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The rise of the mommy economy

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Articles - May 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
0512_MothersOfInvention_OxenreiderTSH OXENREIDER
Simple Living Media

“I sold my first sidebar ad six months after I launched, mostly for what I called latte money. I then wrote an e-book to sell on the blog, which sold enough in another six months to pay off all my school loans and to grab the attention of a publishing house. I signed my first book contract, and it was released in bookstores in late 2010. I love that I can earn a full-time income for my family while staying home with them.”

0512_MothersOfInvention_GrahamNyeKIM GRAHAM-NYE

“One of the things I’ve been reflecting on in the last few months is very few companies are startups when the founders are in the midst of early childhood. We were setting up the DNA of the company at the moment we had a 2-year-old and were pregnant with the second. It gave us a unique perspective on business in that moment of time. It meant the entire structure of company is based in a family-centered approach.”

0512_MothersOfInvention_WionSTACEE WION
SpielWerk Toys

A shortage of natural organic toys prompted Stacee Wion and former partner Sonja Barclay to open SpielWerk Toys in Portland in 2006. “Free and open uninhibited play is the tool by which children develop and we didn’t feel what was on the mainstream market was appealing to the best interest of children,” says Wion, 38. Instead of “mental and interactive” toys — currently all the rage — SpielWerk provides kids with open-ended physical experiences, such as a soft-faced doll with just a suggestion of a human face “so children create the character.” To compete with lower-priced national and online retailers, the store offers customers an environmentally friendly community-based shopping experience featuring a play area and a selection of locally crafted toys. Wion, who grossed $400,000 last year, also sponsors children’s craft activities during neighborhood events such as Sunday Parkways and is expanding the business to include commercial playscape design and residential playscape consultation. The mother of three children, Wion lives two blocks from the store’s North Williams location. Her 16-year-old son was recently onsite helping her break down boxes. “We have the relationship of being part of the village,” says Wion.

0512_MothersOfInvention_SchotlandMARLYNN SCHOTLAND
Plum District, Urban Bliss

“Moms love Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter. We’re tied to our cell phones because we’re always on the go and it’s easy to check in with the rest of the world quickly while waiting in the carpool lane at school. At Plum District, our district consultants are featured along with their offer pages; they share why they brought that deal to the table. The Internet has made mom-specific advertising more accessible.”


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