The Mom Entrepreneur Blog Has Moved!

We are now using Wordpress. You should be automatically redirected in 5 seconds. If not, visit and update your bookmarks.

Lemons to lemonade feature #2: Sarah Laufer

Sunday, November 16, 2008
We continue our 30 day "lemons to lemonade" marathon with Sarah Laufer, founding partner of Play Outdoors, which was established in 2008. Play Outdoors is an e-commerce site that sells high quality outdoor clothing and accessories for children ages 0-12. The company is also a resource center for families who are looking for ideas on getting outside with their families.

The inspiration for Play Outdoors was found in Sarah's backyard - which happens to be the Deschutes National Forest in Bend, Oregon. Bend is a Mecca of outdoor enthusiasts, beautiful places and active families.

Sarah and her husband moved to Bend to raise their children (ages one and three) because they wanted them to have every opportunity to make a connection with nature and the outdoors. From learning to ski at Mt. Bachelor and canoeing in the Cascade Lakes to cycling through the foothills of the Three Sisters, Sarah and her family lives in the best place to test the gear and clothing they sell. Here is her story...

How has this economy affected you, your business and your family?
Well we launched our new business, Play Outdoors, on Oct 10th 2008—right in the middle of what some news personalities have characterized as the worst economic climate since the Great Depression.

Since we launched sales have been slow, but interest in our message is huge. It’s hard to know as a new business if we would have started with stronger sales had the economy been more stable. However, I do believe that the reason for slower than expected sales is a combination of being a new business, the fact that it is an election year—and yes, the credit crisis. We have put a portion of our project on hold for now, but I anticipate that the company will pick up that piece in the spring and continue on as planned.

How are you making lemonade from lemons?
We have decided to focus on being who we are and continue with our goal of creating a place where parents and kids are encouraged to get outdoors. We decided to change some of our marketing as well. For our winter mailer, we are focusing on helping families get back to the basics. In doing so, we are identifying the essential gear and clothing needed to have fun and comfortable outdoor adventures with kids.

I do believe that families will continue to look for good quality products, but may not be willing to pay what they were willing to pay six months ago. Lucky for us, there are not a lot of choices out there for kids outdoor clothing and gear and we offer a wide range of prices and styles for every budget.

As a new business, it’s really important for us to keep up of the momentum of the brand growth and the big picture.

Any encouraging words you would like to offer mom entrepreneurs?
I was recently at a talk where Rich Karlgaard, the publisher of Forbes magazine, spoke and he said that these are the times, now, that entrepreneurs truly shine. He explained that an economic downturn is an advantage to entrepreneurs and investors. That is, when big companies are laying off workers and cutting budgets there appears to be less to go around—but in reality, it is the perfect climate for entrepreneurs because the smart people who would normally work for these companies will now look to make their own mark.

In short, these are the times for innovation, creativity and resourcefulness. Don’t be afraid to follow your vision.

For more information about the company and their products, visit You can also email Sarah at or call 1-866-608-2423.