Building a Handmade Baby Accessories Business with Seiko Sisco from Waku Waku Baby
We are so pleased and excited to introduce everyone to Seiko from Waku Waku Baby! You can find Seiko’s work on her website, and follow her on Instagram @wakuwakubaby. Read on to learn more about Seiko and her work!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What’s the story behind you and your business?
Hi there! I’m Seiko and I’m the maker and owner of Waku Waku Baby. I’m currently a stay-at-home mom to my two boys (3 years and 7 months!) and fur mama to my Sheltie pup. Prior to being a mom, I worked as a chemist for a few years after completing my graduate studies in chemistry. Even though my background has always been in the sciences, I’ve always wanted to pursue my artistic, creative aspirations (even applied to art school back in the day), and wanted to finally make that happen in some way while I took a break from the corporate world.
In 2018, I discovered my love for sewing colorful, functional baby items when I began making bibs for my son, out of pure necessity at first since he was quite a drooler. Making baby and toddler accessories has since then become an amazing creative outlet for me. In 2019, I was inspired to launch my little shop so that I can continue to share my passion with families in Pittsburgh and beyond (and also fulfill that artsy aspiration of mine).
“Waku waku” means (to be) happy and excited in Japanese. I wanted my shop name to reflect my Japanese roots and the feeling I get when I sew new baby items. My hope is that my customers also feel “waku waku” upon receiving handmade items from my shop for their little ones!
Where do you draw inspiration and motivation from? How do you stay creative?
I draw both my inspiration and motivation from observing my little ones grow, play, and explore their world. I love how items I’ve created with my own two hands can be worn and enjoyed by my children and that alone gives me so much motivation to continue making something special and functional for babies and toddlers.
My customers also give me lots of inspiration! In fact, several products in my shop like the hair bow sets and bow ties were originally customer requests. I also draw inspiration from colorful, imaginative fabric designs that have a whimsical storybook feel to it.
What does your creative process look like from start to finish?
When I come up with an idea it gets written down/sketched out in my bullet journal first. Then I usually just start making and learn as I go. When I make something for the first time, the prototype gets worn by my kiddos for a while and see how it wears over time.
Once I’m happy with the wearability and durability, that’s when I will list the item for sale. I only make a few at a time. I’m always continuing to experiment with different fabrics and alternate ways of constructing the piece and expect that my products will continue to evolve over time.
What’s your current favorite podcast, music, or tv show that you’re hooked on and why?
Great question wish I had an answer to! Ask me in a year from now when my kids hopefully will be sleeping through the night.
Name one thing not many people know about you.
I’ve been eating plant-based for the last 3 years or so!
What are your top three values in life?
Authenticity, Compassion, Open-mindedness.
Do you have any business challenges and/or goals you’re hoping to crush over the next 6 months?
This year has been a crazy, strange year to say the least! My business goals for this year have changed significantly since the beginning of the year. My goal now is to establish a professional online presence for my little shop. I’m hoping to launch my own website by the end of this year!
Do you have any advice for all the small handmade business owners out there who are just getting started?
I’m still a newbie small handmade business owner myself so this is what I tell myself when I feel lost, confused or second guess my decisions: First write it all down – questions, thoughts, goals, etc. Then ask yourself “why not?”.