“Stood up well to some baby chewing, and we like that we can throw them in the diaper bag and not worry about them breaking,” writes Perry, father of a 15-month-old.
And from 3-year-old Owen’s dad, a fighter pilot: “Look! Just like daddy in Top Gun!”
And the future is looking even brighter for the Babiators team: They are currently in discussion with a major retailer that will distribute the sunglasses across Europe.
In fact, things are going so well that Carolyn Guard left her consulting gig at McKinsey to launch Babiators full-time and husband Matt followed, leaving Bain a few months later.
Fienning attributes much of the success of Babiators to his military training. “Making decisions with insufficient information, adapting to changing circumstances and making honest assessments on tactics and strategies are all things that you learn in the military,” he said. “There is no business school that can emulate the weight of responsibility you gain as a junior officer. It’s this experience that directly translates to starting and successfully growing a small business.”
But military training accounts for just part of the company’s success. While Fienning has been serving as a staff officer for Marine Corps Recruiting Command this past year, his wife has been doing the heavy lifting. The former project director at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center of Internet & Society, she left to join her husband when he attended flight school in Mississippi. Being able to adapt is part of being a military spouse. For her, it meant that she had “the opportunity for me to branch off and do something entrepreneurial,” she said.
Fienning is one of the lucky members of the military who has a job waiting for him when he gets out. He’ll be exchanging his flight suit for a business suit when he completes his service commitment next year, although there’s one piece of his uniform that he will keep: his military-issued aviator sunglasses.
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