Morris County Mom’s Genius Idea Is a Convenient Germ-fighter

By Jillian Risberg 

 

Children’s car seats can harbor some of the nastiest bacteria buildup you don’t want anywhere near your child.  


Cleaning it yourself is not only a time consuming hassle; traces may be left behind.

A Madison mom knows this all too well and was inspired to do something about it. 

“Studies show toddler car seats have more germs than a toilet seat, which is disgusting,” says mom of two, Lauren Siclare, who started BuckleBath to help parents tackle the common germ-filled problem.


It started when the entrepreneur was in the preschool drop-off car line with her daughter. A teacher took her daughter out of her car seat and a crumby mess came out with her. 

 

“I was so embarrassed, ‘how does this happen?’” Siclare wondered. “My daughter is really clean and so is my car.” She then had her ah-hah moment and realized it was leftover snack crumbs from days prior.

 

She promptly searched online for a cleaning service specific to children’s car seats, she even checked the Apple app store, but couldn’t find a mobile business solely dedicated to cleaning gear in driveways. This was the genesis of the business.

“‘I needed to start in a market where there’s a densely populated community with a lot of young children,’  The entrepreneur researched and wrote her business plan while working at Google, she then left corporate America to see her mobile car seat cleaning and sanitizing company to fruition.  

 

Her venture became significantly more relevant during the pandemic as a result of hyper awareness around sanitizing, disinfecting and removing germs.  


“The adoption of our service and the excitement around it was very organic and spread very quickly in the beginning,” says Siclare, of witnessing it firsthand. 

A month into the launch, she and her husband were in a restaurant when seated behind them they heard a woman and her friend talking about BuckleBath. The friend responded incredulously.  

“I was not shortsighted in knowing this potentially could be a nationwide brand but wanted to be strategic in proving out the concept locally,” says the entrepreneur. 

 

Siclare is incredibly grateful for her cleaning associates. She says the team’s dedication to quality has a huge impact. 

 

“If I didn’t have them out there executing and doing the cleaning themselves, I could never do this,” she praises their phenomenal effort. 

 

And the entrepreneur follows car seat manufacturer guidelines, using natural products because car seats have to be cleaned in a specific way.  

 

“That’s really important to note,” says Siclare. “We are strict about the protocols. I am a licensed CPS tech — and sat through a four-day long, intense course to understand the rules and regulations behind car seats, then trained all my team members to do so.”

After a stint on Good Morning America, there is a huge interest in BuckleBath franchises. 

“We’re still a newer business and don’t spend huge amounts of money on advertising so it’s not like you’re going to walk into a Starbucks and see something about BuckleBath unless it’s a flier a mom left behind,” the entrepreneur says, ‘word of mom’ has definitely helped. As of September BuckleBath is legally a franchise.

It was a lot of work, according to Siclare — but as founder of the company her hope is to be able to provide jobs, through bringing on new franchisees who want to be business owners and are passionate about introducing BuckleBath to their community. 


“Our strategy is to grow and meet the demands of the requests we get every single day from multiple states and towns,” says the entrepreneur. “Because no one else does exactly what we do.”

As we move into the warmer spring months, a new franchisee will be running New York City.

“We are looking for individuals who are interested in opening a franchise.” We have always been careful to ensure the quality of the service is strong.” 

Next: Add North Jersey and New York franchisees to help BuckleBath grow and service some of the high demand areas they are not able to frequent on a regular basis.

BuckleBath is interested in partnering with more of the right people to keep kids healthy in the car.


“There’s complete chaos in the summer months,” says the entrepreneur. “We’re in conversations with someone in Florida to open a franchise there. They don’t have concerns about weather so we’re excited to see what BuckleBath in a different climate will do.” 

 

The branded vehicles are mainly used for in-driveway service and partnering with daycare centers to clean on site. 

 

Standard cleaning is $59. A more involved cleaning (child was carsick) $110. Your own franchise: $32,000 (plus business expenses) $61,000.   

 

Siclare has a showcase of before and after pictures. Each appointment it’s the cleaning associate’s responsibility to pick up the gear, snap a picture — and prior to returning, take another photo to display the difference.  

 

The reactions are priceless, according to the entrepreneur. 

“Moms are blown away,” Siclare says. “They made this look brand new; it was so convenient, you saved me from buying another car seat,” are some of the comments she’s received about BuckleBath.  

And it’s why she started the business in the first place — being available for moms, dads, nannies (or whoever it may be) during a stressful time and removing the heavy burden; it’s cumbersome to clean a car seat. 

“If we can take it off their hands, they’re really happy about it,” says the entrepreneur. 


She knows her business will stand the test of time. “There’s always going to be babies born, busy parents, caretakers and BuckleBath will always be relevant,” Siclare says. 

 

To book an appointment or for more information, visit www.bucklebath.com

 

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