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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April Mraz and Cherie Stine | Stretchy Shapes
April & Cherie’s Rankings
Company: Stretchy Shapes
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Children: Mraz has a son, 3 1/2; Stine has a daughter, 6 â¢ Age: 38
Inspiration: When Stine, a former marketing executive on work sabbatical to raise her daughter, started having weekly meetings last summer with her friend Mraz, an ad executive, business ideas flew. “We would meet for Diet Cokes a few mornings a week to socialize and somehow we started talking about [Malcolm Gladwell's] book The Tipping Point,” Stine says. “We started talking about those silicone bands kids were going nuts for and one of us said, ‘Why don’t we open kiosks for these in local malls?’”
Perspiration: Stine and Mraz took over two temporary holiday kiosks and sold 42,000 packs of bracelets. When they started noticing that customers wanted higher quality products than what they were selling, they created 3 designs and had a manufacturer make 10,000 packages of them – all of which sold out in two and a half weeks. “We shut down the kiosks on New Year’s Eve at 6 p.m. and I was in bed that year by 8,” Stine says. “Two weeks later, I noticed that our bands were selling on eBay for outrageous prices. April and I looked at each other and said, ‘Could we really do this?’”
The company took off after Stine and Mraz took their idea to NYC’s Toy Fair convention in 2009 and left with more than two months of orders. “Our company just started growing so fast and that was difficult because we were funding it ourselves,” April says. “We would max out our credit cards and then pay it off every single day after orders came in. Stine and Mraz survived the initial shock of business, solving one problem at a time until they found the right manufacturers, created a cash flow system and added more employees.
Success: After launching this past February, Stretchy Shapes is projected to bring in $7 million in sales for 2010.
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