Half of the fun of having children is all the amazing and fun books, toys and clothes out there to keep your kiddo entertained and happy. If you鈥檙e the kind of mom who loves designing your聽kid鈥檚 birthday party pi帽atas or聽helping to decorate your child鈥檚 bedroom, then you might want to consider a career curating the very best in children鈥檚 goods.聽In this week鈥檚 How to Quit Your Day Job series, we chat with Maia McDonald Smith, who started聽the adorable online children鈥檚 shop聽Bitte with her mother, Sara McDonald. Maia shares how her background as a designer and art director and her mother鈥檚 creative influence made her the ideal candidate to open Bitte.

Meet the Children Boutique Pro: Maia McDonald Smith

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Maia McDonald Smith聽perfected her eye for visual detail in her eight years as an art director and designer for such brands as聽Shopbop.com, Williams-Sonoma and Rue magazine. The Pinterest pro (she has almost two million followers) discussed the idea for Bitte, which means both 鈥減lease鈥 and 鈥測ou鈥檙e welcome鈥 in German, for years with her mom, who is Bitte鈥檚 co-owner. 鈥淲hen I had my daughter, the idea for Bitte started to really form in my mind. As a new mom I saw聽a gap in the market for a trusted children鈥檚 boutique that carried well-designed, sustainable toys and clothes. Thus, Bitte was born,鈥 says Maia. Her mom鈥檚 own experience as an all-natural toy maker helped Maia understand how to start her own business. The online children鈥檚 boutique offers unique items such as eco-friendly finger paints, clothing, books, cute temporary tattoos and beautiful decor. Maia shares some tips for what has helped her launch her dream career.

The Tips

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1. Find a partner who brings out your good side. With her mother鈥檚 background in the children鈥檚 toy arena, Maia had a co-owner who knew the nuts and bolts of manufacturing and had experience with 鈥渧endors, calculating cost of goods and the ins and outs of shipping and receiving.鈥 Her mother鈥檚 keen design eye matched well with Maia鈥檚 background in design, e-commerce, photography and social media. 鈥淚t really was such a good marriage of skills and backgrounds. I can鈥檛 imagine going into business with anyone else,鈥 says Maia.

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2. Tell people about your plan. Maia advocates sharing your vision with important people in your life. 鈥淵ou鈥檒l feel peer pressure to actually accomplish what you鈥檝e been talking about,鈥 says Maia. 鈥淚 always feel like it鈥檚 not real until I start talking about it to other people.鈥 Setting a goal and working backward from there is another tip that helped Maia move forward with Bitte.

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3. Get your idea out there. Though Maia admits there is a fine line between giving it your all and getting bogged down in the minutia of business and 鈥渘ever really producing anything,鈥 she suggests that it鈥檚 better to get your idea out there and improve as you go, rather than making sure everything is 100 percent perfect before launching.

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4. Think about what the market is missing. All that time you spend scouring design blogs and wandering artisan craft fairs can actually be good for business. Maia and her mom log hours searching online and at maker faires to find just the right products for the Bitte customer. 鈥淲hen we can鈥檛 find something that we think the market is missing, we also manufacture some of our own products,鈥 says Maia.

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5. Know the realities of starting your own company. Save some money ahead of time. Maia and her mom didn鈥檛 plan on taking salaries for at least a year after they launched Bitte. The duo moved out of the Bay Area since they needed more space and knew that the real estate was too pricey to be practical for them.

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6. Seek out advice from people in the know. Maia reached out to entrepreneurs she respected for their advice and business acumen. Her husband, a stay-at-home dad, had worked in a shipping and receiving department for a major retailer, so she turned to him for help running the warehouse.

7. Kickstart your business. Maia and her mother used crowdfunding to help secure funds for Bitte, though she admits that she wished they had done things a little differently. 鈥淚 think we rushed it a little.聽It all turned out fine in the end, but it really takes a lot of time and work to pull one of those campaigns off, so for anyone else thinking to do one, make sure to give yourself ample time to do it correctly,鈥 says Maia.

Perfect Your Skills


1.聽Kickstart Your Business With Crowdfunding Online Class ($39): Learn how inventor Lisa Fetterman, who raised over $1.3M through two record-shattering Kickstarter campaigns, got her start. This beginner class walks you through the step-by-step process to make your crowdfunded campaign a success.


2. Connect With Your Customers on Social Media ($39): In this course, home goods designer Erin Dollar shares 11 lessons for creating social media that engages your audience and builds your brand online. (Want to learn how Erin started her company, Cotton and Flax? Read about it in How to Quit Your Day Job聽interview with Erin.)


3.聽Be Your Own Boss: Start Your First Creative Business Online Class ($39): If you鈥檙e dying to turn your passion into profit, join聽Jess Ekstrom, a #girlboss who founded Headbands of Hope in 2012, to learn the basics of starting your dream job.

What鈥檚 your dream career? Tweet us @BritandCo to let us know, and we could feature it in the next column!

(Photos via Bitte)