Beth Richardson

“I intended it to just be a hobby,” said Beth Richardson, founder and president of Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique. “(Sweetbottoms) really has turned into this big cool thing.”

That big thing includes close to 8,500 square feet of retail space filled with cloth diapers, baby carriers, toys and natural products for the home, on-site parent/child classes and a unique mom-centric culture.

Richardson, a resident of Fuquay-Varina, first encountered cloth diapers when her daughter was 15 months old. She eagerly embraced the environmental and economic benefits and sought to share them with others.

Richardson remembered, “There wasn’t anything local at that time, any place to go and actually see (the products).”

So she started hosting free workshops at her home and in community centers to educate people about cloth diapers.

“I was amazed at how many people came every time,” she said. “I realized there really is a need.”

Working during her children’s nap time and evenings from her home, Richardson opened Sweetbottoms online in January 2010 and by the summer of that year hired her first employee.

By September 2011 the business had added three employees and “taken over every room of my house,” prompting Richardson to open the first retail location in Swift Creek Shopping Center. Fast forward two years and Sweetbottoms now boasts a thriving online business, around 20 employees and a new, larger home, still in Swift Creek.

“Everything in our store we’ve used,” said Richardson, referring to herself and her team.

“We’re very picky and careful about what we select. If we don’t want our child chewing on it or to have it in our home, then you won’t see it at Sweetbottoms.  

“I honestly never was really career oriented,” said Richardson. “I had always viewed myself as being a stay-at-home mom like my mom was.”

Hobby turned profession, backed by passion and fueled by family, is a common theme for many momtrepreneurs, including Richardson.

“(My children) are the whole inspiration for all of this,” she said. “I have no idea what I would be doing if it wasn’t for them and what has come from it.”

Richardson knows first-hand the challenges of being a mother and businessperson, so she encourages her employees, many of whom are moms, to bring their children to work.

“I think it’s really important,” said Richardson. “And really it’s moms of little kids that we want selling our products, so it’s a good fit.”

(There were two cashiers with sleeping babies nestled on their backs in carriers when we visited the store. There’s also a play area in the middle of the shop for kids to use.)

Richardson advises aspiring entrepreneurs to have a plan up front, so they aren’t surprised by growth like she was. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.

“That’s really the only way to be able to grow,” she said. “To allow other people to help. For some reason we think that we should be able to conquer it all ourselves. I’ve struggled with that over the last few years. No, I’m not supermom and it’s OK.”

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