The Birth of Itsabelly
Four years ago, when she was pregnant with her daughter Isabella, Melissa Moog stood in the baby aisle at her local big-box store and stared, overwhelmed, at the choices before her. All she wanted was a car seat. Since she was new to Portland and the first of her family to have a baby, she had no one locally to help choose the best baby gear. So, being a research queen, she sifted through a ton of books and spent hundreds of hours on the Internet, teaching herself about all things baby. And after becoming a mom she resolved to help new and expectant parents ease into their lives with children. Most importantly, Melissa wanted to create a company where she could help parents find the best green baby products to protect two very precious things: our little ones and the planet.
Founder and CEO Mama
As one of America’s original baby planners and co-author of the new book Itsabelly’s Guide to Going Green with Baby, Melissa Moog brings enthusiasm and authority to all things maternity and newborn. She reviews products and shares parenting tips on her Itsabelly blog and is the Baby Planning Expert for The Bump, which produces “the ultimate local guides to pregnant living.” She also somehow finds time to serve as President of The International Baby Planner Association, is the Pregnancy Planning Expert for Bizymoms.com and writes articles on green living for DrGreene.com. Melissa can be seen monthly as New Mom Editor on Fox12 BetterTV. She is a former corporate HR Director and holds a master’s degree in HR/Organizational Development from the University of San Francisco. To recharge, Melissa enjoys cooking, time at the gym, and traveling with her husband, daughter and their two yellow labs.
Jennifer Lo Prete, Itsabelly’s Marketing Manager and the co-author of Itsabelly’s Guide to Going Green with Baby, is a writer, marketing consultant and stay-at-home mom with a preschooler and a toddler. Having been raised in a family that made eco-friendly choices, Lo Prete expanded these practices when starting her own family in 2003. Lo Prete believes strongly in organic living, breastfeeding, natural birth, cloth diapering and babywearing. She has a master’s degree in Marketing Communications from Northwestern University. She has worked in a congressional press office and has managed advertising for major children’s products companies.
Sr. Administrative Assistant aka Our Right Hand Mama
Joan DePalma, Itsabelly’s Sr. Administrative Assistant aka our Right Hand Mama brings 14 years of Project Management to the team. Joan takes passion in facilitating her project teams to successful outcomes through effective leadership, organization and consistent communication. After having her first child in 2007 Joan has a new appreciation for working moms like her and believes that finding balance between work and life brings harmony to her family. Joan lives with her husband, son, two Boston Terriers and their kitty in Portland, Oregon. She is expecting her second child this summer. In her spare time, she enjoys experimenting with new recipes with good friends, reading, and spending time with her family.
Business Development Mama
Jil Howard, Itsabelly’s Business Development Manager, is a versatile addition to the team. Most recently she managed a large training team at Intel Corporation where she met Melissa Moog. At Intel, her team was responsible for creating and implementing training for a cross-company group of over 24,000 managers, program managers, managers, marketers, sales people, and engineers. Prior to training, Howard enjoyed great success in a wide range of fields including sales, marketing and operations management. Her move to Oregon spawned an interest in organic living that she continues to develop over time. Howard has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Oregon State University. In her spare time, she enjoys being a mom to her furry babies, gardening, and fitness.
Czar of Corporate Relations
Czari Anulao, Itsabelly’s Czar of Corporate Relations joins the team and brings a continuous improvement of individuals and organizations to better provide for their customers. This focus led her to pursue a master’s degree in Organizational Management. She loves to cook, try new restaurants, travel, and participates in half marathon and dual athlon races to stay fit.to the business. She has 10+ years experience in the biotechnology industry manufacturing medicines that treat life threatening conditions that affect children to adults. She’s an advocate of creating a fun environment that supports
Praise for Itsabelly
“It has been a delight working with Melissa. I first sought out a baby planner because as an entrepreneur, I don’t have as much time as I would like to do research on all the latest and greatest baby items. Also, I really wanted a “green” nursery—when I learned that Melissa specializes in this area, it was a no-brainer to work with her. And, to be honest, I struggle with the big-box stores because there’s too much choice! I really needed someone to narrow it all down for me in the little time I have— Melissa did just this. One of the wonderful results of working with Melissa is that I could devote more of my free time to reading wonderful pregnancy and parenting books. I highly recommend baby planners like Melissa—she gave me the peace of mind by providing me with trusted, credible information and resources so that I could spend my free time learning more about becoming a terrific mom! Thanks, Melissa.”
— Leslie Barber, Co-Founder, Bellybar, San Mateo, CA
“Even though I work in the maternity and baby biz, when I found out I was pregnant I still felt like a fish out of water. Thank goodness for Melissa and Itsabelly! From answering my “emergency” questions by email (“How many baby bottles will I really need?”) to walking me through Babies “R” Us for the first time, Melissa’s planning service has saved me lots of time and probably lots of tears prepping for baby. In under 2 hours consulting with her, I felt like I had a much better handle on my registry and what products I truly needed. Plus, she’s sampled lots of products and heard from tons of other moms about what works and what doesn’t—and she loves to share her knowledge. I’ve read all the books and searched all the websites, but nothing beats having a real live baby and pregnancy expert on your side.”
— Kira Krieger, Editor, The Bump, Phoenix, AZ
“I really started panicking around the 6 month mark of my pregnancy. This was my first child, I didn’t have family or close friends who had done the baby thing and both my husband and I were working full time in Portland’s high tech industry. I didn’t know what to get, where to look, or when to start. I kept thinking that this kid was going to show up and I wouldn’t know what to do! I desperately needed someone to take me through a remedial course of Getting Ready for Baby. Fortunately, Melissa was there to guide me through the chaotic waters of first time motherhood. As simple as it may sound, one of the most reassuring tools that Melissa provided was a framework for all I needed to get done and a timeline to do it. For someone who lives and dies by her to do list—this was a Godsend. Having Melissa walk through a big box baby retailer with me to set up my registry educated me not only on what I needed—but sometimes more importantly—what I didn’t need. Melissa’s resources on getting the baby’s room ready were extremely helpful and put me in the right frame of mind to finally get it done. Melissa’s warmth and concern for my situation made our work together a joyful experience. When my son came home we were all ready, thanks to Itsabelly’s services. Now if only Melissa could help out with those 2am feedings . . . .”
— Roxanne Gryder, Portland, OR
“I’m a wife, first-time mom, and have a very active, demanding life serving in the Army Reserve and as a full-time police officer. I am so lucky to have discovered Itsabelly! Melissa guided me through out my entire baby registry process and I now realized there was no way I could have done it so efficiently without her service.
She gave me all the information I needed in advance and additional information while in the store to make excellent choices on products that met the needs of me and my baby. Melissa turned what could have been a multiple-visit, week-long project for me, into a fun, very productive, afternoon that increased my excitement concerning my baby and his arrival! If you’re like me and don’t have a lot of time to research, Itsabelly is the perfect solution.”
— Eilaine, San Jose, CA
“From the day you learn you are having a baby, your life changes. If you are a first-time mom, like me, you feel overwhelmed and insecure with the abundance of information you have to sift through. From car seats, to breast pumps, to stroller travel systems, where do you begin? That is where Melissa from Itsabelly comes in. She takes the time to listen to your needs and offers you resources to help you prepare for your first baby. Her positive attitude and attention to detail makes baby planning easy and simple. She is so passionate about her work, it is contagious! I wholeheartedly recommend Itsabelly’s services because Melissa’s caring nature and level of professionalism are beyond impressive. Thanks again for your support and being the best in the business!”
— Laura, Portland, OR
“The phone rang. It was my sister. Great news! She was pregnant. I knew that pregnancy is not easy and that hormones were about to start bouncing off the walls firing up in overdrive, so I wanted to help support her, make her and her partner`s lives easier. But how? I lived in a completely different country. Then I found out about Itsabelly…an angel to my life! Itsabelly founder, Melissa, knew exactly what to do and made personal recommendations for products that would fit my sister`s situation perfectly. I ordered a gift basket full of goodies such as Bellybars, then certificates for other services and even an advanced copy of Itsabelly’s Guide to Going Green with Baby book. My sister loved them so much that she ordered services for her friends, too! This is a caring and professional business, and I would recommend it to everyone wanting to express some love and give comfort to a mommy-to-be.”
— Keely, Switzerland
“Melissa found a great nanny for my preschooler and infant. She listened closely to my needs, preferences, and ideals, and conducted a timely and efficient search for a nanny who was just the right fit. Melissa openly communicated with me throughout the process, supplying frequent updates on how her billable time was spent, summaries of the candidates she screened and providing honest feedback about each of the finalist candidates she sent my way. Most appreciated by me was Melissa’s application of her own high standards as a mother during the candidate screening process. Melissa was as interested as I was in finding quality care for my children.”
— Molly Malone, Portland, OR