In today’s modern culture, juggling the numerous-and oftentimes competing-demands that come with a career and family life can feel like a never ending challenge (we’ve all been there at one point or another!). However, there are those who do find an agreeable balance between all that life brings to their door while excelling across both professional and personal planes. GoBe Kids’ superhero husband and wife co-founder team, Joseph Blanch and Solanda Moran-Blanch, fit this description to a tee. Ever supportive of one another, this dynamic duo sought out to build a business and pivoted their venture to align with values that they are passionate about-all while being parents to their four beautiful girls.
Keep reading to learn more about Joseph and Solanda’s entrepreneurial journey as well as share in their insights and secrets on how to thrive as partners, parents, and business owners.
When asked about what factors guided them to pursue entrepreneurship, being inspired by those closest to them and their upbringing was the common theme. Solanda’s family moved a lot during her childhood and both Joseph and Solanda witnessed firsthand the entrepreneurial spirit that their parents embodied. While every project or venture did not come to fruition as hoped, Solanda commented on how both her and Joseph’s parents exhibited a constant, spirited drive to continue learning and trying new things-which is now incorporated into their daily lives and all things GoBe.
“(Solanda) The important thing is that they always tried. My dad was incredibly intelligent and always striving to learn new things and as a result, it instilled a lesson for me that the sky-or even beyond-was the limit when it came to making the world and society a better place. More importantly, it allowed me to believe that there are no limits to the role a person can play in pursuing that goal.”
Perhaps the most heartwarming start to an interview is seeing firsthand how much Joseph and Solanda inspire one another when it comes to being spouses, parents, and business partners. Solanda admitted to being more of an experiential learner, but seeing Joseph’s dedication and true grit in pursuing the right product gave her the confidence to believe that she too could succeed as a business owner. For Joseph, he accredits the entrepreneurial success they have achieved solely to his partner for life and for the unwavering support she gave him to pursue his dreams.
“(Solanda) It took many tries and Joseph tried many different ideas when we were starting out…and he absolutely hustled and he tried. He created minimum viable products (MVP) for each idea and would constantly iterate to get it right. Once we joined forces in the process, that’s when the magic really happened.”
“(Joseph) I never would have been able to be an entrepreneur if I married anyone else. There were definitely tough times-5 to 7 years or so-and starting a business does not yield financial security right away. Regardless of the insecurities we faced, Solanda took it all in stride and she both supported and let me take this journey-even though I failed a lot. There is no other person who could have handled that insecurity so beautifully.”
Taking a creative spin on the “chicken or the egg?” question, when they were asked whether the product idea or the business came first, it was a pleasant surprise to discover that Joseph and Solanda decided to first pursue a business venture. Joseph had initially set out to build the business and eventually, Solanda became more involved due to her compassion for feeding kids and creating products that could help families thrive. It may be an even bigger surprise to know that the first product idea they had was not even a snack container: it was actually a sippy cup! When they first started their business, Joseph went through 11 ideas and prototypes for various products and services for kids before the Snack Spinner was even discussed.
“(Joseph) We started GoBe as our initial brand and the first product we intended to launch was actually a sippy cup-we happened to land on the Snack Spinner idea during the business development stage. While we have some exciting new launches coming up, a sippy cup is not entirely ruled out for the future-it’d be pretty fun to bring it full circle!”
Joseph openly shared that the design of GoBe’s flagship product, the Original Snack Spinner, was far from perfect when the product idea was first brought to the table. In fact, it took five iteration cycles and lots of feedback before they finally felt that they had reached the perfect product. Looking back on the Snack Spinner’s product development, Joseph humbly admits that while it would have been nice to have the perfect design from the start, he would not have it any other way since the feedback they received during the iteration process made an invaluable impact on the final design.
While the Snack Spinner took the industry by storm with its ingenious design-the values that both the Snack Spinner and the GoBe brand represents solidified its staying power. With Joseph manning the design helm, Solanda explained that at the core of GoBe Kids lies a genuine want to help families thrive and be their best selves-on all fronts.
“(Solanda) There is no success in the eating relationship if a parent is trying to exert control-I did this with my own toddler because I didn’t understand my child’s eating experience. On one hand, we created GoBe for parents to have both peace of mind and ways to offer a variety of food options to their kids. On the other hand, GoBe exists to make parents and kids’ lives easier and better by creating the right tools to facilitate positive experiences while encapsulating innovation in every GoBe product. That’s what we strive to achieve and if we are not fulfilling those goals, our role is meaningless…our work is meaningless if it doesn’t enrich the lives of others.”
Enriching the lives with others does not mean that there’s no fun to be had-in fact, the word most commonly used to describe GoBe is indeed “fun”. GoBe’s design philosophy revolves around making the smallest detail engaging and exciting for kiddos-from the Lunchbox’s handle, to even the sound that the sliding compartment of the Large Snack Spinner makes when it’s opened and closed. With all of the fun product features accounted for, another element GoBe and its founders take special pride in is the level of care they take in securing both the best and most sustainable materials.
“(Joseph) We approach it from the angle that we don’t want to create products that ultimately end up in the trash. We’ve dedicated time to learning about alternative materials, meeting with material scientists, learning about the materials space, and ultimately how we can innovate with how these materials are used.”
“(Solanda) Each year we also engage in third party testing to make sure that the materials we use stay clean and sustainable. It’s imperative that they remain at the standard that we want them to be at. Being environmentally friendly is one thing but making sure that our products are safe-and stay safe- for kids in the long run is our top priority. It’s why we continue to invest in the proper testing of the materials we use and why we will continue to do so.”
When it comes to designing fun products that kids will love, Joseph and Solanda luckily already have a focus group comprised of four adorable little girls right in their own home!
“(Solanda) The kids know we care about their opinion and they love that Joseph is an engineer. They’re so excited whenever he brings home new designs, tinkers with prototypes, talks about product ideas that he is playing with and the girls-especially the two oldest-are always quick to share their feedback or new ideas. They’ve even asked Joseph to create a rainbow Snack Spinner! Our kids are our muses and they inspire Joseph and me every single day.”
Prioritizing family first is a core value that permeates into GoBe Kids’ business model and impacts employees at all levels. As parents, Joseph and Solanda distinctively understand that every family has unique needs-and those needs necessitate flexibility and a non-restrictive work lifestyle.
“(Joseph) Kids are only young for such a finite time. And while life is busy, I don’t want to be busy to where I am missing out on that priceless time with my family. Solanda and I want GoBe to be different-to have a work culture that is truly family friendly for everyone on the GoBe team and ourselves. If it’s a value we prioritize as parents, it’s one that we want to embody throughout GoBe Kids.”
Last, and certainly not least, in GoBe’s unique business culture resides its social impact mission. When Joseph and Solanda sought to create GoBe Kids, they wanted their company to firmly align with their own personal belief that there is genuine good in the world-and that it’s worth contributing to this greater good.
“(Joseph) We are thrilled to become B-Corp certified-which ultimately means that we can now make decisions that will benefit not just shareholders and investors, but also our stakeholders. We have some really cool product development coming within the next year and are completely leaning into the concept of social benefit becoming an extension of GoBe Kids. We want our social impact to be not just something we do, but something that GoBe Kids cannot exist without.”
When asked about the biggest challenges they’ve encountered as #parentbosses, both Joseph and Solanda openly shared that-just like other parents-they are familiar with navigating communication barriers and combating waves of feeling overwhelmed. Solanda explained how she finally implemented a mentor’s advice-albeit she laughed about it being three years after the fact-on how to take inventory of where your time goes each day.
“(Solanda) When I transitioned from working part time to working for GoBe, I found myself so overwhelmed with not knowing how to manage all of the business, personal, and family life demands. My mentor told me to write down all the things I do in a day, repeat across a few days, and then take inventory of where my time was going. I wish I started doing this sooner because then I would have seen how important it was to take a much needed pause or to openly talk with Joseph about how I was feeling and to get his insights.”
Creating lists is not just for time inventory purposes-it actually helps Solanda when she needs to shuffle tasks around. She’s a firm advocate for off-loading non-essential tasks, especially when the pressure feels like it’s ramping up. While she feels privileged to have the opportunity to outsource tasks or hire additional help so that she or Joseph can be more present with the kids, letting go of tasks is more aligned with making room for the things that really matter.
“(Solanda) Letting go of things and that sense of control is essential to not bring on too many things when you truly don’t have the capacity for them. Overloading yourself can end up negatively impacting the relationships with kids or even the family’s dynamic. Embracing that less is becoming more for us means that we get to enjoy increased connection time with the girls and we get to be a part of the world they are developing for themselves.”
In terms of communication, both Solanda and Joseph explained that new projects and growth opportunities were both a blessing and a curse-because that was when communication challenges were felt most keenly. What ultimately helped them the most was intentionally forcing themselves to recenter, create a connective space, and actively engage in decision making processes as a team.
“(Solanda and Joseph) This year was probably the hardest because the greatest challenge was finding time to communicate between all of the demands and time constraints we faced. We had short, brief pockets of time but we found that if we did not use those effectively-or if our individual buckets were empty-our communication was directly impacted which resulted in disagreements and hurt feelings. We started to realize that once we hit those points, we had to actively recenter ourselves back to a central point and focus on addressing discrepancies with success as the end goal-and to do this together. We discovered as we moved forward that we need to push ourselves to do this because any shifts in how we communicate as a team impacts everything else in our lives. We have to intentionally create that connective space with one another, especially when it feels incredibly difficult to do so.”
Creating space is not just useful when life feels chaotic, but it also is a great tool to connect with your partner and check in with yourself on a daily basis. Both Joseph and Solanda check in with each other everyday so that they know what to expect when the other comes home from work (bad days happen to even the best of us!). These little check-ins offer opportunities to connect and it also allows for reflection on whether something has to go (or be let go) taskwise-which actually pleasantly surprised Solanda a few times!
“(Solanda) As life got busy, I had to let go that I couldn’t cook like I used to and it’s ok for something to move off your task list in order to keep your sanity. I learned to also be ok with how our family will not always be together every day of the week due to differing schedules. Instead, whenever we are all together, there is a mutually shared intention to connect and “be” in that shared space together as a family.”
We’ve all heard the saying that “it takes a village” to raise a family and for Joseph and Solanda, they are ever-grateful for the village of cheerleaders who have rooted for them and GoBe Kids from the very beginning. Nurturing these friendships and relationships has also taught Joseph and Solanda a lot about the value that comes with finding your support tribe.
“(Solanda) I grew up in a culture where things were not talked about and breaking out of that has been so beneficial and enriching as parents. I never knew that sharing stories and experiences that were more personal with friends was so helpful in creating that sense of belonging. It made me realize that we are not alone and everyone experiences difficulties across the board and in all various ways-sharing has really been a powerful factor in building our tribe.”
Sharing stories and experiences to connect with others is not just for friendships-it’s also a great way for prospective entrepreneurs to get their voices out there. For aspiring business owners or just someone with an interesting idea on hand, Solanda shared some words of encouragement:
“You already have everything it takes so lean into that and don’t be afraid to start. Starting is the hardest and largest hurdle but once you’re past it, you’re set. Get out there, talk to people, share your ideas with people. A lot of people are protective with their ideas but remember that you are the one who is passionate about your ideas, be confident in that passion and don’t be afraid to fail.”
For those looking to venture into entrepreneurship and who may feel ready to jump in right away, Joseph shared his advice based on his own experiences:
“I think it’s super important to not be protective of your idea and seek real feedback. Be skeptical when a friend or family member or even a stranger says something nice about your idea. Also, you need to understand your strengths and weaknesses and partner with people who are strong where you’re weak. While you can pursue entrepreneurship alone, you’re statistically way more likely to succeed with great people around you. It’s hard-because finding the right people is hard-but I wouldn’t try to build any business, no matter how small, without first figuring out what team or partner I needed and going out to find them.”
Joseph and Solanda’s story of how they brought GoBe Kids to life is a testament to the power of determination, unconditional love, and supportive teamwork. Their gracious humility in recognizing the challenges they experienced-and the growth opportunities that came as a result of overcoming them-speaks volumes to the company and brand that they have created. Throughout their journey, they leaned into who they both are as individuals, came together as a couple, and established a foundation to instill valuable lessons for their daughters and to continuously make a positive impact for society at large.
As they continue to nurture GoBe Kids and their family with equal dedication, Joseph and Solanda remind us that we all have something to offer. Moreover, they show all of us that success is achievable when you build a life centered on values, dreams, and the unwavering support of those you love.