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Monica Banks

Monica Banks

Founder of Gugu Guru

How did the idea for your business come about?

I created Gugu Guru because I realized that the one thing that hasn't changed in the five years since I registered for my first pregnancy is how overwhelming and un-fun the whole process can be. For first time moms, the task of selecting a whole list of important baby products adds more stress during a time when it's crucial to cut out any extra stress from your life. When my best friend got pregnant last year, she was exasperated by the registry process. From the Bumbos to the Boppies, her head was spinning. So she turned to me for guidance.

I realized as much as I wanted to help her, I could only do so to a certain degree for three reasons:

1. I moved to the 'burbs and she is still a city slicker. She would need to outfit herself with a whole different set of baby gear for the concrete jungle than what worked for me in my new life of minivans and strip malls.

2. A year in the baby gear market is like dog years. I have consulted for all sorts of mom and baby brands in my career and I know that new products and up-and-coming brands are a constant, and if you're not staying on top of things you may just miss the perfect products for you.

3. All women have their own senses of style. As much as you have in common with your besties, your home décor and wardrobes probably look a lot different. I knew that functionality aside, based on looks alone, the stroller that I chose for my babies would not be a good fit for my girlfriend's personal fashion sense.

Inspired by my teenage obsession with the quizzes in teen mags, I thought to myself, "There should be a quiz that helps a mom discover her ideal baby registry based on her lifestyle and personal style." That was my a-ha moment. And Gugu Guru was born!

What is your backstory (how did you get to where you are today)?

Prior to launching Gugu Guru I was a branding and marketing consultant in the Mom & Baby industry consulting for big brands and small brands. In the years leading up to launching Gugu Guru, I worked to launch successful initiatives with Pampers, Similac, Belli Skincare and Baby Cargo, to name just a few. I saw that there was a trifecta of problems in the baby registry space with the abundance of selection: moms were extremely overwhelmed, brands are struggling to differentiate their products and get in front of the “right” mom and retailers are scratching their heads trying to understand how to create a personalized baby registry experience that scales.

Who do you have a crush on?

My mom crush is on my actual mom, who is beautiful, smart, strong and has the BEST sense of humor; she's the whole package! She is a real-life superhero to me...she raised seven kids while never abandoning her career goals.

Who is your supporting cast of characters that help you to be so darn crush worthy?

First and foremost, my husband. We are a true team both as husband and wife / parents but also professionally. He is my photography director and creative sounding board. There wouldn’t be a Gugu Guru without his support. After that, I have to give a loud shout-out to the moms that makeup my Gugu Guru team. From my advisors to my staff, I am profoundly lucky to have some of the brightest in the biz growing this company with me.