Olivia Wamelink '18 used her entrepreneurial skills developed at Elon to trade her corporate job for her own business, B. Well Babies, which creates sustainable baby products with a portion of the company's proceeds going toward Foster Village Charlotte.
For Olivia Wamelink ’18, Elon wasn’t just a college, it was a home. After a lackluster first year at Denison University where she played lacrosse, Wamelink made the decision to transfer to somewhere she felt she belonged. With knowledge of Elon passed down from her older sister, she decided to visit and see if it could be the place for her.
“The moment I got out of the car, stepped onto the brick and looked around… I just knew Elon was home,” Wamelink said. “It was the best decision I had ever made at the time.”
Wamelink’s three years at Elon followed one specific theme – sports. Despite leaving varsity lacrosse behind at Denison, she knew she didn’t want to give up the sport entirely, so she joined Elon’s women’s club team. Her time with the club lacrosse team, and specifically in the roles of captain followed by president, opened Wamelink’s eyes to the importance of Campus Recreation & Wellness.
In an effort to give back to an area that made Elon home for her, Wamelink became a Campus Recreation employee and that is where she discovered what Elon is all about.
Jenny Larson, associate director of Campus Recreation and Wellness for Recreation Programs and Facilities, became a mentor to Wamelink, helping her realize her potential. With a passion for mental health and a manager that believed in her, Wamelink launched the inaugural Love Your Body Week at Elon in an attempt to help individuals around campus get healthy and happy. This event, and the several others she assisted with, helped pave the way for her entrepreneurial career.
“Larry (Mellinger) and Jenny were very encouraging and always willing to discuss new ideas,” Wamelink recounted. “I think they really sparked my entrepreneurial thinking and guided me creatively so that it would come to fruition.”
At first glance, it may seem like Wamelink had life figured out, especially when she accepted what she thought was her dream job post-graduation. In May 2018, Wamelink accepted a job with Learfield IMG College as an account executive working in corporate sponsorship sales. In this position, she worked specifically with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and gained experience in building client relationships. Unfortunately, her dream job was not everything it cracked up to be.
After leaving IMG, and a couple of years at other jobs, Wamelink finally found a role that felt purposeful to her. In college, she had developed what seemed like a huge passion for sports, but it was really a passion for working hard and achieving goals. She also thought she had a passion for mental health and campus recreation, but deep down it was a passion for helping others. The creation of B. Well Babies married these two passions.
When the challenge of finding baby gifts for her boyfriend’s family arose, Wamelink found a gap in the market. As someone who puts a lot of thought and time into giving gifts, she was disappointed when she struggled to find something unique, purposeful and clean. In response to this, she not only created her own product but she also created her own company.
“B. Well Babies is a female-founded, veteran-owned, American baby brand best known for our beautifully sleek designs and sustainable options that offer peace of mind when it comes to mealtime.”
The company’s signature silicone catch-all bibs and bowls are sustainable, fashionable and affordable while also aligning with their goal of “wholehearted living.” This involves fostering strong relationships with others while living boldly and has been a mantra for Wamelink and her boyfriend, Brody Lewis, as they have embarked on this entrepreneurial adventure. She notes that connecting with others and lifting each other up has been one of the greatest joys throughout B. Well Babies first year.
While there are other silicone catch-all bibs on the market, it is B. Well Babies’ charitable contributions that set them apart from the rest. With a strong heart for others and a drive to help children become the best versions of themselves, Wamelink and Lewis set out to find an organization that needed their help, and they stumbled upon Foster Village Charlotte. Realizing that others perhaps do not understand the struggles in the foster care system, they made it their mission to share the impact that Foster Village Charlotte has on the lives of foster families, while also giving a portion of all proceeds to the charity.
Foster Village Charlotte aims to equip foster parents with everything they need to prepare their home for a child, including training focused on trauma and other necessary resources. Wamelink and Lewis believe that the resources available to foster parents can completely change the child’s life trajectory.
“When foster children have a well-equipped caregiver, they feel empowered to create a new path for their lives.”
Launching a new business in the midst of a global pandemic has been nothing short of a whirlwind for Wamelink, but the uncertainty of life is what made her jump in and take the risk.
“I had doubt, fear, anxiety and confusion. But one thing I knew for sure, especially after all of the layoffs and changes during COVID, nothing is promised,” Wamelink said. “In a snap, it could all be gone, so I threw fear aside and decided that from now on I was in charge of my future.”
This courage was the beginning of Wamelink practicing “wholehearted living.”
Wamelink joins a strong network of successful Elon alumni, a network that she does not believe is a coincidence. When asked why she believes Elon graduates see so much success professionally, she hinted at the wide variety of real-life experiences Elon students can partake in and the support system Elon provides them with.
“Real-life experiences plus encouraging people equals successful people, e.g. Elon University alumni,” Wamelink said. “There is very little you cannot achieve when you are lifted higher by people that truly believe in you and you are able to prepare yourself with real-life experiences.”
The future is bright for B. Well Babies with exciting new products coming soon and a patent in the works. Visit https://bwellbabies.com/ to support Foster Village Charlotte and learn more about the products.