Mom turns son’s playdough into thriving business

Today we’re sharing a quick chat I recently had with Eco-Kids CEO, Cammie Weeks. She and her husband have turned her mother’s play dough recipe into an eco friendly creative art supply company.

Cammie (far right) and part of her staff
Cammie (far right) and part of her staff

We’ve known each other for over ten years, on both coasts. We both have three kids in the boy-girl-boy sequence and I have tried and loved all of their art supplies. Cammie has been a source of inspiration for me for years (both as an entrepreneur and as a mom) and I’m excited to share a bit of her business story with you!

Q. Cammie, I remember you living in LA, being a full time nanny, bringing your first son along with you. You made amazing play dough for your son and the other kids. What prompted the idea to make a business out of it?

Eco-kids dough
Eco-kids dough

A. I had just made a fresh batch of dough for my son, when my husband turned to me and said ” We need to sell this at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.” We went to our first market a couple weeks later and people were amazed and inspired by what we were doing. Someone asked us if they could sell it in their store on Larchmont…Honestly we were just happy to be trading for organic produce, meeting fun, like minded families and becoming part of the community!

Q. What was a hurdle you faced when you went from selling at farmer’s markets to retail?
A. Production has always been our biggest hurdle- making everything by hand has it’s drawbacks as far as keeping up with inventory. As we moved from Farmer’s Markets to trade shows and custom lines…the hurdles remain the same-the stakes are just higher.

Q. The last time I saw you in Maine, you were raising three beautiful kids, Eco- Kids was scaling up and you had just launched Maggie’s Naturals. I was in awe. Any tips for keeping it all together? Please!
A. Lady, I am still trying to keep it together! I guess what I’ve learned is that you should never second guess yourself and always ask questions. The power of intuition in an entrepreneur and even more so as a woman (love you boys too) is an incredible thing to take hold of. The strength, determination and faults are all real; letting your kids see you try, fail, succeed and keep moving forward is the real goal.

Q. Most of us are on the cusp of being a Generation X or Millennial Mom- are you finding similarities among their desires for greener products for their children?
A. Certainly. I think what we all want is healthy-happy-engaged and mindful lives, for our children and ourselves. A community of people that understand the value and benefits of living a greener life. It’s not about being the best at it by any means, it’s about doing what is right for you and your family. There are so many of us living the same way- it’s just connecting the dots.

Q. What is the coolest family outing you’ve taken this summer?Cammie family

A. I’d have to say, we are a beach family. Ferry Beach in Scarborough, Maine is our fav at the moment. As picturesque as that sounds- let me break it down for you.
Gear up- toys, towels, sunscreen, suits, chair for Grammie, umbrella, boogie boards. No one wants to get in their seat, let the bribeing begin. Two lollipops and a root beer later-everyone is buckled…”Windows up-windows down, I want a snack”-all heard from the way back (mini van) because I sit back there with my oldest while my mother and husband navigate the trip. 20 minutes later-ARRIVAL….
It’s definitely a trip after we get settled, I’ll save that for the next blog;)

Eco Kids art supplies are found in fine retailers nationwide. Eco Kids was a 2014 Martha Stewart American Made Crafts Finalist.

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