For our first interview, we had the pleasure to "chat" with Sara Kenton. Sara is the founder and CEO of Yardbird. An amazing company with a great mission.
For our readers, could you tell us about Yardbird as a company and talk a little bit about your products?
At Yardbird we create beautifully designed and engineered products that encourage families to put their phones down, get outside, and have fun. Our products include the Zephyr FLyer Tree Swing, Captain Safety, and Field Day Jump Ropes. All of our products are design-forward and extremely durable.
What’s the story behind Yardbird?
My fondest memories growing up include street-wide games of hide-and-go-seek, kickball, and capture the flag. My family basically lived outside. We knew all our neighbors, and they were our fellow explorers, teammates, opponents and companions.
Now the world is a different place. As parents, we are in constant competition with devices. I created Yardbird because I want to inspire among all families that “free range living” that I grew up with.
My career experience working in ecommerce and marketing at YETI, Outdoor Voices and HomeAway helped bring that vision to life.
Each of these brands were mission-driven and focused on experiences, quality and design. I applied that best-in-class thinking to create Yardbird and beautiful outdoor products that encourage families to get out and experience life.
A lot of people we talk to often ask about how to take a product from an idea to production, obviously there are different routes one could take to do that, how was that experience for you?
First of all, I would say the journey of product development is sometimes tough and intimidating, but incredibly gratifying as well.
The reality is that there is no magic formula. While there is a broad framework, (Design, Engineering, Prototyping, Development, Testing, Production), it is not always linear and can look very different from one product to the next. Materials, manufacturing techniques, and the type of product can look very different at each step within that framework.
Finding and vetting the right supplier is an integral part of all parts of that process. However as a startup, you are also “selling” them on yourself as an entrepreneur and your business much like you would to an investor.
So, my experience was that product development as a start up became more relational than I expected.
Captain Safety first and now Zephyr Flyer, should we expect more products from Yardbird in the near future?
We just launched Field Day Jump Ropes and Double Dutch Set, and later this month we are launching the Ready-To-Roll Kickball Set. We are also working on a corn hole game.
Where do you see Yardbird in 5 years?
Our mission is to provide opportunities for families and friends to put their phones down, get outside, and have fun.
Hopefully in 5 years we have significantly grown our product assortment as well as launched some other initiatives we have up our sleeve that deliver against that mission.
We want anything with our logo on it to be synonymous with great design and quality.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to start a new brand or an online store?
Sharpen your purpose and mission early and refine it often, as it will be your guiding light in terms of developing priorities, finding resources, and how you spend your days.
Leverage a technology platform that has a rich community and partner ecosystem behind it, as it will allow you to scale faster without adding a ton of head count.
Last but not least, as a Mom and an entrepreneur, what does a typical work day look like for you these days?
I am very diligent about setting and sticking to annual, quarterly, and monthly goals both professionally and personally. That structure gives me clarity to how I fill my day-to-day tasks. I would say my days look quite different from one day to the next, but there are a few blocks of time I TRY stick to.
Reality check- this happens exactly this way about 2-3 days a week :)
- 7:00 wake up
- 7:30 breakfast + workout
- 9:00 work
- 11:30 Lunch
- 12:30 - 5 Work
- 5-8 - Make Dinner and play outside with fam
- 8-9 - Wind down and finish up work
- 10: Go to bed
We want to thank Sara again for taking the time and doing this with us, we truly appreciate it. You can find out more about Yardbird and checkout their amazing products on their website yardbirdoutside.com you can also find them on Facebook, and Instagram.