May 7th, 2008 by gvanourek
When I came across the recent feature story in the Denver Post on “mompreneurs” (check it out here), it reinforced our findings on why entrepreneurship is such a growing and dynamic phenomenon today. These mothers are launching exciting enterprises while raising families, tapping into a deep-seated need not only for fulfillment and contribution but also for flexibility and integration in their lives.
The article documents “a rising tide of women with little children who have dumped their corporate gigs for startups that let them mind the kids and contribute to the family’s bottom line. They’re marketing from their basements, bringing the little ones to the home office and satisfying their entrepreneurial urges with work that keeps a flexible schedule…. For many of the moms, the mompreneur route holds out the potential for something tantalizing: flexibility.”
A few examples in the
- Stephanie Carter, a former lawyer who started Wallaroo Hat Co. and has sold $3 million worth of hats in a year, hiring 40 sales reps nationwide.
- Susan Lyles, founder and president of And Toto Too Theater Company, a nonprofit that promotes women in the arts.
- Olivia Omega-Logan, a former ad exec working 60 hours a week who launched Baby Candy, a store selling clothes for kids wrapped like pieces of candy. She founded the company when her baby contracted a virus and couldn’t go to day care.
Shannon Henry, a former writer with the Washington Post who co-founded the Cooking with Friends Club, says, “It seemed like the right thing for my life at the moment. I think a lot of new moms are so in love with their kids, and they want to be in love with their work, too. But it takes them away from their kids. I think that’s why a lot of women become mompreneurs. They want to figure out their lives in a more flexible way…. It’s natural for my lifestyle… for me, my work life and my regular life and closer together than they ever have been before.”
In our book, we interviewed several mompreneurs, including Stacey Boyd, who founded Savvy Source for Parents, Bridget Bradley Gray, who founded Wiggle Room, and Linda Mason, who founded Bright Horizons Family Solutions. With the latter having 600 centers nationwide, 18,000 employees, and the honor of being named nine times to FORTUNE magazine’s prestigious list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For,” you can see that the mompreneurship spectrum is as wide as it is fascinating.
And let’s not forget the intrepid dadpreneurs out there—like my brother, a stay-at-home dad who recently launched his own company called Custom Homes of the
Who among us doesn’t want to create an extraordinary life? Who among us doesn’t want to integrate our life and work in ways that allow us to make contributions and find meaning and fulfillment? For growing numbers of moms—and dads—entrepreneurship is a rewarding stepping stone to these worthy pursuits.