Episode 63: Kelley Higney on The Bug Bite Thing

business Aug 23, 2022
Kelley Higney knows the Bug Bite Thing

Kelley Higney has solved the problem of summer bug bites with Amazons number one seller, the Bug Bite Thing.

When Kelley moved to South Florida to learn the family business, she had no idea that solving the problem of her daughter severe reaction to mosquito bites would lead her into an even bigger business. Kelley found a suction tool solution and has branded it and now sells it worldwide as a simple, chemical free way to reduce the impact of summers biggest pain - bug bites. The Bug Bite Thing was seen on Shark Tank where Kelley was given offers from all 5 sharks! Join us as we talk about her journey and the worldwide impact this simple summer solution has had.

Connect with Kelley personally on Facebook or Instagram, or with the Bug Bite Thing on Facebook, Instagram or their website.

Kelley's favorite gadget is the Unbuckle Me tool 

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This is a transcript of the This Mom Knows Podcast - Episode - 63

Jennifer Uren
Kelley Higney is the founder and CEO of Bug Bite Thing, the chemical free reusable insect bite relief suction tool that is Amazon's number one selling insect bite treatment. Now you all already know that it's one of my favorite gadgets, but it's also a huge favorite with others because it has over 45,000 reviews. Kelly is a member of Fast Company Executive Board and Forbes Business Council. She's the recipient of many awards and was named Female Entrepreneur of the Year by the 2021 Stevie Awards for Women in Business. But more than that Kelley is a mom of two girls on a mission to make life easier by removing the discomfort and irritation of bug bites. So welcome, Kelley.

Kelley Higney
Thank you. Thank you so much for the kind intro. You, you nailed my life.

Jennifer Uren
Isn't that interesting? We can be summed up like that. And it's always feels good when people get it. Right?

Kelley Higney
Yeah! Thank you!

Jennifer Uren
We can sum up motherhood I think to in bug bite irritation, because like summer is great except for those bites.

Kelley Higney
That's probably called journey started my, my with my children.

Jennifer Uren
That's great. Well, I know you're passionate about the Bug Bite Thing. And we'll talk about that in a minute, but what do you do for fun when you're not working on growing your business?

Kelley Higney
Yeah, it's been a balance. Being spotlighted through Shark Tank and all the fast growth has been a new challenge for me. How do I balance it all? So I make it a very big point to normalize this for my children. I involve them in the company. But we have fun. We take many staycations in between work. We are extremely involved in their schooling. And, you know, I drive my kids to school every day my husband picks them up. We have dinner together. So really just making sure that even though I'm thriving, and I love my career, that there's equally enough balance with my children, so they don't feel - they don't really know they just are like, "wow, this is amazing Mom, this is cool." This is - so lots of outdoor activities. We like fishing we like you know staycations, decompressing, nature, anything to decompress from the stress at work,

Jennifer Uren
Right. Yes. Well, and it sounds like you tried really hard to make work an element of a lifestyle as opposed to the thing around which everything is built. And that's that's part of what makes a mission, right, when you can live it out instead of compartmentalize it.

Kelley Higney
Yep, absolutely.

Jennifer Uren
Well good. Well, in we're going to talk now about what you know, which is really this simple summer solution to bug bites. But in 30 seconds or less, why don't you tell us what the Bug Bite Thing is and what it does.

Kelley Higney
Sure. So Bug Bite Thing is a chemical free suction tool. When an insect bites or stings, you what they're doing is they're leaving their saliva or venom just under the surface of the skin. It's your own body reacting to that irritant. So this product, suctions it out, you place it over a bite or sting, slowly pull up on the handles just until you feel a comfortable suction, should never be painful, hold let that your attempt be drawn into the removable end cap, push those handles back down to release. And cap comes off. You can flip it around for smaller areas like fingers or toes. It works amazing on bees, wasps, mosquito bites, ant bites, we're getting an enormous amount of people saying it's working on all types of other bites like sea lice, and fleas. Also splinter removal, so we're not having to use tweezers on children. So the product is eliminating the problem in a sense, versus masking it with creams, which a lot of them are full of chemicals, and you have to reapply constantly. So it's been a game changer for us personally, and obviously millions and millions of others at this point, which has been the most rewarding thing.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. And I'll tell you, my husband was so skeptical when I got it. So I took I had two mosquito bites side by side and I treated one and not the other. And hes was like, "Oh, wow." So yeah, it works. It works.

Kelley Higney
We hear this story over and over. And you know, one of the biggest obstacles when I started this was the skepticism, or introducing a completely new concept to the market on how to resolve the problem versus masking it. So people immediately think it's not going to work. They immediately didn't get the cream or there's something that applies. So some of our biggest challenges have been education.

Jennifer Uren
Yes

Kelley Higney
You know, educating the market it exists. There's actually science behind it. There's clinical testing on the product. And now that we have it in so many hands we've got the feedback and the feedback is what's driving the brand. It's over and over and over these scenarios of people getting life changing relief, where nothing else on the market has been working for them.

Jennifer Uren
So yeah, that's amazing.

Kelley Higney
It's exciting.

Jennifer Uren
That's great. Well, I saw somewhere that you actually come from a long line of entrepreneurs. So was this your first entrepreneurial endeavor? Or had you tried something else before?

Kelley Higney
No. So I grew up in an office, I always joke with people. My grandmother started her own company 56 years ago, a distribution company, mainly focusing on international business. My mother then took over that company, and it's been in, you know, successful for over 30/40 years. And then I moved from California to South Florida to learn my family owned business. When I moved, we were not prepared for how bad the mosquitoes here in South Florida were going to completely affect our quality of life. So instead of me being able to fully focus on a career, I was literally in doctors offices every week with my young daughter who swells horrendously. One bite turns into a golf ball size welt. I was dealing with antibiotics and steroid treatments. So it became a really big problem for us. So I started researching because nothing over the counter here in the US was working. And I discovered a suction tool that was being sold through some industrial first aid kits. And the premise behind it was it removed the irritant so your body stops producing the reaction. So couldn't believe that would work, right? Or it'd be everywhere. So I ordered one in and I tried it, and it was a game changer. All the pain, the swelling, the discomfort disappeared in a matter of seconds. The real test then became on my daughter, who was the real sufferer who I was dealing with on a daily basis, and her reaction started to diminish. We would catch the bite early enough, and she just would never form that welt. And I couldn't get it out of my head. So I ended up tracking down the owner of the product. And I said, I think everybody needs one of these, especially here in the United States. I said every mom has nothing to provide their child except for chemicals at this point. So at the time, he granted me the exclusive distribution rights for just the US. I branded it Bug Bite Thing,

Jennifer Uren
okay.

Kelley Higney
And I started selling them at my daughter's preschool during bake sales, and then I branched out into farmer's markets. And I was, this was just off of a test order I had ordered from the factory at the time. And then once I started getting the enormous amount of feedback, and people were tracking me down in parking lot saying I need one. That was when I made the decision to leave my family owned business and try to go all in with Bug Bite Thing. Terrifying. We ended up selling our house, which was a huge step for us to invest in the inventory I thought I needed to be able to launch this the proper way. I went about a month all in and I was hitting it hard. I was reaching out to news stations. I was reaching out to news publications, anybody that would hear me. And I ended up landing in a mom group, I became a topic of conversation, people were trying to track down the mom that had the suction tool. And a news reporter happened to be in that thread. And they direct messaged me through Facebook and said can we come out to your house and do a story on you in two hours? I said, "Okay. Sure." So they came out my house is full of packing stations. At this point my kitchen is converted into like a warehouse. They came out they did a whole story on me. It was Mother's Day weekend. And the next day after it aired, it got syndicated to over 30 news stations in the United States. And all of my inventory that I sold my house for sold out in about a week. And that was my first real little sniff of "Wow. Like there is an interest in this. I knew in my own local community but maybe on a national level this is a real problem."

Jennifer Uren
Yes.

Kelley Higney
So I I kept going.

Jennifer Uren
Okay

Kelley Higney
I taught myself social media marketing. I started taking Udemy classes, which was very grassroots. And I was putting $10 a day and recouping that and putting it back in. My marketing was gaining a lot of attention. We were having some success on my own. And that ended up catching the attention of a Shark Tank producer.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, yes. Yes, and that's, that's where I first heard about this. I saw you on Shark Tank. And I know you had multiple sharks wanting to work with you. In fact, my daughter, she's 14, her her best one of her best friends is like a Shark Tank Junkie, and she is so jealous that I'm talking to you today. She knows all the things. So anyways, you know, it was really an impressive one because, you know, often, you know, you get one or two or they poopoo the idea, but to have all of them competing and wanting to work with you. What was that experience? Like? I mean,

Kelley Higney
It was surreal. Everything you saw was real

Jennifer Uren
Okay

Kelley Higney
They don't re-edit it. I went on, that was a conversation, okay. It was very live. No do overs. They all were interested, we got offers from all the sharks.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah.

Kelley Higney
Then they started teaming up with each other, which was extremely overwhelming when you're being put on the spot. But Lori Grenier offered us her golden ticket, which she gives out one per season. And she was somebody I had my eyes set on going into it. Her customer base and her business, ethics and model really aligned with what I was trying to accomplish. So when she whipped it out, I was frozen in fear, but she was the one that I wanted to go with. So we went with Lori, our deal closed. So she's definitely a part of Bug Bite Thing, which is extremely exciting.

Jennifer Uren
That's great.

Kelley Higney
Yeah

Jennifer Uren
So, so what what I mean, you've mentioned it was it was fearful. But what what is it actually like to present on the show? What's, like you said they don't edit the conversation. But I'm assuming I've always assumed that it was much longer that they edit it down. And so you don't see the whole thing. But it sounds like you're saying they don't manipulate the conversation. Yeah, they just truncate it is that correct?

Kelley Higney
I think so I can't speak for every entrepreneur on the show, because I honestly don't know every single person's experience. I I'm friends with a lot of the entrepreneurs. So I do hear way different experiences than maybe my experience. But for us, our presentation was probably maybe 30 to 40 minutes, which is very short in comparison to some of the other entrepreneurs I talked to. Sometimes they can go up to two hours, hour and a half. And then they trim it down to eight, eight minute segment. So a lot does get you know, tweaked and, and whatnot but for our experience, it was pretty much right on they barely cut out. I can't even recall anything they cut out that was major.

Jennifer Uren
Okay.

Kelley Higney
But it was surreal. Like I feel like portions I blacked out. It was spotlights it was they are sitting in front of you. I, my personal experience, I feel like they're, they're sharks. So their goal is to get their answers the quickest they can. So then if it fits their round, they're gonna make you an offer, as first to hope that you jump on. So when they all started shouting out stuff that became very overwhelming,

Jennifer Uren
I bet

I didn't want to be rude and I'm like, "Hold on, let me answer your question, then yours then yours"

Right! Can I write all these down.

Kelley Higney
Ahh! That part is very true. Very true. It gets very intimidating. But again, my experience was nothing but excellent. The staff was great to us. The sharks were all really humble to us. And I don't know, I can't speak for everybody. But our experience was wonderful.

Jennifer Uren
That's great. And so then you signed the deal. And then how quickly afterwards, did you start working with her and getting things going?

Kelley Higney
Yeah, we started immediately working with her cow business is structured a little different. So I don't know if that fits the same path as everybody else. But like we had after Shark Tank happened, we had an influx of people. Number one reach out to our factory saying we want to sell this product. But the problem with our factory is they sold the OEM product right? Bug Bite Thing is my brand. So I ended up working, including Lori, Lori helped us put contracts together, we ended up partnering with our global partners, they've converted everything now to Bug Bite Thing Europe. So now we are in a global contract tackling this product under one brand name worldwide. And so that has been huge. The other component that happened after Shark Tank was all the retailers jumped on so this year we're in over 30,000 retail locations which is mind boggling to me because I started this out of my garage.

Jennifer Uren
I know, right?

Kelley Higney
When you think about it and put it in perspective, it's very it's very surreal because you dream about these things. But then when people are texting you saying, "Hey your products in Walmart" "Hey, I just bought it at CVS" "Hey," and it's like I Yeah, I've got it there. And it's helping people. And, you know, the feedback that we get, I think is what drives the entire brand. We listen to our customers, they're the ones that have driven the brand since day one, I didn't have any money, and I started it. So I depended on my customers to give me the feedback of how they were receptive to the product, how I can teach them for them to get it. All the technical jargon that we use now suction tool, all that stuff is created from me, you know, like that suction tool was not a thing before we started Bug Bite Thing

Jennifer Uren
Right

Kelley Higney
I, you know, we started the SEO around it, we started the teaching the model behind it. So it's been it's been a lot of work, and grow very fast growth, which also can hinder businesses having that much quick growth.

Jennifer Uren
Right.

Kelley Higney
So obstacles.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, because it can be if you're not ready to scale, then those things can collapse businesses often. So we were on vacation recently, and I had to run into Walgreens to get something and there was your display. And I was like, it's so fun to see it. See it in the real world. Right?

Kelley Higney
Yeah. And imagine doing it from your garage, right? It's so surreal for me to be and then like I said, the people's feedback is the same. Like it's life changing for me and my daughter. It's the same thing amongst the board, you know, and it's, that keeps me going.

Jennifer Uren
So you've alluded to this a little bit. And especially since this has been such a part of your family and your lifestyle and coming from your garage and your dining room table. Yeah. But when it came to you, to your family and growing your business, what were sort of those main priorities that you said, "Okay, I'm going all in on the business, but I need to make sure I focus my energy on these things when it comes to my family."

Kelley Higney
Yeah

Jennifer Uren
What, what did you, what did you do? What did you make sure happened? So that they sort of didn't get swallowed up in the busyness of it all?

Kelley Higney
That's a really good question. So I would say I tackled it in phases, because my children were at different ages when I started the company. So when I first started Bug Bite Thing, my oldest daughter, who's now nine, I started this when she was suffering at one. Okay, so she started, you know, I had no money, she was helping me with my content video she loved - I have little videos of her when she's two years old, telling me why everybody needs one. And it became a almost like a fun passion we did together and she enjoyed it. And then, you know, when she became school age, that was something that was really critical that I want to take her to school, I want to be the one to talk to her about friends and relationships and struggles. So our car time is extremely important. I still do it to this day. We make sure we eat dinner with the kids every night. We and then I, another thing that I really mandated is I go on on my kids field trips, I will show up to all their, you know, performances, I never - mom comes first. And then my work gets scheduled around Mom, there's certain things that I have zero tolerance for and my kids are it. They I'm doing this all for them. And I want them to see that you can have a balance, you can be a successful business owner, you can have the respect of your community, you can do big things that change people's lives. But you can also be a great mom. And you can also you know, not sacrifice one for the other. But it's hard. It's not easy. It's extremely difficult. There's days where I have to schedule in in my calendar. Two hours, I'm going to lunch with my husband, sorry, in the middle of the day, we're doing that. So that's been the biggest challenge is giving myself enough downtime because I always focus on my kids, my husband, my business and yeah, I need more of mom time.

Jennifer Uren
So but at the at the root of it all it sounds like it's it's just being highly intentional and making sure

Kelley Higney
extremely intentional

Jennifer Uren
because it's not going to happen if you don't make it happen.

Kelley Higney
There's nobody telling you to stop that's one thing I learned starting out being an entrepreneur nobody's above here saying you better slow down you're going to end up in the hospital you're missing out on your kids lives you're you're nobody's telling you that so unless you're self educating and unless you're planning and thinking things through how it's going to affect and what what is your what is what brings you inner peace, my kids bring me inner peace. So you know, just figuring it all out.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, yeah. Balance. Yeah, one of the things that I say a lot is that every business yes can feel like a parenting no and that's when the Mom-guilt kicks in.

Kelley Higney
Yep.

Jennifer Uren
And so, so I'm a proponent of systems and things that kind of help let you save your energy for the important things and then sort of make sure that things happen automatically. So did you do you have a really strong calendaring system? do you how do you communicate?

Kelley Higney
I have a team. I have an excellent team.

Jennifer Uren
You have a team now, right?

Kelley Higney
At first I didn't. So I did in stages. My first hire was a housekeeper because I don't want to be cleaning bathrooms and doing laundry in my 30 minutes at the end of the day that I wanted to spend with my children. Yeah, so things that I could relieve a little bit of that pressure, that stigma, I guess that I should be doing it all laundry, cleaning, housework, yard work. That was one of the first things that I took the pressure off, because I can't do it all. I can't be - I'm not a superhero, I'm one human, my brain goes a million miles an hour. My focus is always my children. So I work around, you know, if there's days that I need help with cooking, I'm gonna hire a meal service. If there's days that I need help cleaning, I'm gonna hire somebody to help me clean. But that didn't always used to be the situation right? When I started this, I was living in a rental house. I could not afford those people at the time.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah.

Kelley Higney
So you take it in stages, you prioritize what the most important things are. And then as you cross this threshold, you bring in help.

Jennifer Uren
Yes

Kelley Higney
You can start delegating, and make sure that your inner peace stays protected and safe.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, well, and core to the success of the mompreneur is her Mom Team, which are the you know, the people in places where you can delegate, what you need for support. And so I love that your first hire was to support things at home, so you could do what only you could do. So, after that, though, who else? What else did you hire? Who else did you hire? And what did you hire for? Was it still more for home? Or was your next hire after that to support things in the business?

Kelley Higney
So in order things, I so we're up to a team of 30 now

Jennifer Uren
Wow!

Kelley Higney
Yeah, so we've got a staff of 30 here, and we're growing, we're still hiring, here at bug bite things. So I mean, again, if you take it back to when I was doing this in my garage, my first hire was my hairdressers daughter. She helped me start in customer service and then when that got too big and sales started generating I couldn't pack orders anymore. So I hired somebody to help me pack orders and then that gave me the ability to market more which generated more customer service increase which generated more sales

Jennifer Uren
Sure

Kelley Higney
then yeah, so we just I started very grassroots and started hiring out of necessity and at that same time building the long term business plan on what my goals were, where I was going and how I was going to tackle this stuff and phases.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, so what what was your trigger? How did you start to recognize that "Oh, I can't handle this anymore I need to bring someone in?" because it's not it's not going to be linear I think it's going to probably be in these jumps and spurts and but what was it did you start to see a pattern where you went "oh, I'm doing this now that means..." What did that look like?

Kelley Higney
Yeah, what it is exactly how you describe it it's a pattern so at the beginning I was doing marketing, customer service, PR, packing orders, right will just lead a big okay then when I really started getting the niche of the marketing side when I was taking Udemy classes, I was starting to see success. Guess what immediately rose customer service so now my day consisted of customer service and marketing. And that was it. I could not get into packing orders. I could not get into that and then I had other goals right? How am I going to get myself into an office building because my mailman absolutely hates me having to try make a special trip out every single day to pack orders and I'm in a residential area so

Jennifer Uren
You're like I promise a really big tip at Christmas.

Kelley Higney
I tried so hard I left him water bottles out every day and snacks I'm like I felt so bad but you have to start somewhere I couldn't afford a building. I actually did not make the move into getting of location until I went and filmed Shark Tank. So I was still we had moved from the rental to a house up the street that I had purchased and I converted the garage thinking that was going to last me. I put an air conditioner in there and then shark take it and I'm like there's absolutely no way this is gonna work.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, so like Jaws you're like we need a bigger boat now.

Kelley Higney
And it's so funny because if you look back, I have like little drawings of packing stations and bin locations in my garage, which was such a little box. But I was already thinking, this could be a global household name way back then because every person that tried it in or heard about it, it became an impulse item. And then once they used it, they told 10 more people about it, because it's life changing for them. So it really was a ripple effect. And I focused always on my customers and what they were telling me. And just to keep up with, you know, growth.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. Well, one of the things that I love about the Bug Bite Thing is that it is so simple. I mean, it's just simple all around, but it is so powerful. And so how has this simple tool? Because I know you're a mom on a mission with all these other things? How is it had an impact? Outside of just solving the problem of bug bites? What kind of impact has it had? So I think there's some mentoring, some donations that you've done, volunteer things that you do you so how is it sort of rippled out beyond the the initial mission? And how is it impacted through those types of things?

Kelley Higney
So because I went through this from grassroots doing it from nothing, I have a lot of other entrepreneurs and a lot of other moms and people literally looking for those resources. How did you do it? How do you do it as a mom? How do you tackle this? So I'm very involved in our local community. I do a lot of guest speaking on entrepreneurship. Personally, on a personal level, our success, I love to donate back to our own community, Port St. Lucie is growing rapidly. So we donate to the Treasure Coast Food Bank, we've sent our whole team to go volunteer, we donate. One of the things we've noticed after having the product in the market, we have a lot of doctors recommending our product. One of the things we found out, is there something in chemotherapy treatments, especially in children, where they become very susceptible to bug bites, and they don't like them to be using chemicals during treatment.

Jennifer Uren
Sure.

Kelley Higney
So we have a line of doctors that are literally recommending our product for that use. They're getting great results. So we donate product to hospitals now. So we're trying to really help I mean, our product is a first aid tool. So if it can give people relief, immediately, it's making their life and their quality of life better. And that's all the feedback that I'm getting daily, you can't not unhear those stories, you know?

Jennifer Uren
Right.

Kelley Higney
So really getting back in our own local community. I am a big believer, my team, here are we We're a family owned culture, family owned business. But we're, we're practicing Fortune 500 practices, I want to make this a global business. We're in over 30 countries this year, we're at different stages with them since COVID. So one of our main goals is recruiting internal boot camps to start teaching our International Partners, how to teach the concepts, how to educate the market. We can cross share assets, which makes us stronger and more of a global community. And it's working. And when I see influencers in Europe, or influencers in Vietnam, starting to post about my product, and they're getting the same results. It's that fills you

Jennifer Uren
Yeah

Kelley Higney
you can't unhear or unsee that stuff, and that's what keeps us going.

Jennifer Uren
That's amazing. And I think that's the power. This is what I think every entrepreneur struggles with, which is being specific and defined in a niche or niche however you say it, and you're, you're a model of the power of that because you had a very, you have a very simple, specific thing, but it has this huge impact and it's opening up doors. I'm sure I mean, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure you never walked in thinking I'm going to be in hospitals because this is going to change the life of cancer. You know,

Kelley Higney
I thought I was going to be selling is a big sales part time with my daughter, right? That's literally where I started this and and you know what drove it? It's the customers it's working on. So we've sold over 4 million units and the response, like I said, you can't it's the same stories over and over. And how do you just? How do you just not do anything with that? People just need to know about it, they need to know it exist. The product is not going to work on every single person. No product does. But we're read the testimonials. Like I said, we're Amazon number one product

Jennifer Uren
45000 reviews.

Kelley Higney
And these are and if you read through them, it's my child got stung by a bee screaming and pain. I pulled this out of my purse, I suctioned out the venom. And they went back and played. And that is over and over and over again. So it really drives us as a brand to just educate the market.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah.

Kelley Higney
Since beginning I've offered 100% money back guarantee, you know, it's I just want people to know what exists.

Jennifer Uren
Yes. And every mom needs one in their car, in their purse, in their house. I mean, like, you need multiples. My daughter's like, do we have one I can take to camp? So Right? Like, yes, yes. So

Kelley Higney
your golf bag, your glove box, your boat, your camper

Jennifer Uren
Everywhere!

Kelley Higney
We have a Medical Advisory Board, we have our first doctor on board. So it's growing in all different arenas, the B2B side as well, our product makes a great corporate gift for field workers. Everybody who's on power poles working out in the field, we have gardeners, we have pest control companies, they all need to be carrying one of these. So they're not, it's a win win for the company, because their employees are not calling off and it's a win win for the employees. So they're not suffering all day, in pain.

Jennifer Uren
So and the beauty is that every person gets bug bites by so you have this, you know, really a billion, you know, potential, you know, seven, 8 billion potential customers. But by starting so specifically with, you know, with moms and children, you know, that that's where you can build from, it's overwhelming for new moms, new mompreneurs and early stage entrepreneurs to hear the growth. But it's important to remember you didn't start there, you started right at your dining room table in your garage with one little product, like you said, bake sales and out of your car. So

Kelley Higney
that's exactly real. That happened to me. And I never in a million years thought it would get this big or a and not even this big, but helping this many people. And that just showcases this. This there's there needed to be a chemical free product that works on the market. And we're the first one, we're being sold right next to the creams and I just want people to know, you know, if there's another option out there that eliminates the problem versus masking it and give it a try?

Jennifer Uren
Absolutely. Well, I know there's probably a mom listening, who she's got a very simple idea. But what is one thing that she could do today to start to move her idea one step closer to being a reality?

Kelley Higney
So the way that I did it is I started with testing. I'm a I'm a very big, cautious person when it goes to jumping all in, especially when you're talking about your life and your career. But if you don't make those leaps of faith once in a while, how are you ever going to reach your crazy wild dream right of being a global brand or whatever you decide to do? So testing your own community. I see. Like I said, I started selling this little tool at bake sales and farmers markets, I started gaining the feedback from the customers that feedback is what drove me to then create verbiage and a model on how to teach the concept because people i i got hit with skepticism right from the beginning. You know, I realized very quickly the men were nowhere near receptive to trying this concept as a mom who is sitting there watching their child suffer for three days. So really connecting with your audience, really gathering that feedback. Don't be stubborn, if they're saying there's something wrong or it's not working. Don't

Jennifer Uren
It's not personal

Kelley Higney
It's not personal because if that person as that opinion 50,000 other people are going to? Yeah. The other thing I say is with listening to your customers is they tell you the next 10 steps of your business, right? So for us for Bug Bite Thing, our customers told us they wanted a keychain hole, right? Because they were using it and it kept getting lost. So instead of getting people complaining about their product being lost, I created a solution based off of what they were saying. Next step was a carrying bag, they wanted to keep the the cap and everything clean. That opportunity led to B2B because now I can private label the bags with the logo, pest control logo and kit it with a bug bite thing and there's another solution. So listening to your customers and not taking it personal. And using that as strength to recreate maybe what you thought how you were teaching it. Or maybe that's not your demographic, right? And you go and you only tackle men and they're all unreceptive, go to the females. Go to the kids like, what where is your niche? Where's your market? And don't be discouraged. There's been many times where people have totally bagged on my products as this doesn't work. It's not proven to work. But customers tell a story. If you've got this many customers saying it's working, you're onto something. So being have been able to thick skin. When you're launching a business, tap into your own community. There's a lot of loc- I wish I would have done that sooner. There's a lot of local communities out here. There's a company called We Venture in Florida. They help women on all different levels of business, whether they're just starting out whether they need funding. So tap into your community and listen to feedback.

Jennifer Uren
That's great advice. Well, this has been a great conversation. And as we wrap up, there's one question I asked every guest, and it is what is your favorite time saving gadget, system, or tool and I always give Bug Bite Thing as an example of one of mine, so you can't pick that one.

Kelley Higney
I have a good one that saves me all the time. So there's another Shark Tank company. There's a product called Unbuckle Me and it literate. So I'm a mom. And I'm in car line all the time. And it's very difficult when you're in car line for children to unbuckle their actual car seat, which is not safe, obviously, to start. But there's a product called unbuckle me, and it's just like a little thing and the kids can just push the lever down themselves to get themselves out of the car seat. So handing that to my five year old in the backseat to unbuckle herself when we're in busy car line has been a life saving gadget. I'm sure a lot of other moms can relate to that. So if you get stuck in car line and you're tired of turning around to try to unbuckle your child, there's a product that makes it really easy.

Jennifer Uren
Oh, I will I will put a link to that for sure. And I have to look into it because that's the frustration. You're always like, hurry, hurry, they're waiting and

Kelley Higney
every time and then grandparents, right like my mother. So this company got started because the mom who created it, her, her and her mom her mother was struggling with I think I believe like arthritis or something and she could not unbuckle the car seat so they created something to make it easy. But obviously that is a genius idea. If you're sitting in car line, you can hand your child that they can get themselves out and out of the car. So that's been a game changer for us.

Jennifer Uren
Wonderful. Well, good. Well, Kelley, thank you so much. As we finalize, I want to make sure people know how they can find you Where can they find you or the Bug Bite Thing. How can they connect?

Kelley Higney
Yeah, so we're on all social media platforms for Bug Bite Thing. I just personally started my own side channels. You can follow me at KelleyHigneyCEO. Spelled K E L L E Y. Thanks, mother.

Jennifer Uren
Yes.

Kelley Higney
I just started a TikTok account, Instagram, Facebook, and essentially my channel gives a lot of the behind the scenes right how I'm doing this all juggling children juggling business, growing, traveling. So I think a lot of maybe new moms or new business owners could benefit from some of the stuff I'm showing on my pages, hacks, ways to make your children feel involved in your business. So you can follow me on social

Jennifer Uren
I look forward to checking those those channels out as well. So well. Thanks again for being here. I really appreciated the conversation today.

Kelley Higney
You were great. Thank you so much, Jenn, nice to meet you.

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