Shari Raymond, founder of Milton & Goose, grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut with her most cherished childhood memories being time spent with family, especially family vacations. Today with 2 children of her own, she hopes their fondest childhood memories will also be the moments they have spent together as a family.
Playtime is also a big part of the Raymond household and when looking for a play kitchen for her son and not being able to find anything that was both quality and on-trend, Shari jumped into the world of business with her decision to start Milton & Goose. When asked about what is important to her when shopping for products for her children, Shari says “I try to find a balance between quality and a beautiful aesthetic. I love toys that aren’t an eyesore to look at and can withstand daily play without falling apart. Luckily, there are more and more toys that fit the bill every year”.
Shari certainly created something that “fit the bill” when creating her increasingly popular, chic, and solid wooden play kitchens. Learn more about the innovative founder of Milton & Goose in our interview below.
What has been the most challenging part of starting and growing a business?
There are so many challenging things about starting and growing a business. I’d say the hardest thing about starting a business is actually starting. It’s easy to get lost in the development and perfecting stage without actually launching, but at some point you have to just take a leap of faith and start selling. Growing a business is a whole other beast and requires discipline, flexibility, and a whole lot of figuring things out as you go! Each new stage brings different challenges, but it’s a fun journey and a job I feel lucky to have.
What about the most challenging part about being a mom? :)
Being a mom is one of life’s greatest joys, but it obviously doesn’t come without its many sacrifices and hardships. I’d say the hardest thing about starting a business while parenting little kids is the sleep deprivation that you’re operating with on a daily basis. It takes some practice to sound professional through the brain fog that comes with early morning wake ups and middle-of-the-night disruptions.
You teamed up with second-generation Amish toymakers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Why did you choose them to create Milton & Goose play kitchens?
They have been creating beautiful toys for generations, so when I set out to find my manufacturing partners, they were a perfect fit. I wish I could say I approached them early on, but it took a lot of rejections and doors closed on me before I found them.
What is your home design aesthetic?
I’d call my style “transitional.” It’s so vague, but that’s what I love about it! Decor in my home ranges from modern to antique. I once read some decorating advice from an interior designer who said to fill your home with things you love and you can’t go wrong. I take that to heart and bring in pieces that make me happy, without worrying too much about whether they fit with an overall aesthetic.
What is your favorite room in your house?
My favorite room is my bedroom. It has warm, neutral tones that instantly calm me when I walk in, and a few touches like bedside lamps that once belonged to my grandmother, that just make me so happy.
Where do you spend the most time as a family in your home?
In our kitchen/dining room. We love eating, and with two toddlers around, it seems to always be snack time.
What advice would you give other moms entering ‘the toddler stage’.
The toddler stage is so exciting because you’re starting to learn so much more about your child, including their likes and dislikes (beyond just “he likes peaches”), interests, and thoughts. But oh man, the temper tantrums! Toddler tantrums are a real thing and my advice is to just give in. Give them a few minutes to work through whatever emotion they’re having, and then move on.