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
48 / 50
Nancy Traversy | Barefoot Books
Company: Barefoot Books
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Children: Three daughters, 15, 17 and 18, son, 13 â¢ Age: 49
Inspiration: As a new mom, Traversy had trouble finding books for her daughter that were both pretty to look at and interesting to read. So she and another mother (Barefoot Books co-founder Tessa Strickland) sought to fill the gap in the market and create books with good stories and good design.
Perspiration: Barefoot took off quickly, bringing in 110,000 British pounds of sales during its first year of operation. The company grew so fast that in 1998, Traversy and Strickland launched a New York office. Three years later, they moved operations to the U.S. to focus on the American market. The transitions were not easy. Traversy had four children; Strickland had three.
When Traversy got back from a family trip, she received a letter from her U.K. warehouse saying it had gone bankrupt. While she and Strickland wrestled their holiday stock back, Traversy and her family moved to Boston, just six weeks before September 11, 2001. Their first U.S. catalog mailing to 100,000 people didn’t go smoothly, either. “Of course we mailed them the week of the Anthrax scare and nobody opened them,” she says. But instead of giving up, Traversy and Strickland were hopeful for an end to their bad luck. “In fairy tales, bad things always happen in threes, so we felt like we had to keep going,” Traversy says.
Success: Barefoot Books has produced more than 500 titles, brought in about $7 million in 2010 and is poised to drastically expand in 2011 thanks to the company’s Ambassador program, which allows individuals to sell Barefoot products for a profit.