What do you do when you can’t find the product of your dreams?
If you’re entrepreneur mom Liza Savary, you make your own -- then bring it to market for other families to enjoy!
Liza hasn’t always been a business owner, but she was surrounded by entrepreneurship from a young age. Growing up on a New Jersey horse farm, she saw that you could turn an idea into a business that didn’t just pay the bills, but truly made you happy.
After graduating from college, Liza packed a suitcase and moved to California with her boyfriend. They got married and both went into the corporate interior design/architecture world!
It wasn’t until becoming a parent (to sons Dane, now 6, and Beau, 4) that Liza started to realize her own potential as an entrepreneur.
“I had the Ruggish idea in 2014, when Dane was almost 1,” she said. The young family was living in a small city apartment where the guest room, nursery and home office all occupied the same space, and Liza had a hard time finding a play rug for her growing baby that was soft, safe and stylish. There wasn’t really anything on the market that checked all those boxes. Wouldn’t it be great, she thought, to fill that need for myself and other parents, too?
The seeds of Ruggish had been planted, but they would take time to grow. Creating a new product from the ground up isn’t a small task, and between full-time work at a design firm, renovating a house and having a second baby, Ruggish spent its first few years as a side project that was often pushed to the back burner.
“I was sick of juggling full-time work at a corporate job I didn’t love,” Liza said. “I finally decided that if I didn’t give it my all to make the idea happen, I would miss my chance.”
In November 2016, she sat down, wrote out a plan to bring Ruggish to life, and launched a Kickstarter project to make it happen.
“I put my head down and went for it,” she said.
Ruggish was fully funded the following April, and the website was launched on May 3, 2017. Thanks to the support of Kickstarter backers, Ruggish launched into business self-funded, and Liza was able to leave the corporate world.
The freedom of owning her own company has been especially valuable as coronavirus has disrupted work, school and life for so many families, including Liza’s own.
“I am able to run the business and household, homeschool my children along with my husband, and stay relatively sane during this crazy time,” she said. “I am unbelievably grateful for the flexibility.”
As a female small business owner and a mother, Liza is inspired and motivated by the stories of other women who have built their own companies from the ground up, like Spanx founder Sara Blakely. She also finds inspiration in podcasts like NPR’s “Guy Raz: How I Built This” and BizChix, hosted by business coach Natalie Eckdahl. In fact, BizChix played a significant role in Ruggish’s evolution as a company.
“I listened to it every day on my one-hour commute while Ruggish was my side hustle,” Liza said. “It was Natalie who ‘gave me permission’ to quit my full-time job.”
One of her priorities from the start has been to share her business journey with her boys and lift up other moms who are hustling in the business world. (In fact, that’s the motivation behind the Real Life Ruggish feature on the Ruggish blog.)
“I love to help promote other like-minded, hardworking entrepreneur moms,” Liza said.