Named after a Filipino greeting that means “long life,” Mabuhay strives to represent just that with their eco-friendly gear for babies and children up to six years of age. Owner Camille Seiberling is passionate about finding hand-made, and in some cases one-of-a-kind items from local Bay Area designers, as well as adorable trinkets from around the world. Her mission has paid off—Mabuhay is not just a popular resource for Bay Area parents, it’s also their Totally Awesome pick for best clothing and gear store for kids.
Camille recently took the time to chat with us about what makes Mabuhay awesome, her advice for new business owners, and more. Read on:
Red Tricycle: Congratulations! Your community recently voted you “Most Awesome.” What do you think your customers value most about your business?
Camille Seiberling: I think my customers come to Mabuhay because I carry unique, handmade clothing and toys made from organic and sustainable materials. My customers are looking for special gifts and they want to support local artists and designers. I make a point of reaching out to my customers, sharing my experiences as a mom and small business owner, and trying to help them find exactly what they need. I really enjoy helping customers put together super cute outfits, and I have made so many friends. I think a lot of folks appreciate the personal touch I add to my business, and relate to me as a mom trying to find balance in life.
RT: What inspired you to start your business?
CS: My first son Griffin inspired me to open my children’s boutique almost 6 years ago. After he was born I began searching for well designed, local and organic products. There were so few options that suited my taste and satisfied my desire to buy sustainable products that were made in the U.S. I realized that there must be other new parents like me in San Francisco, and that my taste and sense of style could drive my business.
RT: Any advice for new business owners just getting started?
CS: As an entrepreneur I think it is important to be passionate about your business. Passion is what will keep you going through rain or shine. Also I think you should write a solid business plan before you dive in and get help. There are many resources out there that help businesses in the Bay Area. I enrolled in a program at the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center and learned what I needed to get started. I also took advantage of my personal network, and received a lot of help from friends and family. When I started, my husband walked around the neighborhood, carrying our son in a Bjorn, and distributed flyers to all the parents he came across. This was how we generated our initial customer base. Since then, our best customers have always been people who know me and want to keep returning to see what’s new.
RT: Can you give us one tip for balancing entrepreneurship with parenthood?
CS: I do not miss important events in my children’s lives. It can be difficult to manage it all but I think it is a blessing to be self-employed and be able to take off work when my family needs me.
My advice is to find help, so you can have time with your family.
RT: What is your proudest moment as a business owner or parent?
CS: I think the proudest moment as a business owner is when customers come into my boutique and tell me how much they love Mabuhay. Many of my Yelp reviews are about me and that makes me feel good about my business, especially when I am just being myself. Also, my beautiful sons Griffin and Rocket continue to inspire me and my “awesome” business every day.
RT: Is there a special offer you’d like to include for Red Tricycle readers?
CS: If you like our Mabuhay Page you get 10% off your first purchase in the store. We hope to see you soon!