Women in business inspire me, and moms who run businesses inspire me that much more! For this reason, I was extremely excited to have a phone chat with Traci Costa- mom of two and founder of local children’s fashion brand, Peekaboo Beans.
Our conversation began with “nice to finally chat after following one another online” (I’m pretty sure this is typical in this day and age). I was curious to know what inspired Costa to start her business, the philosophy behind her brand, why she decided to go the direct sales route, how she handles work/life balance, and finally; what she’s most excited about now!
Costa began the interview explaining her struggle with infertility. “Finally after five long years of trying we had our first daughter through In Vitro Fertilization.” Costa said this with happiness and relief in her tone. It was refreshing to hear Costa bravely and authentically open up the dialogue with such an emotional topic. In Costa’s words, “The struggle to parenthood made me realize I wanted to embrace every moment of being a parent.” That being said, while Costa was at home with her first daughter she became engrossed in watching life through her playful, energetic daughter. This in turn, made Costa feel, in her words, “very intrigued with child development”. “I was so inspired by my daughter’s playful personality.”
In addition, Costa told me over the phone with such enthusiasm, “I loved to dress my daughter in super cute outfits, but I found there was a real lack of quality, and durability out there, and many of the clothes were hindering my daughters ability to play.” Costa noted that around this time Lululemon track suits were very popular in our city, but there wasn’t anything out there like these for children.
With this in mind, Costa founded Peekaboo Beans– a playwear company that provides children with durable and versatile clothing that facilitates an active lifestyle.
Peekaboo Beans eliminates loose ties, fussy buttons, and itchy zippers in favour of high-quality materials with functional features. Their design focuses on mix and match styles to make it easy for any busy parent to have a well-dressed child. Their clothing also features designs that are reversible in case of unavoidable spills as well as removable labels to eliminate the itch and discomfort many children experiences. As an added economical bonus most pieces are designed to grow with kids to add more longevity.
Costa never imagined herself as an entrepreneur in the children’s fashion and apparel industry. In fact, Costa worked as an investment banker for years before she had her first daughter. Costa mentioned in the beginning of our phone interview in a surprised and humble tone, “I didn’t have any formal education or background in Fashion.”
In 2006 you could find Costa’s brand Peekaboo Beans in local boutiques, until around 2009 when the economy began to crash and these small children boutiques began to slowly go out of business. Costa mentioned that this was really a push for her to figure out how she was going to keep her brand alive, and it was also a “blessing in disguise.”
“It was nice to see my brand in boutiques but I always felt like it was missing that “voice”. There was something about having my brand in the boutiques that just felt too transactional. I wanted my brand to have an education piece.”
Costa decided to go the direct sales route in 2011. She now has 1,000 sales reps across Canada, and has paid out over 2.4 million in commission. Costa explained, in a serious tone, “This is very grass-roots, and we’re fueling ground floor economy.” The education piece I felt was lacking when Peekaboo Beans was in stores isn’t any longer. The representatives now educate our clients representing our brand and culture.” Then Costa said in an excited tone, “My work feels so much more purposeful and the entire philosophy and message is aligned with my passion to foster play.”
Being on the receiving end, I could feel Costa’s passion and excitement through the phone. I lit up on the inside because when people are passionate about their work, you can feel it.
I couldn’t leave our phone conversation without asking Costa the magical question: How do you handle work/life balance? Costa’s response: “It took a while to get here, but the core ingredient for handling my work/life balance comes from the age-old saying: “It takes a village.” “I online grocery shop, and I have a nanny & cleaner. And you know at first, I had all this guilt about it, but I wouldn’t be able to run my business if I did everything on my own. No one can.”
I told her I couldn’t agree with her more, and that I’m so excited to try this online grocery thing every one keeps talking about!!
Before we wrapped up our conversation, Costa told me she’s excited about Peekaboo Beans upcoming 10 year anniversary conference in July!
Additionally, a week after our conversation Costa won two YWCA Women of Distinction Awards! One for ‘connecting the community’, and the other for ‘Outstanding Workplace’! I’m assuming she’s very excited about receiving these too!
It was lovely chatting with Costa. I think I was most inspired by the fact that she doesn’t have any formal education in fashion, and I loved the brave, authentic way she opened up the conversation about her struggle with infertility. In addition, her brands philosophy to foster play is something that resonates with me immensely! As a former Early Childhood Educator, I know how important it is for our children to get out there and have some unstructured play! Heck, adults need play time too!
I’m excited to see what’s next for Peekaboo Beans!
Peekaboo Beans has committed to a Play Revolution through more than their clothing line. They host workshops for parents to learn about free-play and the importance of positioning kids for an active healthy lifestyle full of adventure, excitement, and creativity. Peekaboo Beans summer line is the perfect uniform for exploration, investigation without worry of clothing interfering. All while kids stay comfortable and look great!
Peekaboo Beans is sold and distributed through the direct sales platform, which employs over 800 Stylists across Canada. To learn more or find a local Stylist near you, visit https://www.peekaboobeans.com