Success Stories

Kathi Pavlou, President

Ticklebug Baby

Passion, perseverance, guidance boost Ticklebug Baby

Hobart, IN – Kathi Pavlou, president of Ticklebug Baby Inc., lists perseverance, passion, and determination as key factors in launching her product, a diaper changing kit, with her daughter, Kristina Chip. But with no previous business experience, she emphasizes how important the right advice can be.

Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center was just the resource that Pavlou needed to make sure her business is heading down the right road. The SBDC offers free assistance for entrepreneurs starting or expanding their businesses.

“We really had to work to get where we are at. Looking beyond, how are we going to be prepared? In order to know what we are doing, we need advice,” Pavlou said. “People like myself and my daughter, we need something like (the SBDC) to help. They have knowledge and experience.”

Chip’s wish for an easier way to change a baby’s diaper prompted Pavlou to head to the drawing table. Pavlou drew up a sketch and since she didn’t have a sewing machine, she put it together by hand. Through trial and error, she came up with the prototype for the Ticklebug Baby diaper changing kit, a portable changing pad with space for all of the diaper-changing essentials. Her daughter and daughter-in-law tried it out, attracting other mothers’ attention.

“They would utilize it when they were going out and when other mothers saw it, they wanted to know, ‘Where do you get it?’” Pavlou said. “(My daughter and daughter-in-law) would come back and tell me, ‘Maybe you got something.’”

Demand took production from a sewing machine borrowed from Pavlou’s neighbor to a sewing contractor in Chicago. Ticklebug Baby can now be purchased online at or in stores across the country, including at Geppetto’s Toys & Togs in Crown Point and Formal Accents in St. John.

Pavlou is currently working with SBDC advisors on her business plan and a media kit and other marketing strategies. Through one-on-one consulting, the SBDC helps guide small businesses toward their goals by offering referrals, workshops, training opportunities and other essential business tools.

“Our goal is to create more jobs in the community by supporting local businesses,” Lybolt said.

As Pavlou celebrates how far she has come on her own, she also welcomes the support of the SBDC as she builds her business.

“They create an impact on you to help you succeed,” Pavlou said. “If I have a question or I’m in doubt, I can depend on the SBDC. I can fall back on them. I wish I had known about them years ago.”





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