When Greenwich Mom Katherine Sotzing and her husband were home during the pandemic, they realized how disorganized their two-toddler house had become—sound familiar? After brainstorming, they came up with BoxBrain, a time-saving, color-coded label system that makes it easy to visualize categories of items in storage. “For instance you can assign green labels to store holiday decorations, and blue labels for summer clothes. If you’re moving, whoever is helping you unpack can quickly identify what boxes go where. Pink labels go in the nursery, orange labels go in the kitchen. You don’t have to worry about losing inventory lists or scribbling contents on the outside of boxes,” explains Katherine. Utilize their mobile app and everything is itemized and editable right in your phone. “You scan a label, choose a room for the label, and then pick contents from a pre-populated menu of common items for that room,” shares Katherine, who is mom to Luke (3) and Zoe (19 months) about her family life in Greenwich, launching BoxBrain, and more!
Can you please tell us about your family life in Greenwich?
My husband, Andrew and I were born and raised in Greenwich. We went to Greenwich High School together and reconnected out west where we both relocated in our early 20s for a change of scenery and sense of adventure. We lived in San Francisco for over a decade and when our son was born we moved back East to be close to family. Our son Luke is 3 years old and our daughter Zoe is 19 months.
We live in Central Greenwich – very close to the Ave. It’s nice to be able to walk to restaurants and shops, which is something we did a lot of in San Francisco. So while we moved out of a city and back to the suburbs, it doesn’t quite feel like it.
What do you love most about Greenwich?
We were drawn back to Greenwich to be close to family and friends, for the proximity to NYC, hiking trails and beautiful beaches. We recently purchased a boat so exploring the sound and stand up paddle boarding are new hobbies of ours. Also, you can’t beat the wonderful schools.
What did you do professionally before BoxBrain?
I spent my early 20s soul searching. After graduating from Boston University, I worked in advertising, volunteered in Peru and Uganda, taught in the Bay Area and eventually decided to pursue a master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Speech-language pathology is a perfect blend of science and education, which is where my interests lie. I’ve provided treatment in a private clinic, an acute care hospital, preschools, elementary schools, and most recently worked with Abilis, providing early intervention services for the birth to three population. When COVID hit, I was seven months pregnant with my daughter and my son’s daycare permanently closed. So, for the time being I’ve put my career on hold to stay at home with my two young children. I feel lucky to be able to do so.
My husband is a tech guy. He studied Computer Science in college, and then worked for a bunch of startups in the Bay area as a software developer. Most recently, he led engineering efforts for a social travel community called Couchsurfing, managed engineers at NYC-based eCommerce brand Bonobos, and he’s now the head of engineering at a NYC-based startup called Good Dog, which connects folks looking for a dog with reputable breeders, shelters, and rescues.
What was the “aha” moment when you came up with the idea for BoxBrain?
With all this extra time at home during the pandemic, we realized how disorganized we were and how we needed a solution to our messy lives. Andrew and I have both moved a total of 10 times in the last 15 years. On our move cross country we spent hours numbering boxes and typing up their contents in a Google Doc. During the unpacking process, items were shifted into other boxes for storage in various places and our trusted Google Doc was not updated. Needless to say, it took us forever to find certain things. Add two toddlers and four seasons to the mix and we were in over our heads with “stuff”. We knew there had to be a better way to organize and catalog our belongings. With Andrew’s background in web development and my Type A personality the idea for BoxBrain was born.
What has it been like launching this product with your husband?
It’s been a lot of fun. We are a good team. Andrew is my best friend and we balance each other out really well. We have spent many late nights and weekends brainstorming the flow of the mobile app, building the app, creating labels, photographing the product, filming instructional videos. It’s our second pandemic baby.
Why is BoxBrain such a great tool for busy parents?
As busy parents ourselves, we know how easy it is to lose track of things and how frustrating it can be to waste time searching for them. BoxBrain gives you the peace of mind to know where your belongings are. We have been using BoxBrain to keep track of everyone’s out of season clothes, toys, sports equipment, camping gear, holiday decorations – anything and everything really. Spring cleaning is right around the corner – it’s the perfect time to get rid of old junk and take inventory of what you have stored away. It’s a simple tool to help you stay organized.
How did you get BoxBrain on the Amazon platform?
After chatting with some friends who produce and sell goods online, we learned that it’s possible for anyone with the time and patience to list and sell products through Amazon.com. It’s many people’s go-to destination for purchasing stuff online (ourselves included) so it seemed like a great starting point for us.
You can check out our listing on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/BoxBrain-Smart-Labels-Moving-Storage/dp/B09QBZHW7P
What’s next for your brand?
Right now we are focusing on getting the product into more people’s homes and are adding new features to the mobile app based upon customer feedback, such as being able to link multiple users to one account and more easily locating items via a keyword search.
We’ve also been thinking about how to position ourselves to work with storage facilities, moving companies, and professional organizers who might be interested in offering a more savvy method for their customers to keep track of their possessions. If you own or work for this type of business, and this sounds interesting to you, let’s talk!
Can you buy elsewhere or only on Amazon?
As of now you can also purchase the labels and accompanying app on Etsy at our store here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BoxBrainCo
We love to support local businesses. Would you please share your favorite local places to:
Get dinner as a family: Pasta Vera or Little Pub
Go out for date night: Polpo
Have fun as a family (outdoors or in!): We love to go to Tod’s Point or the splash pad at Byram Pool on summer days. We also enjoy romping in the woods in Mianus River Park and Montgomery Pinetum.
Work out: With two toddlers, I’m lucky if I can find 5 minutes to workout. These days, walking around the neighborhood is my exercise and some yoga if I can squeeze it in.
Grab coffee: Coffee for Good. I love their mission to support adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Plus the coffee is delicious.
Shop for yourself: Anthropologie
Shop for your kids: Smart Kids Toys