Shelby Bursley, The TOMY Momanger Behind Boon Brand

by TOMY | 27 May 2021

The Bloom Report



How long has Boon been around?

Boon was founded in 2004 by a mother in college. She won a JPMA Student Design Competition and the idea for Boon was born.


What is your role at Boon?

Brand Director for Boon and JJ Cole.


What is your background?

I have a degree in Visual Communication, and started at Boon as a graphic design intern in 2010. Boon was acquired by TOMY, International in 2011. After the acquisition, I was offered an opportunity to switch fields and join the newly formed product marketing team. This will be my 11th year.


What keeps you at Boon?

Initially, I was drawn to the exciting start-up culture. I was exposed to so many aspects of the business and found what I enjoyed doing most. Having young children of my own, I love helping create products that are truly useful to parents.


Tell us about your family?

I have 2 boys-- a three year old and a one year old. And I am currently pregnant with a little girl due in August!


What are your mom challenges?

My second child was a micro-preemie, born at 26 weeks gestation and 1.5 lbs. There are a unique set of challenges that come with the development of a preemie. The four months my little guy spent in the NICU inspired many product ideas.


And I have the usual mom challenges. My three year old typically refuses to eat or wear clothes, and the one year old is not germ-adverse at all.


What were some of the product ideas your little guy inspired?

You can imagine how working in a field where I could help problem-solve preemie obstacles was important to me.


In the NICU they do swaddle baths; it helps baby feel more secure and bath time more enjoyable. We created the PUFF+bather, an inflatable bather that keeps babies warm and contained to reduce stress. We also came out with a preemie nipple for our NURSH bottles. The feeding specialist at the hospital loved our bottles, but we didn't have a slow enough nipple for preemies and were able to solve for that.



What are your favorite mom moments?

Everyone loves bath time at our house, so that’s always a favorite. We also love walks and bike rides and just being outside!


What makes Boon unique?

As a company, Boon has all the best aspects of a small company (there’s only 5 dedicated Boon employees!) with all of the perks and resources of a larger company. We still feel like an independent, boutique brand.

As a product line, the cleanability, functionality, bold colors, cuteness and four-five word product names make us innovative and cool.


What is your favorite product?

NURSH bottles are my favorite, followed closely by the CACTI bottle brush set. I get those products for all my friends! They are shower gifts the mommy-to-be might not know she must have.


What is the most-loved product at Boon?

LAWN Drying Rack is our best-seller. It just gets the job done and looks good doing it. Though meant for bottles and accessories, you may spot LAWN drying a few wine glasses. It’s multi-purpose…


What are you working on now?

We just launched a new high chair to toddler chair – GRUB - and there’s a lot to love about it. Our last high chair was launched seven years ago and we’re still getting part requests. Our brand love is deep among fans.


It’s graduation season. What career advice would you give young Shelby in hindsight?

The “perfect” job might end up looking very different than what you initially expected. Don’t be afraid to trial an opportunity that might not be exactly what you were looking for. If you ask questions and make learning your key focus you can create a career you love!


Mompreneur TOMY

Tait & Lily, Inventors of Betcha Can't!