• Hoboken Girl of the Week: Erica Bell {of Babe Magnet}

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    If you have that entrepreneurial itch, then this week’s featured Hoboken Girl will be speak right to your soul. Founder of Hukkster and now Babe Magnet, a phone holder for moms and dads on the go, Erica Bell proves that once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. It is our pleasure to introduce her as our Hoboken Girl of the Week.

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    Backstory of Babe Magnet

    In 2012, after spending ten years as a fashion merchandiser and later a management consultant, Erica Bell hatched a brilliant idea for a tech startup with the help of her friend and colleague Katie Finnegan. Together, the two friends quit their jobs to launch Hukkster – an app that alerted shoppers when products went on sale across hundreds of stores online. But as is the case with many startups, and even though Hukkster was acknowledged by Time Inc. as a “2013 Top NY Start-up to Watch” and “Top 50 Website,” the app came to a close after securing ample funding became an obstacle. Since Hukkster, Erica has been working as a freelance consultant, became a mom, and had been yearning for that start-up energy once again. Her new life experience sparked new inspiration, and this year, Erica is back at it with her new product Babe Magnet, a stroller phone holder for moms and dads on the go.

    On what inspires + motivates her

    My husband is my cheerleader! He is always supportive and motivates me to keep going, even on the days when I feel like I’m in over my head {most days}. Transitioning to life as a new mom has its challenges, so I hesitated to launch a new business amidst the chaos of motherhood, but my husband never lets me back down from a good idea, so I’m at it again. Even though I have very limited time to focus on my new venture, I am so glad that I decided to move forward with it. It’s really fun to have a passion project that I can call my own again. I love bringing a new product to market – there are so many uncertainties, but I see so much opportunity ahead!

    About her goals + passions

    When I am not consulting, I am working on my marketing and retail strategy for Babe Magnet. It is so much fun to be in the driver’s seat again and to bring a new product to market. I would like every Hoboken, Jersey City, and New York City mom to have a Babe Magnet on her stroller.

    A typical day in the life…

    I work from home, so I struggle to balance work and family time. It’s hard to stay focused when your toddler is running around in the next room, but it’s a treat to have the flexibility, so I am trying to make it work! Hoboken has quite a few work-friendly cafes with wifi, so often I will work at La Bouche Café, Antique Bar and Bakery, or Honeygrow.

    About the highlights and rewards of her career

    Running a successful startup at times was incredibly exhilarating, but running a failing startup was life altering. While my first business venture unfortunately came to an end, it gave me new perspective, confidence, and the know-how to take on any new challenge and for that I’m so grateful.

    Read more: Hoboken Girl of the Week: Seema Bansal Venus et Fleur

    How she spends her days off

    My days “off” are usually spent chasing a toddler. It’s exhausting, but I love running around with him and watching him explore! I know it’s cliché, but it is really incredible to see the world through his eyes. Before having my son, my husband and I loved to travel. The furthest we venture these days is the Jersey Shore, but it’s truly been the best year yet.

    Her advice to someone pursuing this career path

    Entrepreneurship can be intimidating. Launching a new product or business may seem like an insurmountable feat if you focus on the end goal. A lot of people I meet have an idea, but don’t know where to start. Break it down into a simple to-do list and aim to check off just one item a day. Even if it’s a small step like making a phone call to an advisor or doing research online, every step will lead to another and before you know it you will be moving towards your goal. Also, talk to everyone and anyone that will listen when you’re starting up – you never know what ideas or introductions may come your way. And reach out to entrepreneurs you admire – you will be surprised, established entrepreneurs are very often willing to lend an ear and share advice as they remember the grind of the early days.

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    And now some of her Hoboken + Jersey City favorites

    Favorite restaurant in JC

    Hands down, Hamilton Pork. The chicken nachos are amazing! If you haven’t been yet, go. They’re kid friendly and Milk Sugar Love is just a short walk away for dessert {and they deliver to Hoboken}.

    Favorite boutique in Hoboken

    Hudson Paperie on Washington. I pop in there once a week and usually leave with an adorable gift or card – I love sending cards and they have an amazing selection.

    Favorite outdoor place to spend time 

    I really enjoy meeting friends at Pier 13 during the week when it’s not crowded.

    Favorite place to work out 

    I love Bar Method and I am counting down the days until my two favorite fitness studios arrive in Hoboken – Soul Cycle and SLT!

    Favorite place to go with friends 

    I have been going to the new Antique Bar & Bakery that opened down the street from me. It’s so nice to sit at a bar without TV screens and they make a great cocktail!

    Favorite thing about Hoboken 

    Benny Tudino’s Pizza. And not having to deal with tunnel traffic. I lived in New York City for 12 years and now that I live in Hoboken, I really love being able to take a trip to the beach or to visit friends and family in New Jersey and Philadelphia without worrying about tunnel traffic, especially now that I have an impatient toddler in the back seat.

    Read more: Benny Tudino’s: So Good You Need It On Your Wedding Night

    Favorite thing to do in Hudson County

    I moved to Hoboken just over a year ago, right before my son was born in April 2016. My husband lived in Hoboken when I met him back in 2006, but ten years later a lot has changed. Some of our favorite spots are still around {Benny Tudino’s and Margherita’s!}. Since we’re new in town {again}, I love exploring Hoboken. There are so many great parks for kids and so many nice outdoor dining options. It’s been a wonderful place to live as a new mom and I am excited as a lot of new places are opening here all the time.

    Something that should come to the area 

    An NYC favorite left on my wish list is Liquiteria! I love the Liquiteria smoothies, juices and gluten-free snacks. It would also be wonderful if my favorite Jersey City ice cream shop, Milk Sugar Love, opened a Hoboken location.

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    Check out Erica’s newest invention: The Babe Magnet 

    Use promo code Hoboken to save $5 plus free shipping!

     

    Want to be featured or nominate someone as an upcoming Hoboken Girl of the Week?

    Email hello@hobokengirl.com about your story!


    Written by:

    Michele mostly writes about her two favorite things - people and food. Though she’s been a Jersey girl since her mother danced on a chair at a Bruce Springsteen concert while 8-months pregnant, Michele’s life is anything but basic. During the day, she's a payroll specialist for small + local businesses, but on the nights and weekends, she's trying new places to write about and stopping for snacks along the way {so it's a good thing she's a marathoner and soccer player}. Aside from adding to her already extensive collection of throw pillows, Michele enjoys a good beer, nachos, and chillin’ with her kitties, Bo and Samson.


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