Donna Rudolph and Donielle Lavintman were already good friends when they faced a similar challenge– both were moms to babies with cradle cap. Both knew there must be an easier– and less messy– way to treat the condition than to douse their babies in olive oil, so they invented Noggin Wipes. We spoke with the witty, delightful duo about the adventure of launching a business with a good friend, a surprising fact about cradle cap, and a white lie you… probably haven’t heard before.
What made you decide to start your own business?
Donna: It was more the idea rather than the business. All three of my kids had severe cradle cap and I kept thinking “Where are the solutions?!”
Doni: Donna had kids before I did, so I always sought her parenting advice about everything. When my son had cradle cap and I asked her how to get rid of it, the solution she suggested that might work (pouring oil on his head and scrubbing it with a special brush) seemed time consuming and messy. I wanted a quick, gentle, mess-free, easy way…which were none of the options available at the time…so we created one!
What’s the most surprising thing you learned about cradle cap when you were creating Noggin Wipes?
Donna: There were wipes for EVERYTHING why were there no wipes for cradle cap?!
Doni: I actually didn’t realize how normal and prevalent cradle cap is. This statistic blew my mind: 70% of babies in the US between 1 month and 12 months have cradle cap!
The two of you have been friends for many years before starting a business together. Have you learned anything new about each other in the process?
Donna: I learned that Doni loves fast food which was a little surprising given the fact that she’s holistic about every other aspect of her life. It totally grosses me out and soon I’m going to have to have an intervention.
Doni: The first flight we ever took together, I noticed Donna did not buckle her seatbelt on the airplane. Upon questioning her why she wouldn’t buckle-up, she passionately replied “On principle! I think it’s stupid to buckle up on a plane—if I’m going to get hurt on a tin can hurling through the air, no seatbelt is going to save me.” I had NO clue Donna was so careless on airplanes!
If you could hand off one chore to someone else each day, what would it be?
Donna: Clean up after dinner. But like complete house clean up- not just the kitchen.
Doni: All things surrounding dishes! No matter how many times I reiterate “the sink is not a waiting place” somehow it ends up like Strega Nona’s pot: full every time I turn around! I feel like I spend so much of the little free time I have washing bottles and/or dishes, loading the dishwasher, emptying the dishwasher, finding random cups in every room, finding cutlery that my three-year-old seems to think are toys…I would LOVE for someone to take dishes off my plate (note the pun)!
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
Donna: Play the piano
Doni: Dare I say, watch tv?
What is your best parenting hack?
Donna: One of my children has a hard time getting up in the morning so I make her go to bed in her clothing for the next day. Everybody wins in the morning.
Doni: Call vitamin gummies candy—your kids will never want to skip a day!
What is the best white lie that you’ve told your child?
Donna: That I love them equally. Just kidding. I told them that if they missed even one tooth brushing, they would get cavities. They are all petrified. I know, go me!
Doni: I told my son when he was potty-training that the toilet gets sad if he goes potty in his pants because the potty only gets to drink when he pee-pees in it and eat when he poopoos in it…SO gross, I know—but he is such an empath that it worked!
If you could describe motherhood/fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
What’s one moment in your motherhood journey that has made you proud?
Donna: When a mother in my son’s class told me that he was polite and always says please and thank you and that he was welcome in her home anytime. Needless to say, I was shocked. But I learned from that experience that your kids are watching you. I’m glad that he saves all the ‘juicy stuff’ for all of us at home.
Doni: I was nervous how my son would get along with his baby sister, as I have heard some intense stories about sibling challenges. Seeing my children get along and make each other laugh, asking to spend time together and watching our older son “teach” his little sister how to play is amazing and warms my heart.
What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to your children?
Donna: To always be NICE. No matter who, where or what.
Doni: Your siblings will be your best friends—treat them kindly and with love.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
Donna: I’m not one to be giving advice but I will say that in the moments where I ‘lose it’ I think it’s important to apologize to your children.
Doni: Remember that life is good, bad, horrible and amazing—all at once—for EVERYONE!
How do you tackle the work/life balance?
Donna: Ive learned to say ‘no’, and I try to chunk down my time in 24 hour segments. I think about what I can accomplish in 24 hours and that way I am not overwhelmed by the load of my week ahead.
Doni: One step at a time. When I am with my family, I consciously work hard to be present with them. When I am working, I work hard to focus on work. Compartmentalizing is key for me when trying to tackle a sustainable work/life balance.
What was the last book you read?
Donna: Educated by: Tara Westover
Doni: Homegoing by: Yaa Gyasi
Favorite Beauty Product:
Donna: Dior, Blackout Mascara
Doni: Laura Mercier, Tinted Moisturizer
Favorite Form of Exercise:
Doni: Spontaneous dance parties at home, or chasing after my kids in the park… do those count?
What is on your DVR?
Donna: I haven’t watched TV since ‘Girls’ ended and still have to watch the last season. I’ve been busy!
Doni: BRAVO shows—so many Bravo shows…
Doni: Podcasts—Donna has a podcast called “Are We There Yet Moms?” (It’s hilarious and amazing!)
Favorite Kids Store:
Donna: Bank Street Bookstore. That place has everything. Amazing books, toys and unique gifts in general. My family can spend hours in there.
Doni: Amazon (I live in the city…delivery is everything!)