The business these former Virginia teachers started that is helping parents nationwide

Posted at 10:16 PM, Mar 29, 2023

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- Another busy day for Elizabeth and Paul Karabiac revolves around their home business called Teething Around. The company is based on absorbent bibs and safety-certified teething products.

“We do make some high-quality products. We do make things that babies need,“ Paul said.

Just a few years ago, Elizabeth was a kindergarten teacher in Hopewell and Paul was a high school English teacher. But four years ago, a few months after having their first child, everything would change.

How these two former teachers created a business helping parents across the country

“This baby won't stop crying, what is wrong? I don't understand,“ Elizabeth remembered.

It turns out their young son was teething at the time.

“With teething would come drool. And he would drool and he'd get these really bad eczema rashes,“ Elizabeth said.

“I think the eczema part was really like the most concerning for us like to see our son break out in a rash on his chest and he's always had very sensitive skin and we'd have to go see the dermatologist,“ Paul said.

No matter what bib they tried, none of them seemed to absorb their son's drool.

So Elizabeth turned to a sewing machine.

How these two former teachers created a business helping parents across the country

“The backing we used is like a super thick fleece so it doesn't go like on their skin or on their onesie or anything like that,“ Elizabeth said.

Through the teething process, the couple would discover that their son also didn't like teething toys.

“He just didn't really love them or they were too big or too chunky and so I started looking and researching on how to make them,“ Elizabeth said.

That's how their new business was born.

Paul, who called himself “very risk-averse “ kept his job as a teacher while Elizabeth quit hers and started making absorbent bibs and teething toys full-time.

As their first venture, the two set up a booth at a farmer's market.

“The first Saturday we went we made like $900,“ Elizabeth said.

The business would only grow from there.

“It's really nice to be able to see other babies be able to use it and to benefit from what we learned,“ Paul said.

But when COVID-19 hit two years ago, the unexpected happen - their business doubled which helped bring about another business decision.

“So last June, Paul quit his job,“ Elizabeth said.

The couple divides up the work for their business. Elizabeth sews and makes teething toys and also makes sure every item is safety tested and certified.

“It goes through a pull test, it goes through a weight test, it goes through a drop test. All these different tests that make sure it's safe and not going to come apart, it's not going to break,“ Elizabeth said.

On the other side, Paul sews and handles paperwork.

How these two former teachers created a business helping parents across the country

“I take the kids to daycare or school, I come home, make my pot of coffee, send some invoices on the computer while I'm watching TV. I come downstairs or go in the office,“ Paul said.

The couple has shipped their products to all 50 states and Europe and now have their products in three stores.

How these two former teachers created a business helping parents across the country

“We definitely make more now with the business than we both did teaching,“ Paul said.

This year is set to be their best year yet.

“I would say we probably hit 7,000 to 8,000 orders this year. Hopefully 8,000 orders this year,“ Paul said.