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
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Jenny Ford | Monkey Toes
Company: Monkey Toes
Location: Denver, Colorado
Children: Two daughters, 8 and 10, son, 10 months
Inspiration: Monkey Toes actually started before Ford had children. After taking a painting class, Ford started purchasing children’s shoes at Target and painting cute designs on them for baby showers and birthdays. “People loved them and asked me to do projects all the time,” she says. “It wasn’t until two years later, after I had children, that I thought, ‘Wow, this could be a business.’”
Perspiration: Ford borrowed money from her parents to get the company rolling and peddled her wares at trade shows. Media picked up on her products immediately. Still, Monkey Toes was simply a side gig until Ford lost her full time job in 2004 and separated from her husband. “I was trying to raise two children and run a business full-time, but all of the money it generated went right back into the business,” she says. “I almost had my house foreclosed; all of my credit cards were maxed out. When I look back now, I’m surprised I didn’t give up.” With the support of her parents, Ford weathered the storm, eventually adding socks and shirts to the product line.
Success: Six years later, the company is out of debt and raking in profits. “My mantra was, ‘Nobody is going to die. If I lose my house, I’ll move in with my parents,’” she says. “I know people would think, ‘That’s so crazy’, but when you believe in your business, you’re willing to do almost anything to make it work.”