Client Highlight: Mason Bottle

Last week the CEO and founder of Mason Bottle, Laura Belmar came to visit Extreme Molding and talk about product goals for 2022.  We interviewed Laura to learn more about her company and see what advice she would give to other start up companies.  We enjoyed sitting down again with Laura face to face to learn even more about our client Mason Bottle.  Thank you for coming to New York to visit us Laura!

When did the idea for Mason Bottle first come about?

I was about halfway through my pregnancy standing in a big-box baby store feeling really overwhelmed by all of the stuff. There’s just so much stuff that you’re told to buy as expectant parents. I knew I wanted glass baby bottles because every year more research comes out about harmful chemicals in plastics. I said to my husband, “Why do I need to buy expensive glass baby bottles? Why can’t we just put a nipple on the mason jars we have at home?” We had SO many leftover from our wedding and just everyday use. We saw that this didn’t exist yet, and decided to make it happen. That was 2014. Minimalism wasn’t really talked about much back then, but that’s what we were after, and that’s only grown more resonant in the 8 years since.

What is the mission of Mason Bottle?

For Healthy Kids and a Healthy World is our tagline and that sums up our mission. The “For healthy kids” part of that statement refers to the fact that of our products are meant to reduce the toxins children come into contact with as much as possible and to make it easier for parents to establish the healthiest feeding routines for their children like breastfeeding and making their own baby foods as opposed to buying processed and prepared.

The “for a healthy world” part is about making products that are reusable and long lasting so that they’re not just thrown away after the baby stage and can be used for something else, minimizing environmental impact for years to come.

How did you first hear about Extreme Molding?

I was hell-bent on being USA-made, because I wanted to know for certain we were using the purest, best materials and I wanted to feel good about the working conditions for the folks who produced our products. So I spent a lot of time scouring the internet for possibilities. Most of the US-based companies didn’t want to take a chance on a startup and had prohibitively high MOQs. After our successful Kickstarter, I contacted Extreme Molding and they could see the potential. We had our CAD files ready, and they did a great job of shepherding us through the tooling process and setting reasonable minimums that made it possible for us to fund our first order. I’ve visited the factory many times over the last 6 years and many of the same employees are there, the buildings are beautiful and filled with big windows and natural light. Extreme Molding really cares about their staff and their quality of life, and its awesome to get to be a part of that.

Why would you recommend Mason Bottle to a new parent?

The American Academy of Pediatrics came out in 2018 and recommended that parents avoid plastics wherever possible when it comes to feeding. We try to make using silicone, glass, and stainless steel as easy and affordable as possible. Our customers use the same jar to store milk in the fridge or freezer, turn that jar into a bottle, and serve it up to baby. The wide design makes it incredibly easy to clean, and all the components upcycle into sippy cups, straw cups and beyond. We try to make plastic-free feeding as simple and affordable as possible for parents. We also are the only bottle brand that offers returns any time, although our return rate is less than 3%. Still we like to give parents the peace of mind that if our bottle isn’t right for them or their baby, they can always request a refund.

What’s your favorite Mason Bottle product and why?

My favorite product is our Silicone Nipples. We have customers who will pay 9.99 for a pack of nipples and that is all they will end up buying from us because they already have mason jars at home. I love this product because it makes glass baby bottles affordable to every income level. Our market research tells us that our customers come from all income levels, and I love that we can make our products here in the USA and have them accessible to everyone. So often high quality USA made goods are luxury items outside of the average American’s budget.

There used to be a show on TLC about folks who lived in different types of tiny homes. A friend of mine saw an episode where a pregnant mother who lived on a boat bought a pack of our nipples and explained the concept on the show. She had a small budget and a small space, and Mason Bottle was the perfect fit for her.

We have a fairly large catalog now, and most customers spend far more than $9.99 with us, but it’s been great to be able to have something for everyone at Mason Bottle.

What is your favorite part of partnering with Extreme Molding?

My favorite part of partnering with Extreme Molding is the relationship of trust and mutual caring that we’ve built over the last six years. In the physical products business, lots of things go wrong. That’s true of any business really, things never turn out as you expect. Extreme Molding has supported us in good times when we go viral on social media or have growing pains. They also support us in tough times when a product doesn’t turn out as expected or a defect gets reported by customers. They jump on every issue, good or bad, and we solve everything together, each giving a little when needed. I know that they try to have our best interests in mind, and we try to do the same. As our catalog has grown, we’ve worked with plenty of other suppliers for various components of our product line, and our relationship with Extreme Molding is by far the most transparent, trustworthy, and personal.

Laura Belmar, CEO of Mason Bottle

If you could describe Mason Bottle in three words, what would they be?

By this point in the interview, this won’t come as a surprise, but those three words would be: sustainable, minimal, healthy.

Do you have any pieces of advice for new business owners?

Read Profit First by Mike Michalowicz and implement the Profit First system into your business. You need a good bookkeeper who knows your industry well. We have an e-commerce specific bookkeeper and having great numbers plus a great system like Profit First for improving profitability over time is invaluable.

What has been the most rewarding part of owning Mason Bottle?

Definitely hearing from other moms and dads how much they love our products. Our customers share pictures and videos and stories about how the bottles have made feeding easier for their family, or how well the baby takes to the bottle. We serve a really passionate niche of parents who go the extra mile for the health and wellness of their family and the planet, and it’s very gratifying to help families meet those goals.

Has Mason Bottle faced any challenges due to Covid 19? If so, what were they?

Oh wow, how much time do we have? I do want to start by saying that Extreme Molding was an awesome partner for us in the pandemic. They were only closed the last week of March 2020. Many of our other US suppliers just stopped responding, stopped producing, it was chaos. But Extreme Molding was very communicative. We always knew what they were doing to stay in business, keep their people safe, keep us going. There were some delays and extra costs but they were minimal with EM compared to our other suppliers where we saw prices and lead times go through the roof. We have to carry 10x the inventory we did before the pandemic. It’s been very capital intensive, very stressful. We’re incredibly proud of having survived the pandemic and having been able to grow as much as we have during this time.

What is a goal for Mason Bottle in 2022?

We are just going to be working our Profit First system, finding creative places to reduce our costs, looking for ways to increase our revenue and lifetime customer value. We do this by focusing on having happy customers who become repeat buyers and launching new products. Our goal is to eventually supply families with everything they need for feeding baby in the first two years of life, and eventually even beyond that!

We’re also going to be expanding our marketing efforts over text message and on Tik Tok, where we went viral a few weeks ago. My husband and I will be 37 in a few months, and there’s a whole new younger generation of parents that have come up since we had our kids and started this business. They’re even more focused on sustainability and minimalism than our generation was, and it’s exciting to have been around for long enough to get to adapt our outreach to customers to new channels and the new more personal ways of communicating that meet them where they are.