Claudia DiDomenico started her career in a film background, finding herself an entrepreneur after becoming a mom and needing the schedule flexibility and wish to make the world a better place for her child. The result is Lil Bellies (lilbellies.com), a high-end supply store for children focused on being environmentally and design conscious. Claudia talks to Erik Huberman, CEO of Hawke Media, about how Lil Bellies is changing the world, becoming an entrepreneur and Santa Monica.
Erik Huberman: What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
Claudia DiDomenico: I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur. I moved to L.A. to be in the film business, to make movies, but when I had my first child, I decided that being a mom was the most important job I could do in that moment. But as a mom, I felt like I need to do something not only to positively affect my child, but the world around me, the world my child would grow up into. Over time, I realized I couldn’t do anything but open my own business because of the busy schedule of being a mom. I needed to do something that I would be in charge of, that I would have more control of. That inspired me to get into entrepreneurship.
EH: Tell me about Lil Bellies.
CD: Lil Bellies started as an idea to affect a child’s life and their future somehow. Lil Bellies is a brand dedicated to raising awareness to the importance of nature in a child’s life. We focus our products on simpler designs from the past. From the time of conception to production, we focus on making products that are safe and will last a long time — being able to be passed down from generation to generation.
EH: Do you have one piece of advice for entrepreneurs starting their own business?
CD: Don’t be afraid to fail. Through the failing is where you learn. I think a lot of people avoid becoming an entrepreneur because they think it will cost a lot of money, and they’re afraid to fail. But it’s through those difficulties that you learn how to be better. It seems for me, that when I go into business, I think, “This is exactly what people need,” but then I get into it and have to change and mold to what people actually want. Don’t be afraid to change and listen to your public.
EH: How are you changing the world?
CD: Through wanting to make a difference in the world of tomorrow and acting today and everyday and hope I’m making a difference. We live in a time of food, climate and water crises. As a mom, I can’t sit home and do nothing knowing these things are going on. Lil Bellies has partnered with Kiss the Ground, a nonprofit here in California. Their solution — which I love because it’s attainable and simple — is to regenerate the soil using carbon, helping the soil retain more water and make the food more nutritious. Together we educate, host events and go to schools to teach the children how to regenerate soil, compost, be non-wasteful and learn the importance of recycling. Nature is our life source and children are the future. We want to inspire children because they can do anything they want. They have a world of possibility.
EH: Why Santa Monica?
CD: We love the community, we feel it’s a small, nurturing community that’s very family oriented. Most families we find here are really worried about their children’s futures. They’re very eager to make a difference in the world for their children’s futures. It’s the perfect place to start a brand like Lil Bellies. There’s a ton of incentives for new business, which you don’t see in a lot of places. Santa Monica is perfect.
EH: Is there anything you’d like to share with the Santa Monica community?
CD: I’d like to say that I’m grateful. I’m grateful for them and how well they’ve received us. They’ve allowed us to feel useful and make something of it.