ToyDirectory
June 19, 2024

TDmonthly Magazine

May 2011 | Vol. X - No. 5


How to Turn Motherhood Into Money

Mompreneurs Transform Daily Challenges Into Businesses

By Alison Marek
May 2011

Reading the Future
Kathy Oxley, a former investment banker, mother of four, and now president of Preschool Prep, realized that when her son began having trouble learning his letters in preschool, she’d already found the solution years earlier. She’d been sitting with her 14-month-old daughter, watching a video meant to expose kids to classical music and interesting objects.

 “As the letters appeared on the screen, I would say them, and after a short number of viewings my daughter learned all of her upper-case letters,’’ Oxley told TDmonthly.

Oxley utilized an electronic toy to help her daughter learn lower-case letters. ‘’Once it clicked — before she was 3 — she started reading. Letters were words, and they were her friends.”

Oxley replicated the process by designing a video that taught upper- and lower-case letters separately. Preschool Prep was formed in April 2004. Seven years later, the company is still helping kids get a head start on reading.

Politeness Pays
Aimee Symington, founder of Successful Kids, had been a corporate etiquette consultant before becoming a full-time mom. Despite her expertise, she found that instilling good manners in her own children was a challenge. She knew that good manners didn’t just make parents’ lives more pleasant, but actually increased children’s likelihood of success.

‘’Polite children are more liked by peers and adults, and therefore more likely to be given opportunities throughout their lives,’’ she told TDmonthly.

She designed an etiquette seminar for kids, but couldn’t find an appropriate, fun manners game to continue the lessons at home. So she designed one herself. She and her husband plundered their savings and raised outside money to bring her game to market.

In the Blunders™ board game, children enjoy correcting the Blunder kids’ bad habits and, in the process, reinforcing their own good behavior. Blunders debuted at Toy Fair 2008, where Symington took part in the beginning stages of TDmonthly’s upcoming documentary on first-time inventors, “Toy Frenzy.” She’s since expanded the company, adding the new Manners Mats disposable placemats to her line in 2010.

Messy Money
Mecinna Price of Price Products had five children within 7 years, perhaps increasing the pressure on her to be extra inventive. When she noticed she spent an inordinate amount of time wiping up drips and stains from the popsicles that both she and her kids craved, she invented the Dripstik – a plastic popsicle-holding device that collected the popsicle drippings in a reservoir.

With financing from her in-laws, she began producing her invention and added other products to her line as well. “All of our products have been invented by parents, for parents,” she said.

Clean Cash
Missy Cohen-Fyffe of Babe Ease LLC came up with the idea for her Clean Shopper portable cloth infant seat in 1991 to protect her own kids from germy shopping carts. Since then, she’s grown her business to include toys, organic clothes and other safe baby products.

The lesson to be learned from these moms is simple, and has applied to entrepreneurs and inventors throughout history: whatever problem you encounter has a solution and that solution can be profitable.

Learn more about the mompreneurs’ inventive products below.  And to meet more mompreneurs, be sure to attend the ABC Kids Expo, held this year from September 23 to 26 in Louisville, KY.

Manner Mats by SUCCESSFUL KIDS INC.

Manner Mats by SUCCESSFUL KIDS INC.This pad of 38 placemats gives kids and parents games, activities and puzzles to improve manners and social skills. Placemats can be removed for use. (Watch the Manner Mats Video Watch Video) 2/9/2010 (MSRP: $9.99)


Blunders™ - Make Learning Manners Fun by SUCCESSFUL KIDS INC.

Blunders™ - Make Learning Manners Fun by SUCCESSFUL KIDS INC.The adorable characters of Becky, Bobby, Brenda and Billy Blunder revolutionize the way manners are taught. The game includes a game board, a story book and 300 fun and interactive charade, multiple-choice, scenario and true/false questions covering social and dining etiquette. “Blunders™ is the only board game on the market today that makes learning manners interactive and fun!” Successful Kids Inc. President Aimee Symington told TDmonthly. This game has received the following awards: Dr. Toy, National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, iParenting Media, Creative Child Preferred Choice, Mr. Dad Seal of Approval, eChoice, and The Toy Man Award of Excellence and Seal of Approval. Launch date: February 17, 2008.
— "I've loved the Blunders Game from the moment I was introduced to it.  Now you can reinforce manners at one of the places where manners are key.  Manner Mats takes the blunders concept and turns it into a set of 38  table mats. The mats include tones of games including word searches, challenges, multiple choice, what is wrong with the picture, complete the sentence and many more. Another innovative way to teach manners without having to point your finger," Jennifer Shuman, owner of 1SmartNoodle, told TDmonthly at Toy Fair 2010.

Past videos: Toy Fair 2009 (Watch the Blunders™ - Make Learning Manners Fun Video Watch Video) 11/27/2007 (MSRP: $24.95; Age: 5 to 10)


Wee BE Organic baby products by BABE EASE LLC

Wee BE Organic baby products by BABE EASE LLCWee BE Organic baby blankets, Clean Burpers and baby caps are 100% organic and unbelievably soft for baby. For families who want only the purest of fabrics touching baby's sensitive skin, the Wee BE Organic brand is the natural choice. MSRP starting at $6.00! 11/18/2008


Luxe Minky Clean Shopper by BABE EASE LLC

Luxe Minky Clean Shopper by BABE EASE LLCThe new Luxe Minky Clean Shopper is the lavish way to keep germs away! Two luscious layers of minky fabric filled with thick and fluffy padding for extra comfort. Available in Brown and Pink swirls with matching minky drawstring tote! Also available in matching minky Clean Burpers and Baby Blankets! 11/18/2008 (MSRP: $64.99)


Camouflage Super-Soft Clean Shopper by BABE EASE LLC

Camouflage Super-Soft Clean Shopper by BABE EASE LLCThe Camouflage Super-Soft Clean Shopper is the latest way to keep shopping-cart germs away. The Clean Shopper's unique one-piece design covers the entire seating-area of a shopping cart so baby's sensitive skin is not exposed to disease-causing metal. The Super-Soft Clean Shopper comes complete with two toy loops for attaching toys or teethers; two pockets for storing sippy cups, coupons or keys; a safety strap to help baby sit more securely; and a drawstring carrying tote for convenient storage. It is suitable for ages eight months and up. This product is an iParenting Media Award winner. Launch date: 2007. (Watch the Camouflage Super-Soft Clean Shopper Video Watch Video) 9/19/2007 (MSRP: $34.95; Age: 0 and Up)


Shape Scoop by PRICE PRODUCTS LLC

Ice cream can be even more fun with these shaped scoops. Kids can have cones filled with circles or squares of their favorite frozen treat. (Watch the Shape Scoop Video Watch Video) 12/10/2009 (Age: All Ages)


Dripstik by PRICE PRODUCTS LLC

Keeps kids' clothes clean by catching the sticky drips from ice cream cones or any frozen treat on a stick.  MADE IN THE USA (Watch the Dripstik Video Watch Video) 7/3/2009


Meet the Shapes DVD by PRESCHOOL PREP COMPANY

Meet the Shapes DVD by PRESCHOOL PREP COMPANY"Meet the Shapes" is designed to teach babies and toddlers the shapes while they are learning to talk. It teaches kids about circles, squares, rectangles, stars, triangles, diamonds, octagons and ovals. The shapes in the video are memorable characters, with the same name as the shape they are formed in, which children will love. The scenarios are easy to follow and lead children to recognize how shapes make up the world around them. View video demo 9/8/2006 (MSRP: $14.99)


Meet the Letters Video by PRESCHOOL PREP COMPANY

Meet the Letters Video by PRESCHOOL PREP COMPANYLearning letters has never been this easy!

Children will fall in love with these wonderful characters as they Meet the Letters. A recent study of over 50 babies and toddlers, who watched Meet the Letters daily, resulted in over 90% of these children having complete upper and lowercase letter recognition by or before the end of the two-month study. Many learned their letters in less than two weeks! Most impressively, nearly 70% of children under 24 months of age mastered the alphabet. You will be amazed at how easily your little ones can learn their letters!

View video demo 10/3/2005 (MSRP: $14.99)








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