They are all over the TV, newspapers and online media; they are mompreneurs, and they prove that it is possible to be both a nurturing caretaker of little ones and a successful business mogul. Here's what is means to be a mompreneur, and why these five moms are getting so much well-deserved attention. (For a related reading, see Keep Working Or Stay At Home With The Kids?)
Entrepreneur.com defines a mompreneur as "a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur." It may sound simple, but combining these two very complicated and delicate life roles can be a consuming and stressful lifestyle. Thankfully, there are many examples of those that have accomplished the balance of family matriarch and home-business manager.
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This mom of four took her love of handbags to the next level by offering gently-used, high-end purses and bags via her online store. Leaving her law career behind, Sarah has found success with her creative and in-demand business. She was recently featured in a Real Mom profile in Working Mother magazine, disclosing that, worldwide, her site has sold "$4.5 million in bags last year." Customers from as far away as Australia enjoy buying brands such as Marc Jacobs, Gucci, and Burberry at deeply discounted prices.
This mom got her start as a small shop on Etsy, and has enjoyed enough growth for both her and husband Nick to make and sell the Little Sapling developmental wooden toys full time. By having a home office and workshop onsite, this couple can spend more time with their two children, and their love for the environment shows in their business, as well: The toys, finished with natural products and packaged with recycled supplies, are a hit among health and safety conscious parents. Kimber and Nick tell more about their business and life as work-at-home parents at the Etsy Blog, and Kim made Babble's Top 50 Etsy Moms list in 2010. IN PICTURES: Top 6 Marriage-Killing Money Issues
Mom Central Consulting
While working as a former spokesperson for brands Johnson & Johnson, Ragu, Hasbro, Baby Einstein and others, Stacy realized the power that moms hold in the marketing arena. In 2007, she created Mom Central Consulting as a way to help brands communicate effectively with the average mom. Stacy manages to parent two teenagers when she's not busy overseeing the social media campaigns that connect her brand clients and thousands of real moms, and she is still a go-to expert in the media on topics ranging from technology to bullying.
Baby sign language is a hot topic, as parents strive to begin communicating with their children at an even younger age. Thanks to the teachers at My Smart Hands, Laura's own company, parents can learn American sign language (ASL), in person or online, to speak with infants and the hearing-impaired. Laura is also quick to embrace technology in her mom-owned business; the My Smart Hands baby sign language iPhone app has been well-received among tech-savvy moms and caregivers. This is one mom whose passion for teaching has spread worldwide through a successful start-up with heart. The Bottom Line
It takes all kinds of moms to create and sustain the brilliant businesses featured here, and with the future continually revealing new markets, there's room for many more mompreneurs. After all, few things are better than those made with love by a mom! (For more, check out our Starting A Small Business Tutorial.) For the latest financial news, see Water Cooler Finance: Goodbye 2010 (And Good Riddance?)