11 Colorado Entrepreneurs Creating Better Products for Families

by nizowear

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11 local women paving their own path

They say that need is the necessity of invention and these 11 Colorado women would agree. They’ve founded businesses and worked hard to create unique products that help parents everywhere. Read on for a list of women you have got to meet and some of their favorite things about living in this colorful state.

Nicole Zoellner – Nizo Wear Nursing Brassmall 2 cropped

Nizo Wear nursing bras were inspired by the real-life experience of the company’s founder, Nicole Zoellner. When Nicole’s baby arrived, she discovered something distressing: sometimes, breastfeeding hurts. For her, it was downright agonizing. After a lot of searching and testing her nursing bra with pocket design was patented, and Nizo Wear was born. They have since expanded their line to include: removable molded pads and a, locally made, infinity breastfeeding scarf that includes Nizo Wear’s signature pocket. Nicole is doing for other nursing moms what no-one had been able to do for her: provide a practical, comfortable way to get relief from the soreness breastfeeding mothers often experience; all while incorporating a little style.

small croppedFavorite local thing to do with family? It is so hard to choose just one favorite! My husband, son and I love most things outdoors, which is one reason we live in beautiful Colorado. One of our favorite activities is mountain biking at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder.

Favorite Local Restaurant? Our most frequented eatery is definitely Menchies, in Longmont, for frozen yogurt. They change their flavors monthly and allow you to put your own toppings on; Heaven! Our new favorite ‘real food’ restaurant is The Pump House in Lafayette for their generous menu selection, portions and TV’s playing sports to appease my sports loving son and husband!

Online: nizowear.com

Megan Gage – Hot Tot Children’s HaircareHot Tot Complete Line

What started with a mom seeking safe and effective hair products for her infant son quickly became a children’s style sensation.  Scouted for Shark Tank within the first year of business, Hot Tot creator Megan Gage gained the support of billionaire investor Mark Cuban.  Hot Tot offers a complete selection of professional products designed to cleanse, condition and style.  Their formulas were created for the structural uniqueness of kid’s hair; their signature scent was inspired by the Cabbage Patch Doll.  The brand has since played a critical role in kid’s trendsetting, styling campaigns, editorials and even a few celeb-u-tots.

Favorite loM - C Hot Totcal thing to do with family? My family loves a day at the Denver Zoo.  We have yearly passes and visit during every season.

Favorite Local Restaurant? Sushi Den is one of my favorite places to go sans kiddos.  As a family, we enjoy The Melting Pot (in Littleton) and White Fence Farm.

Online: hottot.com


Shelly Coffman- Poppy DropsSONY DSC

Poppy Drops was created due to a dilemma lots of us face – when to pierce a little girl’s ears? Our very first product, our temporary tattoo earrings made with veggie-dyes, were my solution to this problem for my daughter and I decided that other Moms would want them too! From our signature “earrings” came other products designed to make life easier for parents, yet still allow kids to be independent and have fun with their own accessories and “beauty” products! We now offer Tattoo Nail Art, Mix & Match Tattoo Jewelry, Perfume Sticks & Lip Luster – all of which are made here in the USA with natural, kid-friendly ingredients.

IMG_1724Favorite thing to do with my husband & three kids? Wow… such a hard question when you live in Colorado. I’d say my very favorite thing to do is camp at Turquoise Lake in Leadville.  It is one of the most peaceful, beautiful places I’ve ever been and we all have fun hiking, fishing, biking… you name it! Makes for the perfect weekend getaway.

Favorite Restaurant?  Ok, I’m a pizza girl.  I LOVE pizza and could eat it for every meal.  That said, one of my favorites things to do is grab a beer at the Denver Beer Company (on Platte Street) and then head down a block to Protos for a perfect, Napolean style pizza.  Makes me hungry just thinking about it!

 Online: www.poppydrops.com

Lyssa Surface- LillyBit lyssa and clutch

LillyBit designs and manufactures stylish and functional baby products and accessories for modern on-the-go moms. Whether its the compact patented multi-functional clutch to hold all diapering necessities when out for an active day, the extremely easy to maneuver diaper bag for longer trips or fun little fashionable accessories like the dual paci pod/strap set – LillyBit has mom and baby covered. Lyssa Surface came up with the idea for the LillyBit Uptown Diaper Clutch after feeling frustrated changing her daughter in public restrooms. When Lyssa couldn’t find a small and stylish bag to accommodate her needs, she decided to create one. Enlisting the help of fashion designer, Jessica Schifman, to help shape her vision into a real-life product, the women collaborated, and talked to mothers to develop the uniquely functional LillyBit Uptown Diaper Clutch.

Favorite locSurface Family Pic SMALLal thing to do with family? Hiking in the mountains taking in the scenery, much needed quiet family time and a recharge for the soul. Or a bike ride down to Sweet Cow on warm summer days.

Favorite Local Restaurant? Huckleberry’s. Love the warm cozy environment with a large enough menu to satisfy the entire family. It always makes me happy to walk through the front door and my girls love the treasure box… and pancakes!

Online: uptowndiaperclutch.lillybit.com

Suellen and Rachel Riedel- Oh, That Baby! Ltd.toofeze product shot

This mother-daughter team behind Toofeze set out to create a teether that isn’t just another toy in the toy box. After raising two babies, Suellen made an interesting observation – teething babies love metal! Asking other parents, she found babies like to chew on everything from pop cans to the ‘metal strip that holds the carpet down!’ She enlisted her daughter to help as she started on this incredible journey. This Colorado-based duo brought to market a teething ring that really works! “We are dedicated to raising the standard for acceptable baby teethers and improve the lives of babies and their families during one of the most challenging phases of infant development.” In 2010, Toofeze was born and began selling across the US and Canada and has gained popularity in households around the world. Receiving eight industry awards and multiple pediatric and dental endorsements, Toofeze is well on its way to being recognized as “the COOLEST teether ever!”

Suellen and Rachel Riedel-toofeezeWhat is your favorite local family activity? Our annual drives through the Rockies to Fish Creek Falls, Steamboat, during the change of seasons. . . Breathtaking!

What is your favorite local restaurant? The Perfect Landing Restaurant, right on Centennial Airport. Great place to take kids to watch the planes, with a view of the mountains, and a piano playing in the background. Their mimosas are good too!

Online: www.toofeze.com

Nicole Bartet – Loopy GearLoopy product shot

Loopy Gear was created by mother of three (including a set of twins), Nicole Bartet, when her first child at the age of three months insisted on continually dropping his toys.  Baby Luc would be given a rattle, play with it for five seconds, stare his mother directly in the eyes and throw it to the dirty ground and giggle. Sure, he loved to watch his toy fall, but he had something bigger in mind.  Since that fateful day Luc’s invention has been loved by moms and babies all over the world and has blossomed into a growing company.  Loopys are now keeping babies clean and safe with our original Loopy and the brand new Wigglebib!  Loopys are the stylish and functional baby rattle/teether holder designed to attach baby’s favorite toy to their wrist.  They are available in both Premium and Organic lines.  The new Wigglebib, a shopping cart and restaurant high chair harness designed to keep little ones safe in their seats and give parents peace of mind.  Stylishly designed and practical!  Loopy Gear products are made in the USA right here in Colorado.

Loppy familypic2014What is your favorite local family activity? Since we are a family that likes adventure, we love checking out the weekend ‘to do’s’ online and pick something new to do.  We’ve done everything from hiking, biking, camping, The Children’s Museum, Denver Zoo (Zoo Lights was pretty amazing), Seasonal events, and especially local races.  Our favorite is the Cherry Creek Sneak where our whole family dresses up in costume to run.  We’ve won the costume contest two years in a row!

What is your favorite local restaurant? We love, love, love Lucille’s!  It’s New Orleans Creole style food and it’s delicious!  There are three locations in the area, but I have to say my favorite is the one in Boulder that is based out of an old house.  The coolest part are the community tables where you can make new friends you might not have otherwise met.  For the kiddos, we found that the Littleton location has more room and caters better to kids.  AND…Lucille’s  loves the preggos out there, you get priority seating if you’re expecting!

 Online: www.loopygear.com

Katie and Matt Halverstadt – Hudlo Skin to Skin Clothinghudlo product shots

Hudlo’s products were created out of personal necessity by the company’s founders. Katie, a registered nurse and IBCLC at Lutheran Medical Center, knows the benefits of Skin to Skin; yet during her first birth she and son Hudson, who was delivered via an emergency cesarean section, were separated for over three hours due to hospital practice. For Katie’s second pregnancy with daughter Harlow, she was determined to keep her daughter on her chest immediately after she was born. Matt, her innovative and loving husband, designed a Skin to Skin shirt for Katie to wear to keep Harlow warm and safe on her chest. Katie and Matt knew parents everywhere should know all about Skin to Skin and its benefits. Today the dual purpose Hudlo Kangaroo Care shirt is used for immediate Skin to Skin Care in the Operating Room and for use with preemies in the NICU. The Hudlo Skin to Skin Carrier is ASTM Certified and will carry babies from 5-20 pounds. It is designed to be worn as a shirt when baby is not being carried Skin to Skin.

halverstadt family colorWhat is your favorite local family activity? Our family loves the Colorado outdoors, and enjoys swimming at Eldorado Springs Pool then hiking to the falls in the afternoon to fish.

What is your favorite local restaurant? Our favorite local restaurant is Southern Sun in Boulder where the beer is well crafted and the service is excellent. The FYIPA and Colorado Kind Ale are excellent and the nachos are a family favorite!

Online: hudlobaby.com


Julie Ekstrom Kanga Careproduct shot

Julie has made a revolutionary impact on the market of cloth diapers for the baby industry.  While filling a personal need to find a better diapering solution for her own family, Julie created, developed and now produces diapering solutions with patented leak protection technology.  Kanga Care, was formed in 2007 after an overwhelming response from the public to purchase the diapers Julie designed and had sewn for her daughter.  This original diaper was the Rumparooz One Size Pocket Diaper.  Julie, now a mother to 5, has since gone on to conceptualize and bring to market many more brands and accessory products for Kanga Care.  In 2009 she debuted the Lil Joey which is a newborn and preemie diaper, filling the need in the market for the gap between small babies and when the one size diapers start to fit.  In 2010 she launched the EcoPosh Recycled Organics, a brand which encompasses diapers and potty training solutions made out of organic cotton, bamboo and recycled water bottles. Since 2007 Kanga Care has kept more than 300 MILLION disposable diapers from ending up in our landfills.

Julie Ekstrom - Kanga care family photoWhat is your favorite local family activity? I’m not sure that you can actually ask this question of someone who lives in Colorado!  Something outdoors for sure.  Depending on the weather that can be anything form sledding to riding our bikes through Waterton Canyon.  We love to camp as well and this gives us a chance to travel with the children.  Having 5 kids we don’t have the opportunity to get out and travel the countryside.  Camping gives us lots of travel opportunities within Colorado that are fairly quick to get to!

What is your favorite local restaurant? Hands down Osteria Marco. Now my mouth is watering. Thanks.

Online: kangacare.com

Courtney is a Boulder mom to 3 girls and created the Milk It Kit to help working, breastfeeding moms pump in peace without having to worry about other employees walking in on their pumping sessions, making comments about their unmarked breast milk in the community fridge (i.e. “what is THAT?”) or even worse, using it in their coffee (it has happened)! With various signs and waterproof milk labels, the Kit also helps stay at home and traveling moms organize and transport their milk.

The Milk It Kit was created based on Courtney’s own experiences as a working, breastfeeding mom that pumped–and pumped–milk for her first born, and with the feedback from many hardworking moms nationwide! Courtney hopes these tools will not only protect moms and their milk, but also help them feel good about pumping at work.  This milk is “not for lattes” and this mama WILL CRY over spilled milk!

courtney family photoFavorite thing to do with family? We love going on family bike rides, which is becoming more fun now that we don’t have to pull ALL three girls in the Burley.  We ride down to Pearl Street and along the creek, stopping in for a bite to eat here and there. A sunny day in Boulder is hard to beat!
Favorite Local Restaurant? Our whole family loves Pica’s Mexican Taqueria in Boulder – our daughters enjoy the burritos and sidewalk chalk while we “grown-ups” can’t resist their amazing chips and guac, shrimp tacos and of course the margaritas. 
 birds and bees teas product shot

Jennifer Roth – Birds & Bees Teas

Our mission at Birds & Bees Teas is to encourage the health and well-being of mamas and their families by offering 100% natural, organic and delicious herbal infusions. We strive to only use the best possible ingredients and share current information on safe, gentle and effective herbal tea use during pregnancy. Birds & Bees wants to share our love of loose leaf blends by encouraging mamas to create a daily self-care habit of sipping slowly. We believe that it’s important to support birth professionals, advocate for evidence based care and give back to the community through organizations that champion quality maternal health care for all. 

Jennifer RothFavorite local thing to do? My husband and our two labs love to be outside, here in Colorado! Our most favorites are hiking, snowboarding, & water-skiing.

Favorite Local Restaurant? Our favorite local restaurant is the Phoenician Kabob in Denver, fantastic Middle Eastern food!

Online: BirdsAndBeesTeas.com

Lisbeth Lehan – LÍLLÉbabyKelly Warren Lillebaby

Lisbeth Lehan is the woman behind the brand that brought you the very stylish and exceptionally functional LÍLLÉbaby COMPLETE baby carriers.  As native Norwegian, her designs are based on Scandinavian design principles: high functionality and simplicity paired with elegant sophistication.  Each product is designed to “grow with your child” and be multifunctional.  When Lisbeth started LÍLLÉbaby, she did not only start as a mom with a product; she started with a team of moms and dads, designers, a chiropractor, a rock climber, pediatricians, fashion consultants, safety experts and hours and hours of “day-in-a-life” studies of parents with a goal to make baby products that would reduce hassle, simplify life with a baby, and thereby truly improve parents quality of life.  Since it’s founding in 2001 the LÍLLÉbaby brand has grown tremendously and is now distributed in 30 countries and has become a go-to product for parents across the world. 

IMG_7364-Edit[1]Favorite local thing to do with family? Like most other mothers my favorite thing is to do things with my family. Anything. Colorado is a great place for families. With the many local ski trails we often go cross country skiing, make a fire in the snow, cook hot dogs and roast marshmallows. 

Favorite Local Restaurant? If I were to pick (just) one, I would say Colterra: the food is amazing and, when weather allows, you can sit outside under lighted mature trees. It is also my choice because of the values they represent. I admire the many ways Chef Bradford Heap contributes to the community and causes, including to March of Dimes. I just wish I could go there more often.

Online: lillebaby.com



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