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
7 / 50
Jennifer Blakely | Alphabet Photography
Company: Alphabet Photography
Location: Niagara Falls, Canada
Children: Daughter, 11 months â¢ Age: 30
Inspiration: “My whole goal, even when I was a child, was to be a stay-at-home mom,” Blakely says. “In 2006, I was looking through children’s books with my nephew and saw the book Alphabet City by Stephen Johnson, who drew pictures of everyday objects in New York City as letters. I thought, ‘Hey, that’s a really neat idea!’ so next time I was out with my camera, I started taking photographs.” In 2007, once she had acquired a small collection of photos, Blakely started selling at craft shows. Her photos sold out immediately.
Perspiration: By 2009, the company had grown large enough to support Blakely staying home with a child. “I told my husband, ‘We need to try to have a baby in January because December is our busiest month and it’s too much,’” she says. “We literally planned our baby around the business.” Motherhood responsibilities also made it hard to run the company. “There have been times when I’ve had breakdowns,” Blakely admits. “Even though the company makes a profit, we’ve still had legal troubles because there are so many copycats. I’ve had nights when I thought, ‘Why am I continuing to do this?’” But ultimately, the company allowed Blakely to be a stay-at-home mom, which she valued highly.
Success: Today, Alphabet Photography houses more than 1,000 photos and 20 employees and draws in nearly $3 million in sales. Blakely’s products are in stores around the world as well as Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Cracker Barrel and TJ Maxx.