Woodstock-based Mommy Knows Best starting local manufacturing

Move could allow other small businesses to scale up at comfortable pace

The Woodstock-based maternity products business Mommy Knows Best is moving its manufacturing to a local facility, boosting its prospects for more growth, its top executive said.

Even before completing its takeover of the 2,000-square-foot production space next door to its warehouse on South Eastwood Drive, the business was already searching for a new spot
10 times that size to host all its operations, CEO Tim Tierney said.

“We are anticipating that we are going to need a much larger space to house the production facility as well as all the product that is created from it,” Tierney said. “We are going to start looking basically now.”

The move brings the 7-year-old business – which started as a maker of cookies meant to boost milk production in breastfeeding mothers – into an exciting new phase, he said. The manufacturing facility on Eastwood will feature six machines and will make the brand’s skin care products, including its stretch mark cream for expecting women.

Mommy Knows Best’s skin care products previously were manufactured in Texas, he said. The cookies also will start being made in house, but it could be a year or more until that happens. The facility will operate as a technically separate business from Mommy Knows Best called Shay Labs, with Tierney also at its helm.

“Starting out in the midst of a recession can be savvy strategic planning. If the product is great, the sky is the limit,” said Sheila Magee, the president of Antrim Consulting. Magee, who is not working with Mommy Knows Best, has been a business consultant specializing in manufacturing for 35 years, including in McHenry County.

She said a move into production in the current economic environment “shows enormous fortitude and knowledge of their product and the need for their product in the community.”

Mommy Knows Best master formulator Jacqueline Buggs-Perkins, who ensures the proper mixes of ingredients are used in the products, is looking forward to having more options to expand her knowledge with the access to the in-house production equipment.

“It is a big step, and it is going in the right direction. You can always add to the line. Maybe eventually we could do just a kids line, strictly for kids, something like that,” Buggs-Perkins said. “You can focus not on the teenagers, but pre-teens, and we have baby lotion, but we could have a kids lotion, and help with teaching children to be hygienic.”

More than just Mommy Knows Best items could emerge from the facility in the coming years, Tierney said. He said he is open to helping other health and beauty product entrepreneurs enlarge their production scales at a comfortable pace.

“In our experience, when we were earlier on and a smaller company, it was tough to get manufacturers to return our calls,” he said. “Another opportunity that we can offer is because of our equipment, we can also do smaller production lines to work with people. I would have really appreciated someone like us to come into the picture when we were starting.”

Tierney gave credit for the growth to his team, saying “five years ago I was an Amazon guy,” but his employees’ talent helped drive the company’s growth in the brick-and-mortar retail space.

Mommy Knows Best products are sold by Target, Walmart and Meijer, Tierney said, and the business also ships out 10,000 products a week to fulfill e-commerce orders.

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