By Clare Radd Interactive
Meet Scott Morris of Roshambo Baby in Carlsbad
Today we’d like to introduce you to Scott Morris.
Scott, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Ro•sham•bo baby is owned and operated by San Diego family Scott, Julia and their baby girls, Avery (4) and Chloe (1).
We started our little company after realizing that nobody was making high-quality baby sunglasses or stylish baby shades while at a Padres game with a friend’s four-month-old who was staring up at the bright sun with no protection. Scott put his adult sunglasses on him and lightning struck: Little People Deserve Big People Shades. that means making our stylish baby shades in Italy instead of China. That means making them safe, durable, flexible, and chewable for little mouths. And that means making them just as stylish as designer adult shades.
Two years later, after a lot of frustration and dead ends finding the perfect manufacturing partner and creating the perfect material for the shades, we had the world’s best high-quality baby sunglasses ready for your little ones and ours! scott didn’t want stop there though, he wanted to wear matching unbreakable shades with his then 2-year-old Avery, so we made kids and adult sizes so the whole family can match!
Our name Ro•sham•bo baby is a reference to the nostalgic game we all grew up playing (otherwise know as “rock, paper, scissors,” it also pays tribute to our autism support mission: a special education teacher in our family told us that playing Ro•sham•bo can be a valuable teaching tool when kids need a quiet, calming, and personal interaction with a teacher. We have autism in our family, so giving a portion of each sale to autism charity has been and always will be a pillar of our business.
We launched in June 2013 with a crowdfunding campaign to test the market for stylish baby shades and build up needed capital to fund more inventory and build this website. The result was overwhelming and the customer support and glowing feedback we received further fueled our ambition to make this dream of producing and selling high-quality baby sunglasses a reality.
Now 5 years after launch, Julia and Scott were finally able to leave their previous full-time jobs behind to focus on the business, and we moved into our office and warehouse in the Vista/Bressi Ranch area in 2017.
We have a long way to go but are super proud of how far we have come. We now have 5 sizes for the whole family from baby to adult large, we launched our prescription fulfillment service in 2017 (like Warby Parker for kids!) to rave reviews from parents, and we are working on new products all the time!
We have distribution in over 10 countries, have sent over 100,000 pairs of shades into the world, and earned thousands of 5-star reviews from happy parents. We love what we do and love seeing the smiling faces in shades we get to see every day from our customer submitted photos.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
At first, it was a struggle just to stay afloat and keep the business going. When we launched, Scott worked as an attorney at one of San Diego’s premier law firms, Latham & Watkins in their downtown office (they have since moved to Del Mar). That job did not afford for much free time for a side hustle, so he took the big risk of leaving that ultra-competitive and lucrative career path to take an opportunity in academia.
He started a job at the University of San Diego Law School as the business was getting underway partly motivated by a desire to have a more reliable work schedule that would allow him to spend nights and weekends on the business (even lunchtimes running to the post office to drop off orders!). Julia was also working full time as a social media marketing professional at a fast-growing San Diego firm, Amobee, in Mira Mesa/Sorrento Valley area. After over 3 years of trying to make 2 full-time jobs, now 2 baby girls (Avery and Chloe, now almost 5 and 2), and a growing side business work, it was time to take the leap and go full time or give up the dream.
Not an easy decision as you might imagine. Julia took on the burden of keeping her full-time job a bit longer and Scott took the plunge to full time in 2016. With some good luck and we hope some good execution, it has proven the right decision. Julia was able to join Scott full time as COO/CWO (Chief Worry Officer) in May 2017. We now live the dream, commuting 10 minutes from our Encinitas home to our warehouse and office space in Vista (near Bressi Ranch). We love working together, love what we do, and love bringing our girls to the office once in a while to “help.”
We have grown in sales every year since we started the business, but when Scott took the plunge in 2016 to start pursuing the business full time, we could not have anticipated how fast we would grow. We did more than 5 times our sales from the previous year in 2016 and then doubled that again in 2017. Our biggest challenge has been a great one: keeping inventory in stock! Selling all of your inventory is great, but selling out in the middle of summer and leaving unhappy potential customers is not great for a small family company trying to grow!
Figuring out how to gain exposure and successfully advertise our product has also proven challenging. At first, we did really well with Facebook advertising, a skill Julia was able to capitalize on from her previous profession, but that became more expensive in mid-2017 due to changes Facebook made to their advertising algorithm. So, we decided to expand more into distribution and retail sales, which has so far gone really well. Our shades are carried in hundreds of stores in the US and over 10 countries internationally, but there is still a LONG way to go.
We even went out on a limb and tried out for Shark Tank in 2017! Believe it or not, we got all the way to final consideration for the 2018 season – we were invited to make a 10 minute video for the producers and had several audition calls with the executive producers of the show before they told us we did not make the cut, It was hard news to get because they had told us we were down to only a handful of businesses in consideration!
You can see the edited down version of that video, and more videos about our products and business on our website: https://www.roshambobaby.com/pages/see-em-bend
Please tell us about Roshambo Baby.
Little People Deserve Big People Shades. Our sunglasses block 100% of uva/b/c rays and are Italian made, not from China or Taiwan like our competitors. the specially formulated flexible but durable and soft material is BPA-free, lead-free, latex free, and specially designed for baby’s use and abuse. we even mold our logos into the design to avoid unnecessary paint. They are virtually indestructible. if you or your kids manage to break them, we replace them no questions asked.
We also offer a full lens replacement guarantee for lost or scratched lenses. They are ultra light (so light they can float!) and even prescription ready! In fact, in 2017 we launched our online prescription fulfillment service, kind of like Warby Parker for kids. Parents can get their kids unbreakable frames for less than $100. Plus, because of the soft material, kids can swap their prescription lenses into as many different frames colors as they want, so they can always have a pair of glasses to match their outfit or mood! We can do clear lenses, tinted, polarized, even Transitions lenses!
Despite all of these advantages, our price point is right in line with our major competitors that make their products in China. We are incredibly proud of the quality of our product, the fact that we do everything in-house here in our Vista office: customer service, inventory, packing, shipping, social media, all of it. We are also so proud that we can employ talented recent grads from USD and Cal State San Marcos to work with us, not to mention a young man on the autism spectrum who helps construct our packaging!
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Playing baseball in Encinitas little league. Riding bikes to Blockbuster with my best friend from Flora Vista elementary who is now a Navy SEAL and was best man at our wedding in Pacific Beach 10 years ago(!). Padres games with my family at Jack Murphy stadium; playing catch in the parking lot, hot dogs, Tony Gywnn.
Working the morning shift from 6-10 am at the Potato Shack in Encinitas on summer mornings and heading to Moonlight Beach after to play volleyball and nap in the sand. La Costa Canyon Maverick football games. Late night Filibertos burritos after the game.
- Start at $20
- Use code “SDVoyager” for 15% off (including prescriptions!)
- Address: 1487 Poinsettia Ave. #125 Vista, CA 92081
- Website: www.roshambobaby.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @RoshamboBaby
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Roshambobaby/
- Twitter: @RoshamboBaby
Thank you to SD Voyager!- http://sdvoyager.com/interview/meet-scott-morris-roshambo-baby-carlsbad/