Pregnant Entrepreneur Interview: Belly Button Boutique

Please welcome Karla Trotman, owner of BellyButtonBoutique, which she started during the most uncomfortable nine months of her life. She offers some button-sized gems in this interview.


KarlaTrotman Pregnant Entrepreneur

What was your life like when it hit you that you were or were about to become a  pregnant entrepreneur?

I started my business at the end of my pregnancy, when you are feeling like the baby is going to fall out of you and that the pregnancy will never end.  So  it kept my mind off of those physical issues, but because my company is  about making pregnancy more comfortable, it provided me with great inspiration.


What was the one thing you wish you had known before you got pregnant? 

That it wasn’t going to feel good.  You don’t realize that the baby is going to be squished up against your innards like  that.  Its quite crowded.


Was there a really challenging part of your story, where you considered  closing or changing your business?  How did it turn out for you?

I’m blessed in the fact that I am a 3rd generation entrepreneur.  My father’s company is still thriving.  I remember my mom telling my father in the beginning, “we are going to      push through the 3 to 5 year mark, where most businesses fail.  If it doesn’t work out, then fine.  But we are going to stay the distance”.   There were times in the very beginning where there was NO money coming in, I had stocks of product and felt that I had done everything that I could to  make it work.  Additionally, I had two small children and was a bit frazzled.  It was then that I realized that I had to put my big girl panties on and push through.  Whenever you think that you have hit a wall, that is when you realize that you need outside help and/or advice.  So I became humble and asked my father for advice.


What was your maternity leave period like?  

During my leave, I launched my online store.  That was exciting.  You see, when you are working towards something that is your dream, its not work. I juggled it well because I had a supportive family.  Plus, I was up nursing and taking care of a baby at all hours of the night, so it all worked out.


If  you had the chance to trade your situation for the “corporate paycheck, kids in daycare” option, would you?  And why or why not? 

My kids always went to daycare and I still collect a check, per se.  Because my store is online, I am able to do marketing and special projects for my father’s corporation.  I really miss the interaction with my peers because my current situation is very isolating.  But this is what I was born to do.  And when mommy is happy, everyone is happy.


Do you have a funny story about being a pregnant entrepreneur? 

Unfortunately, I do not have any funny stories about being a pregnant entrepreneur.  My husband did think I was nuts signing papers  in the hospital and fielding calls from my attorney.  And there were all of those nights nursing my son while typing with one hand on my computer…


What  advice would you give to the independent young women who follow you?      

Don’t be afraid to strike out on your own.  Lots of people thought that my idea was dumb.  But based on my research and a spiritual directive telling me to move forward, I knew that it would work.  So I proved everyone wrong.  All roads to success aren’t paved.  Sometimes you have to get off of the beaten path and create your own trail through the woods in order to reach the goal.  And try to start you business before getting pregnant and having a family.  Sooooo much easier 🙂


Karla Trotman, Owner

The End of Nursing

The thing about being a pregnant entrepreneur is that, God willing, you eventually get to be a mompreneur.  Such is my wonderful life.  With almost 5 years of parenting under my belt, I still remember those fears I had while pregnant (both times) about how I was going to manage parenting and add it to my well-orchestrated days. Today, I have a funny story share.

Just last week, my youngest (code named Lambchop) gave up nursing over the holidays.  Yes, I nursed nearly continuously through constant operations of my business.  The frequency whittled down to just bedtime snuggles.  Then, yesterday…

Lambchop:  Mama, numnum?

Me: No, honey. All done. Hugs?

I saw her little face screw up into that face right before a tantrum hits.  Then…

Wait for it….

Lambchop:  Cheeeeeesh?


I’ve been replaced by a stick of cheddar.  I wish all of motherhood was so easy.


My hope is that some newly pregnant mom will read this post and be struck by these truths:

1.  You can do anything while working, even nurse for a very long time.

2. Kids grow up way faster than we think.  Remember, the years are short even while the days are long.

3. Your kids will eventually give you your body back,  even while they take your shoes. 

Breast Feeding Pumps: A Working Mom’s Best Friend Now Tax Deductible

Taxes are boring and tedious, until you find something that pays you back money.  I have just the ticket for you.  A new tax provision allows you to deduct your breast feeding pump and supplies.  This is great news since a good pump can take a bite out of your new baby budget.  I spent roughly $300 on mine just a few years ago, and mine didn’t even come with a sporty knapsack like the newer ones do. 


Not everyone can deduct their pumps.  Section 502 of the tax code applies to those who are able to take the medical deduction on their Schedule A, which means you must have had more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) in medical expenses.  But look over the list, because you might be closer than you think to meeting that threshold.  Payments to COBRA, insurance premiums you pay, and other big ticket items may apply.

If you don’t meet the AGI threshold but you have a Flex Spending Account (FSA) or medical savings account through your spouse’s employer, you may be able to purchase a pump with FSA funds.  FSA funds are generally pre-tax, so that offers you a bit of a savings.  But be sure to check with your plan, as the health laws are constantly changing.  Recently some or all FSA’s required previously covered over the counter (OTC) items to now require a doctor’s prescription.  So check with your doctor, and have her write you a script for your pump.  The extra paperwork might just save you a chunk of change.

As always, check with your CPA or financial advisor for specifics in your situation.