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
19 / 50
Kari Erickson-Valenzuela | Mama K’s Aromatic Play Clay
Company: Mama K’s Aromatic Play Clay
Location: Seattle, Washington
Children: Two daughters, 2 and 5 â¢ Age: 32
Inspiration: “When I was staying home with my first child in 2007, I was trying to fill the time and transition from working full time to full-time motherhood,” Kari says. “I started making play dough for her as part of our day and then I started adding essential oils to make it smell better. It seemed like if I didn’t start selling something like this, someone else would. I have two brothers who have MBAs, so I started asking questions.”
Perspiration: Investing $5,000 of her own funds, Mama K set up an Etsy.com shop to peddle her clay and took it to local businesses to test it. “I knew it would take a while for the company to be financially viable, but I didn’t know it would take as long as it did,” she says. “It was 6 to 8 months before I didn’t have to borrow from the family funds to feed it. That kind of pressure can get to you.” Seeing progress kept her on track. “Now that it’s grown to a certain size, I have to take it to the next level,” Erickson-Valenzuela says. “It would be torturous to stop now.”
Success: Three years later, Mama K’s Aromatic Play Clay has distribution throughout the US, the UK and Japan. Kari is currently contemplating whether the company will seek additional investment to expand in 2011.