by molly knight raskin| September 16, 2013 |
Lauren and Brian Lang created The Shade to protect their two young sons.
Lauren Lang had been trying to figure out how to shield her young sons from the elements when transporting them in strollers—without using blankets and flimsy plastic clips.
One afternoon in 2010, while driving near her Bethesda home, she had an epiphany. “It was a really rough idea for a product,” she recalls, “but I grabbed an envelope and sketched out something on the back of it.” When she arrived home, she showed the sketch to her husband, Brian Lang, who works in commercial real estate. “I told her, ‘This makes total sense,’” he recalls. “But I also said we should build a prototype first, then take it from there.”
Together, the couple embarked on more than a year of research and development, which resulted in the founding of their company—Imagine Baby. Lauren’s sketch led to their first product, The Shade ($35), a breathable cover that attaches to infant car seats via elastic and protects babies from the sun, rain, and wind.
In just one year their company morphed into a full-fledged business that the couple jointly runs: She handles the daily marketing, sales, and new product development, while he oversees the accounting side. They both balance work with the demands of raising two boys, now ages 2 and 4, and hold business meetings in the kitchen after family mealtime. The around-the-clock juggling act, it seems, is paying off.
The Shade is sold in independent local boutiques—such as Kidville in Bethesda—and national retail chains including buybuy BABY, Sears, and Babies “R” Us. It’s also generating buzz from celebrity parents, including Lisa Ling, Ali Landry, and Beverley Mitchell.
Although the couple had no retail experience before launching The Shade into the crowded baby product market, they say they’ve learned quickly and enjoy working together. This fall the couple will introduce two new infant accessory products, and they’re looking forward to more growth. “We enjoy being creative,” says Lauren. “For some, working with their husband or family is not a good fit. We are fortunate that we are successful working together and get to have some fun too.” 800-586-6401