Feature Articles: Road To Success

Diaper industry giant Huggies has announced the winners of the 2011 Huggies MomInspired Grant program. The program provides $15,000 in seed money and business resources to inventors of original products that make caring for a baby easier and more enjoyable. Moms have long been a source for ingenuity and creativity in the baby industry, and the Huggies Grant program is acknowledging and fostering this great resource. We applaud Huggies for their support of the entrepreneurial spirit! Let’s take a look at some of the 2011 winners: Bobee, Magnificent Baby, Kristi G, and Psi Bands.

Today’s economy makes it challenging for businesses to survive. Of the companies that are able to survive, many are faced with tough choices to keep their businesses in the black. It is a sign of true success for companies or retailers to expand and grow. A promising example of a company that has been able to do just that is KooKoo Bear Baby & Kids in Atlanta. Recently voted one of the top 10 kid’s retailers in the U.S. by Kids Today magazine, KooKoo Bear Baby & Kids is an online e-tailer, mail order catalog, and retail store marketer of designer kids’ rooms and exceptional baby gifts.

For decades, mompreneurs have been a creative force behind product innovations in the children’s market. Not content to make do with what the retail world offers, moms often come up with ideas to solve common childcare problems. The Giggle Guide® editors heard about a mompreneur that we’re pretty sure has no equal, and yet is relatable to the “everymom.” Robyn Pellei is the mother of 10 children, ages newborn to 12, the most recent born last December. This former nurse is now a home school educator and teaches all of her children at home. And in her spare time, she is the CEO of ViveVita.

Little Things Mean A Lot
Pedoodles

When Cause Haun first became a mom, she was dismayed in her search for flexible, stylish shoes for her one-year-old son, Kai. While traveling with her husband Gang Chen in China, Cause spotted urban, flexible children’s’ shoes. These were the type of footwear she had been unsuccessful finding in the States. She purchased several pairs of the shoes to bring back with her, and sold them at consignment shops. The response was incredible; the stores quickly sold out and the owners wanted more. In November 2004, See Kai Run was born in small steps, with a $10,000 investment and a hope for giant strides to come.

Would you be ready to “swim with the sharks” to help your business? The contestants of ABC’s “Shark Tank” pitch their business deals and dreams to a few of the most well-known wheeler-dealer investors, otherwise known as “the sharks.” Four savvy children’s product inventors, who made their pitch on “Shark Tank,” impressed the investors enough that they had multiple offers to consider. Ride-On Carry-On, Mod Mom Furniture, Coverplay and Soy-Yer Dough are now backed with capital to make significant strides in the marketplace.

Central Vermont, home to Maple Landmark Woodcraft, has a long and proud history of crafting wooden products. Over two hundred years ago, most Vermont towns had several individuals who made functional items from wood. Mike Rainville, the founder of Maple Landmark, is proudly part of this continuing tradition. Since the business began, customers have responded with enthusiasm to the cars and trucks; games including checkers, chess and dominos; train whistles; fairy wands; and scores of other finely crafted items and “Made by Me” construction kits that encourage kids to build creatively.

Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc. (K.I.D.S)
HALO® Innovations

David Holdridge is the kind of child who thinks about the needs of others. In 2008, when he was just seven years old, he thought up a way to bring his little sister more joy. He knew she loved her soft, fuzzy blanket, and her favorite stuffed lovey. He thought that if he could combine the two, it would surely bring a smile to her face. With the help of his mom Emily, David was able to make his vision a reality, and Happy Blankie was born! Happy Blankies are blankets that kids want to cuddle with at first sight. These cozy covers come in a variety of styles, each featuring an adorable, wide-smiling creature.

They have been immortalized in marble, regaled in poetry, noted in song, and celebrated with commemorative days. They have been reflected in the adoring faces of little children, had their names tattooed on their sons’ arms and their figures captured in crayon on their daughters’ refrigerator art. In whatever language — madre, muti, moeder, mère, mãe — they are mothers! Recently, www.Babble.com chose the “Top 50 Mompreneurs of 2011” to honor for their entrepreneurial spirit and prowess. Among the distinguished honorees are Kelly Meyer Douglas of Itzy Ritzy, Jenny Ford of Monkey-Toes, Julie Aigner-Clark of Baby Einstein, and Aileen Chen of Belly Armor. Congratulations!

Sean and Tracie Gildea realized they needed to take matters into their own hands when shopping for their baby boy’s room left them uninspired. Despite a diligent search, the couple was disappointed by the limited selection of children’s bedding they saw in stores. “Most of what we found was either dull or too sophisticated,” Sean recalls, “when a baby should be about being whimsical and fun.” And so, like the old saying goes, necessity truly is the mother of invention. The void the Gildeas found in the marketplace inspired the pair to launch Sozo, a charming collection of colorful clothes, blankets, sleepwear and accessories.

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