think that to run my business, I’d like to be like Elasta-Girl from The Incredibles. I have to be flexible in order to make everything work. And I couldn’t do it without my family by my side – with all their super strengths!

5. If Zadyball could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

A fabulously stylish mom who wants to have fantastic toys for her children.  Someone who people can relate to.

6. How do the folks at Zadyball let loose after a busy day working?

In addition to running my business, I am a full-time mother of three, so I don’t have a lot of down-time.  Most often, my work is done while they are sleeping. But, my best times are spent just hanging out with my favorite people – my little munchkins, and my wonderful husband.

7. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

Never become complaisant. Always be on the lookout for ways to improve your business and your product. And listen to your customers – they are the best source for great ideas!

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