Search Interviews:

Jeremy Weisz 4:24

I know, one of your big priorities was to be a stay at home mom, be with your kids. And you’ve got that what were your What did your parents do?

Julie Clark 4:31

Well, unfortunately, my mom was not able to be a stay at home mom, because she had to work. We didn’t have a whole lot of money. My dad was an electrician. My mom did stay home with me, actually, for the first seven years of life, which was wonderful. And then she went back to work full time. And so, you know, at that age, it was funny, you know, I mean, this was to date myself in the early 70s. And it seems so unsafe to kind of Leave a child, let a child come home from school and let herself in the house that whole latchkey kid thing, right? So yeah, so my mom was home with me when she could be, and then to go back to work,

Jeremy Weisz 5:11

you know. And so I remember hearing you say one of your dad’s sayings that that you bring, you know, bring with you. Do you remember that saying that affected you that he used to say? I can’t think of what it was it was. He said, Don’t do anything half assed. Oh, that’s right. That’s so funny. I can’t believe you read that. But it’s funny. So when did he tell you that? Because that’s really influenced you and how you built your company?

Julie Clark 5:43

That is funny. Yeah, you know, I grew up believing that you can’t do anything half assed if you’re going to commit to something, you really need to commit to it. My husband says it too. He says it all the time to our daughters. And it’s a funny thing that I do find myself living by, you know, if you’re going to really commit to something, then you really need to do it. I do, I do have to admit that. The only time I feel half assed is if I start if I pick up a book, and I don’t like it, I will put it down and never read it again. So I do find myself sort of picking and choosing what I’m going to commit to. But I feel that in particular, when you’re really passionate about something, that’s when it’s easy to commit, you know, because because you believe in it, you really want it to happen.

Jeremy Weisz 6:31

Was there a time early on with the company? Obviously, you started it in your basement that you those words ringing in your head that don’t do something half assed that you had to kind of overcome? Or was it just easy because you had just a few on site you to do it?

Julie Clark 6:45

Well, I think it was once I decided, I mean, the truth is like a lot of startups, it was something Baby Einstein but something that I conceived of, and thought about for quite a while before I really started to do something about it. And so I wouldn’t say that that meant I was doing it half assed, I kind of wasn’t doing it at all, I was just thinking about it, until I decided to do it. And then once I decided to do it, yeah, I mean, absolutely random in my head, if you’re gonna do it, do it and do it. Right. And I think that many times, people, I see it all the time with people who are who are managing startups, they’ll try to get by, without doing everything really well, because often they’re worried about finances, or they don’t have the ability to do it. Well, because they don’t, they’re not skilled in it. I would say that one of the things that really made Baby Einstein successful, as well as the other startups that I’ve worked on, is that I really made sure that it was quality, it was what I would want, right? So in particular, because I was making something for children. And I think that when you’re making something for children, parents really want it to be good, you don’t want it to be junky. So I knew that I needed the music to be high quality, beautiful music. And that, for me was tricky, because that was the most expensive part, at least when I started Baby Einstein was I could do much of it myself and do it with a really beautiful high quality. But I am not a musician, so I needed to hire somebody for that. And at the time, I remember sitting down with my husband and saying, what do you think I mean, we could maybe get some old recordings or something in the public domain. And we came to the decision that it couldn’t be that it really had to be very special, and that it couldn’t be half assed.

Jeremy Weisz 8:41

Yeah. I mean, what made you decide to even bring it to the market? Because I know you were filling a need for your kids you wanted? What made you decide, Oh, you know what, I really want to get this out to everyone.

Julie Clark 8:51

Well, two things. I mean, first and foremost, I’m a teacher. And so I love the idea when I first went into teaching when I decided to become a teacher and I was an English teacher, for a few years before I left school to have my daughter. You know, when you really love something, you want to share it and you hope that you can create the same love and somebody else. And so when I became an English teacher, I hoped that I could create that same love for poetry, for example, in my students. And so with Baby Einstein, it was similar. It was like, Okay, I’m making this and I know it’s going to be great for my daughter. And I know there’s nothing else in the marketplace like this that exposes kids to this kind of really incredible music that I love so much. So there was that component. And then on top of that, the realistic part is that I was starting to invest personal money, right, I was investing my own finances, I didn’t borrow any money. And when you start investing your own money, there’s that nervousness, quality of shoot, you know, I really need to make sure that when we get a bad thing I at least make it back even if I don’t make it million dollars at least I can earn back what I’ve spent. Yeah. You know?

Jeremy Weisz 10:03

And I mean, obviously people see from the outside and go, Oh, you know, Baby Einstein success, success success. But what were some of the big, you know, wasn’t always that easy. What were some of the big roadblocks you hit with the business that you’d overcome?

Julie Clark 10:15

Well, initially, the biggest roadblock was how am I going to get this into the market? You know, at the time, I was living in Georgia, I was a stay at home mom, I had been a teacher, I had no marketing experience whatsoever. I had a product that I knew was great. And I believed in it. And I really thought it could be successful. But I was now stuck with a product that I knew again, all these things about. But how was I going to get that to other people? And that is, of course, everybody asks that question. I always say, I have this great thing, how am I going to get it out there? And so for me what I did, that was the first big Roadblock, I decided to go to a trade show. And I’d never been to a trade show. But I thought, Okay, this is, this is where I can find a buyer for my product. And I didn’t even have a booth at that trade show. For one reason, because I’ve never been to a trade show. And I didn’t know that a booth was required. The other reason is that I probably couldn’t have afforded a booth even if I could. Yes, they are. So I went to that trade show with my videos, which were at the time and VHS form. And watch around the trade show looking for a particular buyer, I knew where I wanted my product to be. And that was at a store called the right start, which is where I shopped for my own baby. And on the second day, I didn’t find a buyer from the right start. And I was, you know, so excited, I found somebody I knew that this was the perfect product for them. And so I pretty much charged her and got the video in your hand. And that was very exciting. I knew I got it in her hand, and I’ve been able to give her like the one minute pitch about what it was. Would you

Jeremy Weisz 11:57

say? What, what was the one minute pitch? What do you

Julie Clark 12:02

think the one minute pitch was? You know, of course, I was just so excited. I found her it probably sounded like this. Oh my god, I love your store. I shop your store all the time for my baby. It’s the greatest store. And guess what, I have the perfect product for your store. I made this and it is just exactly what the right start needs. There’s nothing like it in the marketplace. I’m a mom of a new baby. I know moms with new babies who would love this. It’s classical music for babies. It’s completely unique. And it has the greatest name Baby Einstein, you really, really, really must have this in your store. I think that was something like what it sounded like.

Jeremy Weisz 12:42

So then what was another roadblock? So obviously, where was the actual tradeshow? It was in New York. You just went on a whim from Georgia, New York just to find this one or two people that you can actually get this in the hands of. Exactly.

Julie Clark 12:57

So yeah. So I went to New York, the trade shows at the Javits centre, there’s 20, there’s about 20,000 people who attend Toy Fair. So that was remarkable and unexpected. Again, I had never been to a trade show. So I had no idea how enormous this was going to be. And yeah, that was, that was pretty important. And something again, I tell people all the time, you need to how do you get in front of your buyers? And so for me, that was important. Now, you know, it’s a little bit skewed, because the marketplace has changed so much from the time that I launched Baby Einstein, right, which was 1997. In 1997. There really was no internet. I mean, people didn’t communicate via email. And we didn’t go online and buy things from Amazon. So it was a different market, people still shopped in stores, to a much greater degree than they do now. And so I’m not, you know, I will say, and we can talk about this later, I’ve run into some different roadblocks in this new marketplace with the new businesses that I’ve been working with.

Jeremy Weisz 14:06

So what’s Yeah, you could talk about that. Now, what is one roadblock you’ve hit now that you didn’t see before?

Julie Clark 14:14

Well, one thing, of course, is that people shop online so much. And so the glut of product available online, is enormous. For example, we have a company a new company called Baby Bytes, and it’s Bytes. And baby bites, makes predominantly apps. And the App Store is flooded with something like I am not going to get the number right. I want to say it’s, you know, 20,000 new apps a day. It’s ridiculous. How do you rise out of the noise of that to become something that people recognise and see for us what we did and have been doing? And it’s been fairly successful so far is that it comes back to that quality. So there have been four instances now. And we just launched our first app Lullabies in June. And we have had on four occasions, the top slot in the app store for best new apps. And that’s because our app is the best. And so how do you rise above? Well, you have to produce the best product, it has to be excellent. It has to stand out either. Because it’s the best, it has to have a great catchy name, which can be a roadblock. I mean, I talk to people often that have a great company idea, but the name is say it’s called, you know, WD enterprises. I have no idea what they do.

Jeremy Weisz 15:45

You’ve come up with a good news. Yeah, yeah, Baby Einstein. So how did you come up with Baby Einstein? And no, I can use Einstein’s name. Was there any issue with that?

Julie Clark 15:57

Oh, yes, there was, um, my ignorance was wonderful, because I had never started a company. And I didn’t understand trademark or copyright laws or anything like that. So I sat in my kitchen, when I was in the process of creating that first Baby Einstein video. And I thought what would be a great name, you know, I knew that it was a product for babies. So I should have baby in the name. And I knew what ultimately I wanted it to do, which was, you know, be the best product and be stimulating, and, you know, have amazing music and just be full of curiosity and wonder. And the person who emulated that the most for me was Albert Einstein, who not only was, you know, sort of the greatest physicist ever, but who also played the violin, and says, you know, creativity, just talked and talked about creativity and imagination. So the name made perfect sense to me. The funny part is that my husband is actually a physics major came home from his job, the day that I drawn that logo, which I have to say, I’m so proud of, it’s still the same logo that appears on Baby Einstein products everywhere. I drew that at my kitchen table, the little head and everything. And he I told them, I said, I think we should call this Baby Einstein. He’s like, watch, you can’t call this Baby Einstein. I mean, Einstein was there with me at this whole speech about Einstein. Well, I stuck to my guns. And I said, No, this is perfect. You don’t understand. Most people are not physics majors. Most people are and I’ve tried to appeal to moms, right. And moms and dads like they look for that for their child. And so this is the perfect name. And ultimately, we did end up running into some issues. Two years into the company’s success, which was growing and changing and just becoming amazing. And we now have three products in the market, which were Baby Einstein, baby Mozart and baby Bach. We received a letter from a lawyer, as you can imagine, that was not well received. That said, hey, guess what, you can’t use the name Baby Einstein. And I was so sad, because first of all, it was the greatest name ever. And secondly, because I had a product now I was, you know, I was running up the numbers that people knew it and recognise we’re talking about and how can I possibly change it? And so long story short, we negotiated with our lawyer and this other lawyer, this other lawyer represented the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who owns actually Albert Einstein’s final papers. And you know, in the end, it makes sense. I don’t mind actually donating money to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I mean, it’s an amazing school. And it’s where Einstein would have wanted money to go. And so when I looked at it that way, it made sense to me. So we negotiated it was expensive. Fortunately, we had had success. And so we were we were able and willing to make that donation to the university. So it worked out.

Jeremy Weisz 19:06

Yeah. Yeah. Because it was a good day. You want to keep it. It is more, were there any other challenges when you were getting where you’re growing, like with when you have to start hiring or you have to increase the amount of videos or distribution what what Roblox people watch out for with that?

Julie Clark 19:25

Well, we were really lucky because our business was so self contained. So for the first three years, we literally worked in our basement. And we had four employees. It was myself, my husband, a woman who answered the phone. It was a friend and neighbour, and a guy that we hired who had been distributing our products in Japan and wanted to move back to the US. And he was just the perfect hire for us. We still work with Jeff matej. And so we worked literally out of my basement, and then we moved into some office space, very small office space. The reality for us for hiring those first five years that we own the company was that we only had five employees at the time that we sold the company to Disney. So I can’t even speak to hiring because it was remarkable and ridiculous. In our fifth year, we did over $20 million in sales. And we had five employees, it was crazy. And a couple of people that we contracted with, like our musician, and a video editor, but it was wonderful. I mean, we were just tiny, and it was great. And we work with people that we knew and loved. So the really big challenge came when that fifth year hit, and we were growing like mad. And we realized that to maintain our growth, we were really going to need to hire more people. And we were going to really need to ramp up our business. So we were going to, you know, have to make more product, we loved what we did. I mean, when I made a video, it was like creating baby. I mean, it was I mean, it was the no sex, of course, but we were,

Jeremy Weisz 21:04

we were inspirational, the

Julie Clark 21:07

substance of the idea to everything that went into it, whether it was you know, designing the puppets that were going to go on my hands and selecting the toys that were going to be a part of the video to choosing the music to working with the musician and the sound editor. And it was just so great. It was like creating something really new and beautiful. And that was going to have to go away when we grew. We knew that because we just there was no way we could maintain that slow pace of the nine month say that it took to create and grow a baby was going to have to go by the wayside. And I wasn’t really wanting to give that up. I knew that I couldn’t make products that were going to mean as much to me if I had to make them really quickly. So we sat down my husband and I and we said, okay, what, you know, we have sort of two choices here we can do that we can grow and we can add all of these people and we can make a product that isn’t the perfect product for us anymore. Or we can kind of count our blessings and say, Hmm, we could sell this company, we knew Disney would be interested because they were already licencing the name for books from us. And we figured we could go to them and say, Hey, we want to sell Are you interested? And we were pretty sure they’d say yes. So we made that decision, we decided to allow the baby to move to college. And, and we did and we sold the company. And that was a hard decision. And it remained a hard. It remains something that was a little bit hard to live with for quite a while after the fact

Jeremy Weisz 22:44

what was heard about it afterwards?

Julie Clark 22:46

Well, you know, when we first negotiated the sale and made the sale, I signed an employment agreement with Disney. And I assumed that I would be consulting with Disney a whole heck of a lot and still be really deeply involved in creating the product. And what happened, which is really the story of many entrepreneurs, is that the big company wasn’t so interested anymore in hearing what the little guy had to say. And so the company grew and it changed. And that was very hard to watch. So it turned out that it wasn’t as if my baby grew up and went to college. It was more like my baby grew up, got on an alien spaceship and went to another planet. That was differently. The company was run after so it was hard to watch. You know, I mean, I loved it. It was it was part of my heart. And it changed a lot but in some ways, in some ways for the good and in some ways for ways that I wouldn’t have done it.

Jeremy Weisz 23:49

I mean, I watched you give a talk. And one of the interesting parts that you said, about hiring, which I thought was really important was you didn’t just hire these people and pay them a wage, you actually gave them stake in the company, right? Yes. I think that’s really important to talk about how did you make that decision? And how do you decide how much to give an employee?

Julie Clark 24:12

Well, for us, it was really based on the amount of time that they were going to be investing in the company. You know, we have, we just believe that you want people to work for you who are committed to your goals and your ideas and your dreams. We have all parents working for us, which was great because they were parents of young children. They got it. They knew what we were all about. And that was key. So we had moms answering the phone. So if a mommy called and said, You know I’ve got this baby Mozart video, and it’s the only thing that would you know how that is helping my baby to stop crying when he’s teething. But he broke the video last night and I don’t know what I’m going to do. We would just send out another video we didn’t say oh, you know Call this person and we’re sorry, you have to go to the store. And you know, we would literally just do the right thing, which was centre another video and it didn’t, it didn’t hurt our business, it helped our business because when that word of mouth was so incredible for us. So yes, I would say definitely hire people that are committed. And then if you give them a steak, and I’m not saying exactly how much of a steak, it’s sort of, I think everybody’s situation is different. When we sold the company, we were able to give a substantial amount of money to the people who had been so key for us. So Jeff, for example, who had been our sales and marketing director, got a really substantial chunk of money, which we were happy to give, he deserved it, he worked for us so hard, and the the gentleman who does our music still and who did our music, then we were able to give him a large share, the person who did all of our video editing, we gave him a ton of equipment, which was wonderful for him, right. I mean, that was sort of like free money. I just want to say that, you know, I can’t really give numbers, but it’s, I just think it’s so key to give people a stake, they will believe in you more and invest in the business more.

Jeremy Weisz 26:11

Yeah, I asked, because I think it’s a really smart idea. Someone has ownership and feels ownership in the company. And someone listening may be like, well, I don’t even know where to start. Where do you begin? How do I? How much should I give them? Or what the case is? Do you have any tips for them on what to look at to figure that out for themselves? I mean, obviously you did, it was right for you and your employees and your company than ever is going to be different. But where should they even start?

Julie Clark 26:38

Yeah, well, I want to say that, you know, and I’m probably still not answering your question, right. But I want to say that one thing that we learned is that you should always find out what people expect. And then give them more. Because it means so much to somebody, if it’s somebody who’s even babysitting for your children, you know, they think they’re going to make $8 an hour and you give them $12 an hour, it was like nothing to you really. But it meant so much to them that they’re going to do a good job for you. In terms of the amount you know, I hate to send to ask, honestly, truly, and I hate to like kind of pass the buck, but I’m going to my husband does the CFO stuff. And so I’m I’m not a good person to ask. That’s fine.

Jeremy Weisz 27:37

No. So I was talking to a friend, fellow entrepreneur, Bradley will this morning and I want to know, I said, I’m gonna have this inspiring entrepreneur on what do you think I should ask them? What would you want to know? And he want to know how you would grow as a person how you grew as a person as the business grew? What were some defining moments for you that made you step out your comfort zone?

Julie Clark 27:59

Or Gosh, speaking in front of people was so hard for me. It was really funny, a little story that is kind of cool. And it I think it’s important for people to recognise as well. Sometimes you have to take a chance. So for example, going to Toy Fair, that was taking a big chance for me, I’d never done anything like that before. But I was really passionate about what I was doing. And so I believed I could do it. But another funny story is that, um, early on, I hadn’t yet sold, I gone to Toy Fair, I hadn’t yet. sold a single video though, because they hadn’t yet put it in stores or tried it out. I was living in Atlanta. And one day, I just said, the only way people are going to know about this is if I can somehow get some media to talk about it. How am I going to do that? So again, I’m living in Georgia. And literally, you know, 20 minutes away from me and Atlanta is CNN. So I thought, well, I should call cnn I, again, I don’t know anything about this. I’ve never done an interview in my life. I call cnn I get the, you know, person at the receptionist and I said, Hi, this is Julie Clark. I’m the founder of the Baby Einstein company, which is hardly even a company at the time. I have not sold one product. I said, You know, I have a product that’s perfect for a parenting story. And she said, Oh, well let me connected to the parenting department. On the phone. I’m like, Really? So I met this woman on the phone. She answers right away. Her name is Pat and I said Hi, Pat. This is Julie Clark. I live in Atlanta. I really just down the road from you. And I know you cover parenting. And I have this beautiful product and I go on to explain what Baby Einstein is. And lo and behold, she says, Wow, that’s incredible. I’m doing a story right now on Romanian orphans and how the lack of stimulation in their life in the first 12 months of their life impacts their lives later and how it changes Because they’re not receiving proper stimulation, it would be so great if I could interview you so that I could show the difference in lack of stimulation, and children who are, you know, beautifully stimulated? Can I come over tomorrow and interview you for the story? I’m like, Ah, yeah, sure. So like, now I’m like madly cleaning my house. I can’t believe it. I’ve got cnn coming to the house tomorrow. I was actually pregnant with my second daughter at the time. And that was just a great, I think it’s a great story to show that sometimes you do have to step out of your comfort zone. Now, it’s not always gonna work out. That was a remarkable, pretty

Jeremy Weisz 30:39

remarkable, yeah.

Julie Clark 30:41

Yeah, right. But I did tell people, and I think it’s really important, because sometimes, people have said to me, Oh, you’re so lucky. You’re so lucky. You’re so lucky. And I feel Yeah, I have been lucky. But you know, what you do make your own mock, I would not have been lucky if I hadn’t made that phone call. I would not have been lucky if I hadn’t gone to that trade show. So sometimes you do need to step out of the box and do things that make you a little uncomfortable. And I have them come to the house. And I watched that interview now, that CNN interview, which makes me sometimes a little weepy because my oldest daughter is now in college is two in the video and in the in the interview, and she said, darling, and I pregnant with my second daughter, who’s now 16. And, but I look at it, and I’m like, Wow, I didn’t know how to do an interview at all. I was a total novice. But you know, you learn and you grow, and you change. And I feel so much more comfortable now in that respect. And I think that I’ve spent a lot of time since having success with Baby Einstein doing philanthropic things, and I’ve really learned, it’s not all about me, right? I mean, you you learn and you change that. That centre of yourself where you feel for a long time. And this is part of being young, too. I think everything is about you. And it’s really not. And so I want to say that I feel like I’ve grown so much in that regard, in that, that understanding that giving back is so much bigger than anything you can do for yourself in your own little world.

Jeremy Weisz 32:24

You know, let me early on, we’re in survival mode, we’re just trying to kind of put food on the table, make ends meet. And then as we kind of climb up, you want to give back? And yeah, no, I understand that. And, and that’s one of the reasons I ask these questions is because it’s people from the outside, see, oh, it’s lucky, this person just hit a big but the reality is, not many people would have even they would have just maybe used it for would have created anything, but you created something, and not only you to use it for your kids, but you got it out there. And then you just on a whim, go to New York with 20,000 people around and try and find that person. So there’s a lot of challenges or roadblocks along the way. And in addition to that, one of the biggest things I want to talk to you about is you What’s even more remarkable, the Baby Einstein, if there is if that’s possible, is the challenges you face personally and what you’ve overcome. In that regard. What What have told you what happened in 2004.

Julie Clark 33:17

So 2004, I had sold Baby Einstein at the end of 2001. And I spent a good year and a half or so just enjoying my new retirements. We travelled a lot, spend a lot of time with the kids. And then as my children were now in elementary school, and I started thinking about different things that I wanted to do, I realized that I, Child Safety was really important to me, because my own kids were becoming, you know, a little bit more independent. They were spending time at friends homes, things like that. So I decided to make the product called the safe side, which is I can talk more about later. But But the reason I’m talking about this now is just to say that 2004 I’m in the midst of this new startup company called the safe side. And I’m doing great and I’m feeling wonderful, and I’m working out and my health is perfect. And I’ve got this new company that’s really exciting for me. And I’m in the midst of editing this first safe side video, and I’m at the studio, working with my video guy and I had been working out the day before my muscles were really sore for working out. I think this is important because I want people to be aware always of how you find things like this. I’m rubbing under my arm because I’m really sore. And suddenly I find this tiny little lump and I’m like what that how is that I’ve never felt anything like that before. So I go to the doctor long story longer, and I’m diagnosed with breast cancer. I can’t believe it. I’m 37 my children are six and eight. And this can’t be happening to me. I’m young. I’m healthy. I don’t have a family history. And of course, I’m thrown into absolute darkness. And in the midst of this amazing, beautiful life that has just rolled out so perfectly for me, I am just thrown into the darkness that breast cancer means. And so I consult with a handful of doctors, I make a pretty big decision of bold decision, I decided to have a double mastectomy, which is considered really extreme at the time because I’m diagnosed with stage one cancer, which is the good kind of cancer out there is

Jeremy Weisz 35:39

such a thing. Yeah,

Julie Clark 35:40

yeah. So you know, the kids are small, it hasn’t invaded any lymph nodes. And I decided this can never happen to me. Again, I’m having double mastectomy, which I do when I go through it. And I, you know, a year later, I’m back on track, I’ve got no evidence of disease in my body, I’m feeling great. And I get back to work. And everything is great. We do amazing stuff, we homeschool our kids, we’re spending all this time with family. And four and a half years later, in 2008, I’m diagnosed a second time. The second time is the bad kind, the worst kind, because not only is the breast cancer back, but it has moved into my lymph nodes and also into the liver. Wow. So stage four cancer is really the worst kind because there is no stage five. So now I’m thrown into utter darkness. And I really have to say that I didn’t. I didn’t know what that was going to mean for me. I mean, when you ask a doctor about stage four cancer, you are considered terminal. And 95% of people given the diagnosis I was given pass away within two years, really? So yeah, so my girls are now 12 and 14. And our family is thrown into this terrible time. And after living in that darkness for, you know, a while, I just well, initially, the after the first month after that diagnosis, I decided I’m going to do everything I can to fight this. And I try to do my best to fill myself with hope. And

Jeremy Weisz 37:26

what do you do? How do you get out of the darkness? I mean, people listening to this, they may be going through this right now or have a family member? How do you even climb out of that when a doctor gives you a timeline like that? What do you do?

Julie Clark 37:42

Well, for me, I spent a lot of time reading and educating myself to the best of my ability. Now reading can be really scary, too, because most of the stories you read are not good stories. But you know, there are a handful of stories out there that are the good stories that are the people who are doing well, which thank God I am now. And so that’s why I think it’s important to tell the story. Um, you know, I tried to look for people who were doing well, I asked doctors, who do you know who’s been given this diagnosis that is living with it’s still after two years beyond five years, you know, and so I was able to find those people and reach out to those people. And when you do find them, and as you know, you you interview the gentleman who started in the mundane. I mean, you look for people who have been through this, who can relate to you and understand you, and you reach out to them. So Dan, one of those people now that people reach out to me, and so I did everything I could back to sort of the health part, I did chemotherapy, I did more surgery, I had my ovaries removed, I did lots and lots of things that were required to keep myself on a path. And six months after that stage for diagnosis, I went in and had another PET scan. And I was diagnosed free of cancer, including the cancer that was all over my liver. And I had had an oncologist actually tell me at the time that I was diagnosed, he said or she said, You have so many tumours on your liver, they will never all go away. Wow. I mean, like I don’t even know as a human being how you can say those words to somebody which offers them. No hope. So I basically I won’t say the words that I said in my mind to her because they’re very foul words that we wouldn’t want the Baby Einstein to say. But they were pretty good.

Jeremy Weisz 39:37

We’re gonna imagine. Yeah, yeah. And

Julie Clark 39:41

you know, I have been cancer free for four and a half years. Thank you. I continue to have PET scans every six months. I say a lot of prayers. I thank people for a lot of prayers. I am feel great. I’m doing well. And one thing that was really terrific that I was able to do because I think this is also really important in terms of the philanthropy part is because I know how to write for children. And I’ve written a lot of books for children, the Baby Einstein or the Baby Einstein books, I decided to write a book that would be applicable to mommies or daddies who have cancer, and who need to give that story to their children. So there is nothing I can think of in the world that is harder than talking to your children about having cancer. Because the fear is so great, not only in you that you’re going to have to leave your children, but the fear in your children that they’re going to lose their mommy. It’s horrible. So I thought, Okay, I know how to write books for children. So I wrote a beautiful picture book, it’s called You are the Best Medicine. And basically, it’s a story where a mommy is sitting down with her child, and she’s telling them what cancer treatment will look like. So I’m gonna, you know, have to take this medicine, and it’s gonna make me lose my hair, and it’s gonna make me feel sick. And she kind of goes through these things. But all along the way, she’s telling her child, how important that child’s love is, while mommy is going through this treatment. And it’s beautiful. And it’s perfect to sit down with your children and read this book, and 100% of the proceeds from the book, go to breast cancer research. So in particular, there’s a doctor at UCLA, even though I’m here in Colorado, who’s a doctor at UCLA, Dennis layman, who does the most incredible breast cancer research. So I’ve been able to donate 100% of my proceeds from the book to him, which is great. So you know, as part of this whole give back, and I have to say that one thing I’m so proud of is that not only have I been able to give money to the cause, I’ve been able to give products to people based on this innate skill that I found that I have, which is I’m really good at making things for babies.

Jeremy Weisz 42:02

So thank you for sharing. It’s not an easy thing. And I have two questions about that. One, is within that six months, that’s remarkable turnaround. What did you think made the biggest difference in two? Before you you didn’t have this book? When you told your kids? how did how did you navigate that with your children?

Julie Clark 42:21

Oh, that’s a hard one. Um, so in terms of talking to my own children, the first time was easier, because they were younger. And, you know, I think that you tell kids what they can handle and what they can understand. So I was able at that time, and again, I was stage one the first time to say, mommy has cancer. And you know that that’s a sickness. And there are people who die from cancer, but I don’t have the kind of that you die from. I felt pretty confident saying that. The second time around when they were older, 12 and 14, it was harder. Both of them knew people knew have friends, actually, who’d had parents who died from cancer. So they knew they really knew that this was a big deal. I will say that I did not tell my children that I had stage four cancer, not because I didn’t think that they would understand I think they could understand what that meant. But the truth is, I didn’t want them to have that understanding. I didn’t want them to know, if they went online, which they probably would have done if I said stage four cancer, that 95% of these mommies died from stage four cancer, I needed them to help and believe. And so I didn’t, I didn’t say it. I don’t know if that was right or wrong. It was what worked for me. Everybody has their own way of dealing with it. So I have friends who did tell their children from the beginning and their children dealt with it the way that they dealt with it. It’s so personal journey that there is no right way, in terms of how I made it through that six months. I just really advocated for myself. And that’s something that people have to do. And if you can’t do it, if you’re an older person watching this interview, and maybe you’re not, you don’t have the skill set, you don’t have a computer, you don’t know how to navigate through all of the information. You need to find somebody who can help you so a friend who can help you because doctors are wonderful, for the most part. But doctors have a lot of patients. And and I don’t mean patients with a C i mean patients with a T you know they have a lot of people that they care for. And if they see you for 20 minutes every few months or weeks. You’re just one of a lot of people they’re saying but you care about yourself more than anything Buddy else is going to care about you. It’s just the reality. So you have to find your way through that information that was so hard for me because here I was an English major. I haven’t had a biology since 10th grade. And suddenly, I’m online, and I’m reading articles, and I’m looking at research that has words like metastasis and words like, you know, I’m just reading things that I haven’t read about in my life. And now I have to educate myself on tabular. Yeah, right, yeah. And you’re panicked, and you’re scared, you’re scared as hell. I mean, this is really hard, you think you’re gonna die. But on top of that, you want to make sure that you’re taking all the right steps. Now, in terms of those steps, cancer is its own little beast that lives in different people in different ways. So the treatment that works for me may not work for other people, I’ve had friends that I’ve lost, who did the exact same treatment, who passed away, why it worked for me and not somebody else. God Only Knows cancer, I look at cancer as a different creature inside those of us that it lives inside of. And again, you know, what works for some, some people go a holistic route, and it works beautifully for them. And it doesn’t work for other people, you know, and, and it’s really tricky, too, because somebody like, you look at Steve Jobs, who couldn’t have had better resources, or more intelligence, or more people looking out for him, and yet he passed away from this disease. It wasn’t because he didn’t do everything he could have done for him. So you do what’s right for you and you, you hope that it’s the right thing. And if you have faith, you pray. And if you, you know, have other people who have faith, you ask them to pray. I mean, that, you know, that’s part of that was part of my healing. It’s not part of what’s right for everybody. Yeah.

Jeremy Weisz 46:53

I mean, what do you think made the biggest difference for you? Whether it’s mentally What were you thinking throughout? Because it sounds like from the very beginning, you were thinking, I’m gonna beat this? I mean, that was your mentality. And when they said anything different about those extra, no more tumour, their liver, you internally, we’re like, you know, F, whatever. Yeah,

Julie Clark 47:13

I’m an optimist. I mean, I’m an optimistic person. And I think that that’s a necessity for entrepreneurs Anyway, you know, you have to be and so I believe that you can, you know, I believe that there are people who beat the odds. And I just thought, I can look at this one of two ways, I can either beat it, I can believe I’m going to beat it, or I could believe that I’m going to die. So I’m going to believe I’m going to beat it. I mean, that worked for me, I have this. It’s on my desk. I’ll just show it to you like this beautiful little, little piece of metal that I love. And so there are four sides to it. Right? So I’m going to read it to one side says, Yes, you are. One side says Yes, you do. One side says yes, you can. And one side says Yes, you will. And I just think it’s perfect. I have it on my desk. I just like every day I go, Yes, you will. You will. So you will beat this, you will do it. And you know, you look at everything as it is. And some of us have to face some mortality a little bit earlier than the rest of us. But somebody said to me, once, look, life is a terminal condition. Right? I mean, you’re born right? Die terminal. It’s never a permanent phase. It’s life. And then it’s death. So hopefully, when you’re here, you can do all the good, you can.

Jeremy Weisz 48:39

Yeah, thanks for sharing that. That’s and I love those four things. I have two more questions. I know we’re right at the hour. So if you have to go then I’ll wrap it up. I don’t know if you have time for those two. So like 1015 more minutes. Great. You know, there’s just so much I want to ask you here, but I know you are a busy lady. So one of the biggest things you know coming from that I wanted to hear about what’s been one of the proudest moments and we talked about a lot of these challenges and low points for you in personal personal or business what’s been a proud moment for you.

Julie Clark 49:15

The proudest moment is to exists of the number two it’s just my girls. I have the most incredible children. I know every mommy thinks that I’m sure you think the same thing because your daddy but I have to say that I’ve become I think a really good business person. And really proud of the achievements that I’ve had as a business person. I am more proud of being a great mom. I think I’m a great mom. I mean I have to pat myself on the backs and types ago. I’ve done a really great job. I don’t know why or how I did that. I think I just have loved it so much. And in terms of you know you asked earlier about milestones and in difficult times. Man, the growing up of kids is really hard. You know, my oldest went to college this year. And despite the fact that she’s only a half an hour away, and that’s been really hard for me, you know, it’s a milestone where there is a sense of loss of losing, even though they’re growing and still remarkable people, when they grow up, it’s really tricky. They’re not just right there with you anymore. And God that time flies by. But I think, proudest moments Gosh, I, you know, I was honoured at the State of the Union address by President Bush. And that was incredible to sit behind Laura Bush, in a box with the most amazing leaders and people who had done incredible things and be honoured for my work as an entrepreneur and a cancer survivor. And by the way, I always like the word assassin, so I prefer cancer assassin got it a bit more strong and cancer survivor. I assassinated that beast.

Jeremy Weisz 51:10

You’re empowered with assassinating? Yes.

Julie Clark 51:13

Yeah. So. So I have to say being at that state of the union was pretty, I was pretty proud. And this is kind of funny, cuz it sounds so silly. But a couple months ago, I was contacted by the show Jeopardy, a producer at the show Jeopardy. And I had to sign permission for them to use the Baby Einstein logo in Jeopardy. Question. Wow. How cool is that? I watched Jeopardy every night with my daughter’s and it’s like, this is so cool. Like this little logo that I drew was actually on Jeopardy. That was awesome. So I was pretty proud.

Jeremy Weisz 51:49

I want to hear because you do mention a couple things about one of my authors office, by the way, she just jumped up. I ran on your website, too. There’s chickens, cats, dogs, fish, right? Yes. So that tree of chickens, pictures, I love my animals. I’m a huge, I’m a huge pet person. I mean, you have bills a lot. And being a mom, to us very important. How did you what’s a typical day? what’s a typical day like for you?

Julie Clark 52:16

Well, now it’s a lot different, of course, because my girls are either at college or 16. My 16 year old drives herself to school. So a typical day, though, I mean, so I haven’t talked about Happy, happy, which is my new really super fun, awesome, awesome. I don’t know, just startup, I don’t want to really call it a startup, it’s not really a startup, it’s just a thing. So I’m gonna be talking about that. And then I’ll tell you how that impacts my day. So I decided to make an app and release it on the five year anniversary of being diagnosed with stage four cancer. So that day, which was October 7, in 2008, the day I was diagnosed, was the darkest day of my life, right? I’ve never experienced a darker day than that. And I thought, five years in no evidence of disease and doing so great. I want to share the happiest. I want to share happiness with the world. And how can I share that happiness. So I decided to make an app that I’ve called Happy, Appy. And just the name makes you smile, right? Happy. And you

Jeremy Weisz 53:28

always companies, catchy ones your mommy made is just flows Happy, happy. I like it.

Julie Clark 53:35

So I made an app called Happy Appy and it’s free. It’s free to the world. It’s free forever. And basically what it does is every single day, it sends a video to your mobile device that will make you happy. And so what I do is I call you tube for videos that are never rude, crude, or nude, which is my motto. They’re all videos that are under four minutes. They’re all videos that will make you smile. So and I could go into iTunes Connect every morning when I wake up. So wake up in the morning, go into iTunes Connect and I can see how many downloads I had from the day before and where those downloads came from. So this morning, I go in, I’m like, oh look like nine people in Germany were happy yesterday because of me. And six people in Bulgaria and two people in Poland and you know, 12 people in Israel and 90 people in the US. I’m like, I made all those people happy yesterday. That is so cool. So every single day you just load this video onto your phone, and you watch a video that makes you happy. So once you’ve loaded it just you just touch the button every day. There’s also an alarm feature so that you can wake up happy every day, which is nice. So instead of watching the negative news that is most of our world, you can watch a happy video to make you smile. So this morning’s for example is really cute. The one today was it’s this lion who has befriended a little dachshund, dog They literally like the dogs little tiny sausage wiener dog goes like hangs out with this lion in this Wildlife Park and cleans his teeth every day. It’s the cutest really just makes you happy. Yeah. So that’s been really fun. So each day now I’ll get up and make my daughter lunch. I’m like, big into the hole, Mommy, I still do it as long as I possibly can. I know, like, there have been moments in my life when my kids were younger was like, No, don’t make me make another lunch. Now I love it. Because I only have one at home. I’ve only got another year after this to make her her nice little healthy lunch. So I make her lunch in the mornings. And then I typically do yoga, I do meditate at least a half an hour a day, it’s been a really important part of my healing. So I do some meditation. This morning was a gorgeous day, my daughter’s still from college. So I did outside time, walked a couple miles. And then I retire to my office where I’ll either spend time looking for more happy videos, which is wonderful. It’s pretty fun job. I’ve got parent teacher conferences this afternoon for my daughter, Sierra. So I still do some of the mommy stuff. And then I’m in the midst of another startup, which is Baby Bytes I talked about a little bit. I’m working on some material for baby bites right now, which are some really fun books that I’m doing for children. Again, sort of the under three crowd, but I have these beautiful characters that I’ve developed. So they’re all bird characters, and to give you an idea, and it’ll give you a sense of what the books will be about. I’ve got characters like Leonardo da Vinci, who’s a little Finch,

Jeremy Weisz 56:42

and really good at naming your

Julie Clark 56:45

love these. I’ve got Emily Dickinson, who’s a poet. I’ve got Jane Austen, who’s a chicken, who does stories I’ve got, um, Charles chickens who also write stories for his family of his 10 little chicks. The real Charles Dickens did have 10 children. Um, I have. They’re so cute. I’m trying to like off the top of my head. That’s the I said Marco Polo. I’ve got Edgar Allan crow. I just got this whole lovely cast group. So I’m working on some books for them right now. So I work at home. I’m actually on my way to Minneapolis this afternoon. I have a meeting there with Target tomorrow to talk to them about bringing Baby Bytes into their stores and see what happens there. So I was still involved in work and but trying to remember to take time to be healthy, because of course, that’s become a really big priority for me.

Jeremy Weisz 57:39

Yeah, that’s great. Julie, I’ve one last question for you. But before I ask it, tell people where can they find out more about my Happy Appy Baby Bytes? Where should they? What site should they check out?

Julie Clark 57:50

Thank you for reminding me to say that. So my own website is To great info there. Yeah, you can find info there about Happy Appy. But if you’re just hearing this, and you’re like, Oh, I want to get that on my phone right away, which of course, you should just search in the app store for happy and then space appy a p p y. And um, yeah,

Jeremy Weisz 58:13

so that’s good. And You’re the Best Medicine.

Julie Clark 58:16

Also, medicine, which also, if you just go to Mommy Made, it’ll have all those different things. Yeah. And I’ll list speaking,

Jeremy Weisz 58:25

I’ll link all those up, too. Yeah. So my last question is about your daughters are so important to you, and they see their mom, you know, with tons of success in business in life. What did they want to what do they aspire to do?

Julie Clark 58:39

Yeah, you know, it’s really cool. Um, both of my girls are arts kids. My daughter aspin is actually finishing her second novel. She’s 19 just turned 18. So she’s working on publishing right now. And publishing that. She’s in college and her major is, has a hard time remembering what this is called. so crazy. It’s called emerging digital technology. So she is really interested in stories behind video games. So she is really curious about how video game design works, and doing the kind of writing that goes into those games. My younger daughter is definitely going into video game design. Both of my girls are game design nerds like they’re kind of those gaming kids. And it’s a pretty cool field to be in if you’re a female. Because we’ve been touring some of these schools. In fact, we’re touring the Ringling School of Art Design on Monday in Florida. Because you go into these programs to check them out. And it’s almost it’s so male dominated right now, that it’s fantastic, not only from a career perspective for them to look into that, but it’s great to get a female perspective behind these sorts of games. So you know, a lot of girls don’t want to play combat cades they want To play different sorts of games that are maybe more story involved and creative involved. So I think they’ll be great inspired people who work in that field. And my daughter asked what I have to say my older daughter, she’s also working on the Facebook page for the baby bytes characters. So she’s getting involved. And I have to share because this was like one of those things. I’m going to just read you this because it’s really cool. Yesterday, I was out running around, and my daughter sent me this text. I’m just going to read it to you because it was the great it was like this great moment. She wrote. It’s so cool to see commercials for educational baby toys and books and stuff. And know that it was your idea that inspired all of it. You are so cool. I was like, Oh my god, there’s my Christmas present, like all wrapped up in three sentences. That was just like one of those moments. He was so proud. I’m so happy. So well.

Jeremy Weisz 1:00:59

Thank you so much for sharing. I want to be the first one to thank you. This means a lot and I know everyone got a lot out of this. So I really appreciate your time on that. Thank you so much. Nice to meet you, too.