Name: Marina Westerdahl

Hometown: Loma Linda, CA

Current Residence (City, State): Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Education: BS Environmental Science

Professional Background (brief, please): Wildlife Biologist

What you wanted to be when you grew up: I never had one specific thing that I wanted to do, I was always interested in doing everything. I’m still the same way, lots of things interest me.

What you are: I’ve been married for almost 7 years, we have two young kids, Giselle 4, and Ethan 18 months. What I do helps me to define who I am; I’m a dedicated mother, wife, friend, and recently a business woman. I designed padded pants for crawling babies that I call Comfy Crawlers. They are lightly padded in the knees, shins and bum to offer soft comfort while crawling or landing.

Brief Summary of your Start Up: When my son was six months old, I began looking for padded pants that would protect his knees when he began to crawl. It was a concern for me since most of the house is tile. After searching the web and asking friends I decided, using my limited sewing skills, to make a pair of padded pants for him. Soon I began getting orders from friends, family and even other moms from my local playground. In my spare time, I picked fabrics, colors and patterns. I tried to follow my own ‘mother’s intuition’ and asked myself, “what would I want my baby to wear?” Over the course of a year, Gissy Bella was formed.

Company Website? or

What inspired you? My son Ethan and my desire to feel useful.

How long have you been in business? Since March 2006

How did you fund it? Our savings and a small loan from my mom.

Do you have a Fairy Godmother (or Mentor)? My cousin and good friend Tamara Talbot, she is a great mom and business woman, who has some great advice and who is also very supportive. Also a great friend that I met when I moved to South Florida, Crissy Mehler, she has been a source of creative inspiration.

Do you belong to any Business Organization or Networking Groups? No.

Current Business Challenge? Everything! The business is still so new that I’m still figuring everything out.

What are you doing about it? I do a lot of research on the internet, read books on related topics, ask questions, try, try and try.

Favorite motivational quote: I love quotes but I never remember them. One thought that has kept me going is “Big dreams and little steps.” I don’t know who said it, or where it came from but I like it.

Family: My husband David, we’ve been married for almost 7 years, our daughter Giselle who is 4 years old. My son, Ethan who is 18 months. We also have two pugs that are 6 years old and are just as emotionally needy as my kids.

If so, how do you balance family and business? I don’t balance, I just prioritize. Kids first, business second. I love my laptop, I can work from anywhere. I’m lucky that my son takes long naps and my daughter goes to preschool several days a week. My mother in law is great and she is always willing to help out when I really need the additional help.

Favorite book? I love to read, but it’s been so long since I’ve read one! However, one of my all time favorites is “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck. I couldn’t put it down!

What do you do to relax? I sleep!

What do you want to change most about your world? Lots of things! In the ‘large’ world I want to end injustice, poverty, abuse of children and women, I could go on and on. In the ‘small Marina world’ I want to just continue to grow and be able to look back and be proud.

What are you most proud of? Aside the obvious things, mainly doing something about an idea. Doing something that I believe in and seeing the expressions on other moms faces when I tell them. That makes me proud. I think that sometimes moms are so emotionally ran down that seeing what other regular moms are doing can be an inspiration. I love to think that perhaps I’ve been able to encourage other moms into doing something about their ideas. I am a firm believer that most ideas are mom initiated.

What advice would you like to offer other Start Up Princesses?
If you don’t know how to do it, ask or google it!

Favorite Magic Wand (tool/resource)? The internet!

If you could design a tiara, what precious stones would you use? Lots and lots of diamonds!

Would you be interested in being a Fairy Godmother to another woman entrepreneur? (I am working on a secure system to do this, any ideas?) Yes, but there’s a lot I don’t know.

What business subjects would you feel comfortable mentoring in?
I know a little about a lot, but not enough to consider myself knowledgeable enough to mentor someone in any business field. I’d be willing to jumpstart them and perhaps lead them in the right direction.

Would you be interested in going to lunch with other women entrepreneurs for a “networking tea party”? Yes! I love tea parties!

If you are out of Utah County, would you be willing to be a facilitator of such an event? Yes, I would.


  1. I love your quote, I can completely relate! I feel we are in the same shoes as everything is new and you have to learn everything at once. I have not seen a product like yours before, what a great idea!

  2. Thank you, Jamie! Thank you for your kind compliment.

  3. Not only is the product great but it is so great to see that you have been able to inspire other moms who see that you have taken action with your business goals. I think that is great! Keep up the good work!

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