Former ER actress Kellie Martin, 36, has added a new title to her resume: Internet Entrepreneur. Best known for her role on TV’s Life Goes On and Ricki Lake‘s documentary More Business of Being Born, Kellie announces her takeover of ROMP, an innovative and modern children’s boutique.
Kellie opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her online store that is “right up [her] alley” with “non-toxic, non-plastic, no batteries type of toys.” The actress also talks about her 5 year-old-daughter Maggie and thoughts on baby No. 2: “Honestly, I just haven’t felt ready yet!”
CBS: Tell us about your recurring role on Army Wives.
KM: “I’m so excited about it! I play Captain Nicole Galassini who is very intelligent, driven and ambitious. She’s an expert on a certain region in Africa where there’s a lot of turmoil. Basically she’s very instrumental in working out some political strife there. She’s kind of a badass!
Actually the character reminds me a lof of Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs. She’s super focussed and just a really fun character to play. I’ve never played anyone in the military, so just putting on that gear was pretty interesting! It adds a layer to the character. And they’re such a lovely group of people to work with.
And my other show for Hallmark, Almost a Bride, is airing in July. It’s a romantic comedy where I play this uptight woman who ends up getting ‘accidentally’ drunk in Vegas at her bachelorette party and she ends up marrying the wrong guy.”
CBS: Tell us about taking over the children’s store ROMP.
KM: “ROMP was this fantastic company that I was a customer of for about 4 years. I started shopping at ROMP when my daughter was 8-months-old. They were this great online shop that had this tightly curated group of toys and it was so up my alley. I was searching for safe, non-toxic, non-plastic, no batteries type of toys for my daughter. A friend of mine who’s a photographer told me about this little wooden camera that she’d gotten for her daughter at ROMP. So I found it, I ordered it, and that was it — I was a longtime customer!
So last June, I got an email that ROMP was closing down. And I just decided that I couldn’t let that happen! I just said to myself, ‘I have to take this over….or I had to find out if she’d let me take it over!,’ simply because I didn’t know where else I would shop. It just turned out to be a really great thing for me. The woman that I bought the company from was really happy to have me take it over. It was just one of those things that fell into place very easily. And I’ve been really enjoying it.
I didn’t want to come in and change everything because I loved the way it was. So I basically quietly took it over last year and I didn’t want to make a big deal about the fact that I was the new owner, because I know so many customers were happy with the way it was, and I wanted to continue the way it was. But now that I actually know what I’m doing, I’m ready to tell people that ROMP is now mine!
I just got off the phone with a customer who was telling me she started shopping at ROMP when her daughter was 1, and her daughter is now 3. That’s what I love about it — there’s a very loyal base of customers who just love the products.
I have such a cool kid and I have loved to see her grow. And I also love to see the way she engages with her toys. That little wooden camera I was telling you about that I got her when she was 8-months-old, to this day – she’s now 5 – she still plays with it. She saw these caterpillars who were going into their cocoons and she said, ‘Mom, mom, I have to go get my camera.’ She ran into the other room, grabbed her camera, and took pictures of the caterpillars.
So I love the fact that these toys are so open-ended that they will span years. And then you will want to hand them down. I hope she’ll pass them down to her kids. These toys really stimulate their creativity, their minds, and encourages them to use their bodies and be part of this world. As opposed to being plugged into anything technological. I’ve fought like mad to keep her away from my iPhone and we don’t let her touch the computer. I just feel like she has her whole life to do that.
And I ship everywhere! I just shipped something to Singapore and St. Petersburg. I love seeing where people are accessing the site – it’s really fun for me. At this point, I’m selling toys and decor. In the future we might add clothes, but I’d want to have our own line and I’d want to do it really well. So right now, I’m devoting everything to toys, and then eventually we’ll add things.
It’s fun for me now that my daughter’s going into Kindergarten. I’ve been able to wrap my head around a business. Because before then, I wasn’t ready to do anything like this. She can be in my office with all of these toys, and she can be in here having fun and be with me while I’m still doing my work and I love that. It’s a really nice thing for me.”
CBS: How’s Maggie doing? Wow, she’ll be in Kindergarten this September!
KM: “She’s great! She’s so ready for school. It’s been fun to see her grow into this amazing little person. She’s really into exploring the world and she loves to learn, so Kindergarten is something she’s really excited to start this fall.”
CBS: What’s your favorite part of motherhood?
KM: “For me it’s discovering the world through her eyes and learning from her every day. I just love being with her and spending my time with her. She’s the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”
CBS: Are you hoping for baby No. 2?
KM: “Honestly, I just haven’t felt ready yet! I know that as she gets older, I also get older, and I should really get started on baby No. 2. But I’m just honestly not feeling ready yet and I’ve wanted to devote my time and energy on her. We’ll see if I start to feel ready soon…”
CBS: We loved you in More Business of Being Born! Any future projects with Ricki Lake?
KM: “I was so honored to be part of More Business of Being Born! Funny story: Melissa Joan Hart, who also appeared in the film, is one of my best friends and we went to the screening together. We were both laughing that we were part of this film alongside a whole group of supermodels! But we were so happy to share our stories and be part of something so important.
Melissa had a really tough experience with her first birth and I basically talked her into taking hypnobirthing for her second delivery. When I first got pregnant, I didn’t know much about the birthing process, but I knew that my mom had me naturally and I wanted that experience. I soon learned that it’s all about becoming informed and empowered to make the right decision for yourself. So I became interested in hypnobirthing and did the prenatal classes to prepare myself emotionally and physically for the birth.
And as for any future projects with Ricki, all she would have to do is ask and I’d be there in a heartbeat! In fact, it hasn’t been officially announced, but I will be writing for Ricki’s upcoming magazine. I can’t wait!”