#MOMBOSS Eli Yonas of Toki Mats

1. Tell us how you first got the idea to launch Toki Mats.

When I had my second baby, my daughter Shaya, I found myself needing to put her down somewhere comfortable where she wouldn't start crying immediately for floor play (and to free me up to chase my toddler!). I had seen similar play mats in Europe - cushioned, safe, fun designs - but I wasn't able to find anything similar locally. I was so energized by the idea of creating my own, that I worked through nap times during maternity leave to start the design process!

2. Share with us the process on how you first got started. 

It was a slow but steady one! Between having a newborn, toddler, and full time job, my mantra was to just do one thing each day, whether big or small. I kept picturing myself just putting one foot in front of the other where eventually I would get to the point of launching. It was filled mostly with research, sampling, and failed prototypes. I still have the first Toki we made which is almost laughable! It had four pieces so it could fold (but didn't connect in one full piece), open flaps on the back to put the inserts in like a pillow, and elastic straps to roll it up. So thankful the final version doesn't have any of those haha!

3. I love the aesthetic of the mats, how do you go about selecting the designs?

Thank you! I try to think about my personal style blended with the modern mom. Now that we partner with artists on exclusive designs, we aim to make them mostly gender neutral, fun but not too crazy, and modern.

4. Thus far, what has been your biggest accomplishment with Toki Mats?

Hearing how much families love their Tokis is honestly the best thing in the world, so our 5-star reviews are for sure our biggest accomplishment. Each one makes me so proud of what we've built!

5. Share one piece of advice you would offer to a fellow mom aspiring to launch a business.

Make sure to have support around you - not just to help with the business, but to help with all the other million things on our plates. I could not have invested all this time in Toki if it wasn't for my amazing support system to help with the kids, house, etc. I owe it all to them!

6. What are a few things you've learned about yourself since you first started the business?

I've learned that I can't do it all. As an Enneagram 3, I really love the hustle. But I've learned it's better for me, my family, and for Toki whenever I've figured out ways to get help and delegate. I've learned the importance of shopping small, and just how much WORK goes into making a quality product and marketing it. Lastly, I've learned I will never get tired of cute baby pictures on Tokis :)

7. Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Aside from the support that I get with my family, I also have been fortunate to build a network of awesome entrepreneurs (and moms) who help me troubleshoot, brainstorm, and laugh with. If any mom is thinking of starting a business, or already launched and is building it, I am always here to help! Don't be afraid to reach out.

With the holidays in full swing, Toki Mats make the PERFECT gift for a little one. stylish, comfy, and beautiful - an ideal spot for tummy time and play time! Stalk them on IG (it's ok, we do it too!) @Tokimats

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