We’ve all been there—your close friend is pregnant and you want to give her a personal yet functional present for her soon-to-be little one (read: that mini cowboy hat is adorable but…). It’s often an unreasonable struggle between what a new mom “needs” and what is too precious to leave on the store shelf.
Lorna Diwa found herself in this exact predicament, attending multiple baby showers at a loss for what to bring. That’s when she decided to launch Cheerily, which delivers handpicked, on-trend baby gifts with a personal touch. The designs became a viral sensation, and are staples on Instagram and Pinterest.
Her products, many of which she designs herself, are machine washable and gender-neutral—as her website so astutely muses “Parents don’t need another handwash-only bonnet that will only fit once.” Indeed. Their philosophy is that anyone should be able to buy the perfect baby gift, even if you know nothing about babies. And so a booming baby business was born.
BIRTH OF A COMPANY
“All of my friends were having babies and although I didn’t have kids myself, it was important for me to gift them pieces with a little bit of personality, something that the parents would truly enjoy. I started creating my own onesies, a nod to my background in textiles and designs. Eventually enough people started asking my friends where they got their onesies and it helped me gather enough courage to quit my full-time job and start Cheerily.”
THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND CHEERILY
“We believe whether you’re a parent or not you can buy the perfect baby gift, even if you don’t know anything about babies! All of our clothing is gender neutral and machine washable (because we know no new mom has time to hand wash anything). It’s also important to us to make sure we aren’t just talking to expectant parents, but to everyone who wants to celebrate new babies.”
CUSTOM GIFTS FOR ALL
“We had so many ideas and suggestions about sayings [to product], that we couldn’t keep up! We decided to focus on custom onesies. We still use the same super soft organic fabric, but now we provide a set of templates and fonts for your own customization. In keeping with the initial idea of Cheerily—to not let people feel overwhelmed about buying a baby gift—we worked with designers to create beautiful templates to help you create a foolproof baby gift that is unique and sure to be treasured.”
ON THE DAILY
“My day at the office starts at around 8am. I’ll usually start by clearing all emails and Instagram DMs and comments. IG has become the primary channel that our customers reach out to us on. From there I am a big believer in setting goals and intentions for the week, which I break down into two to three key things I want to achieve each day. As any business owner knows, your day can become overrun with a hundred little tasks—this daily goal setting keeps me on track.
I’m fortunate that Ellen, my business partner, runs all the operations so I can focus 90% of my time on acquisition tasks. This ranges from coordinating larger scale marketing campaigns to content creation for our social channels. Ellen and I will end the day with a quick daily chat where we talk through what we each did that day (and inevitably trade stories about our dogs—we are both puppy mamas).”
“I like creating little projects for myself that require the use of my hands. Running an online business means I spend most of my working hours in front of a computer, hence it’s really satisfying to physically create something. Last month, it was going to a ceramics class. But this month I’m all about perfecting my granola recipe. I am a hippie crafter at heart!”
A TALE OF TWO CITIES
“I split my time between Asuncion (the capital of Paraguay, where I live) and San Francisco. Both are wildly different cities, and I’ve really enjoyed borrowing the best from each culture. A small example is how we eat lunch at work. San Fran has a culture of ordering delivery and eating it out of the box in front of your desk. Everyone in Asuncion takes at least a full hour for lunch. You go out, sit down at a set table, and have a siesta afterwards. I haven’t been able to 100% buy into the siesta yet, but I have found it really benefits my productivity to consciously give my mind a proper rest during lunch. Now, even when I’m in San Fran, I’ll stay off my phone during lunch, we’ll go for a walk (if only to the Wholefoods salad bar), and eat a proper meal together in the office. No laptops allowed!”
“My favorite shirt says the ‘Snuggle is real’. [We know you’ve seen it on your Instagram feed once or twice before!] I designed that before Cheerily existed for a pregnant friend. It eventually became our most popular design. We started noticing through the messages on social media that the print really resonated with the early stages of parenthood, and parents were passing it on as a message of encouragement to one another.”