Top 50 Mompreneurs, 2011
They cook, they clean and, between naptimes, they run kickass companies. For those who run their own mom-centric firms, the responsibilities of motherhood are only half the battle. Babble is running our first ever salute to the top 50 mompreneurs who pull all-nighters, suffer enormous financial set-backs, and balance business and baby every day to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Here's how they did it.
- Christina Couch
41 / 50
Andrea Van Ness | Thumbuddy To Love
Company: Thumbuddy To Love
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Children: Son, 8 â¢ Age: 46
Inspiration: “I was a thumb sucker,” Van Ness admits. “My mother tried everything from bitter thumb polish to taping my hands to get me to quit, but I wouldn’t. My grandmother made me a little puppet for my thumb and gave me a talk. I was so proud of my new little friend that I took it to school and forgot to suck my thumb. Everyone was amazed that that was the thing that worked. Five years ago, the economy was pushing me to do something different. I looked for something on the market like the puppet my grandmother gave me and couldn’t find anything. It seemed like a no-brainer.”
Perspiration: Timing wasn’t exactly on her side. Van Ness launched her company in 2008, right in the middle of a recession and while she was going through a divorce. “There was such a fear factor,” she says. “I invested $20,000 of my own money and didn’t get a paycheck for over a year. It was always in my head that this could flop and I’d really be in trouble.” Despite that, Van Ness put her heart and soul into everything from choosing fabric samples for the puppets to writing press releases.
Success: In 2009, Thumbuddy won a Mom’s Choice Award for excellence in family-friendly products. In 2011, the company will launch a series of hardcover books and launch a national sales campaign.