Tired of the routine children's activities, Heather Murphy Monteith, a Pennsylvania mother and professional dancer, created Baby Loves Disco.
Monteith began hosting monthly afternoon children's dance parties in night clubs featuring real DJs playing classic tunes from the '70s and '80s. The night club is filled with fun activities such as bubble machines, baskets of scarves and egg-shakers, and has a chill-out room (with tents, books and puzzles), diaper changing stations, a buffet of healthy snacks and plenty of dancing!
Julie Atherton, right, and actress Lisa Rina are pictured at an h2o event. Atherton, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., created h2O because, she says, she wanted to create a product to protect her family and the environment from plastic bottled water. Julie says she likes to think of h20 as a "sip in the right direction," enabling families to enjoy the convenience of bottled water without the carcinogens of plastic bottles.
Health enthusiast and environmentalist Shannon Andrukow created "sustainable" water bottles called Otter Bottles after having children because, she says, she realized there were no safe and stylish options available on the market. Andrukow says her Otter Bottles are not only environmentally-friendly, but chic.
She developed Otterbottle Inc. to "represent something pure, healthy, and Canadian."
Julie Aigner-Clark, a Denver mother, began her multi-million dollar company Baby Einstein in 1997. The former high school English and art teacher shot the first video in her basement. Her aim is to give babies a dose of culture by providing a variety of shows and activities for young children, instead of one mainstream character (which at that time was Barney, the purple dinosaur).
After she met with a buyer at a trade show in New York, Baby Einstein became an instant success. In 2001, she sold Baby Einstein to the Walt Disney for over $20 million. Aigner-Clark still maintains an active consulting role with Baby Einstein. The company now offers a variety of merchandise, from videos to books to baby products.
Jennifer Blakely, a Canadian mother, created Alphabet Photography to give her the flexibility to spend more time with her child. She was inspired by the children's book "Alphabet City," by Stephen Johnson -- a picture book that uses everyday objects in New York City as letters.
She started selling at craft shows. Her photos were a hit. Now, Alphabet Photography has more than 1,000 photos, 20 employees and draws in nearly $3 million in sales. Blakely's products are in stores around the world, including Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Cracker Barrel and TJ Maxx.
Cathy Alessandra decided to publish a newsletter about children's events from a Chicago suburb when she realized this type of information did not exist. Alessandra began "What's Up For Kids," a four-page black-and-white newsletter. She started by printing 1,000 copies of her first newsletter and sold them to local stores and pediatricians' offices.
She and her family moved back to Los Angeles, where she is now both mother and editor. "What's Up For Kids" is a 32-page glossy newsletter with strong ad revenues and a circulation of about 20,000. She also founded the National Association of Entrepreneurial Moms
Kim Graham Nye produces eco-friendly and breathable diapers to minimize the impact of diapers on landfills. As Nye searched for eco-friendly diaper options during her first pregnancy, she found reusable diaper covers that could be paired with cloth or fully biodegradable inserts from Australia. Then, she and her husband, Jason, decided to negotiate the rights, create a brand, raise some seed money, and bring the concept to the U.S.
gDiapers are both disposable, with 100 percent biodegradable refills, or reusable with flush-able inserts.
Canadian mother Tammany Atkinson founded Bee's Knees, a company that produces patented baby pants to protect a child's delicate knees. These pants work to prevent floor burns and marks with compression resistant, light-weight neoprene padding.
Former Army officer Reese Li created fashionable and practical diaper bags with as many pockets as her military knapsack. She began selling her bags on eBay. After hand-sewing 500 bags, she decided to find a manufacturer and take her product to baby boutiques.
Her bags come in a variety of colors and designs and have attracted celebrities such as Cate Blanchett, Gywneth Paltrow and Courteney Cox.
Denise Marshall invented products meant to end children's bad habits. They include Potty Mitts, a disposable glove solution to protect your child's fidgety hands when they touch toilet seats in public restrooms, and the Mac & Cool, a quick-cooling dish to prevent eager eaters from burning their tongues from freshly-made and hot meals. The Mac & Cool can also keep food, such as ice cream, cold.
Florida-based mother Michal Chesal made the Baby K'tan because she was unable to use regular baby carriers for her son because he was born with Down syndrome and had low muscle tone. Chesal began experimenting with her own baby carrier and gave one of her creations to friends whose babies had had open-heart surgery and needed a special carrier. Her friends then suggested she make her carriers into a business.
Chesal partnered with her husband, created samples in 2005 and launched the company in 2007. Baby K'tan sells about 80,000 carriers a year in 700 stores throughout the U.S and Canada.
High-profile New Yorker Dr. Lisa Belzberg, founder of the PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning) for a Day program and mother of six, along with her business partner, Erin Pace, created Koobli for busy parents. Koobli is a unisex cover-up for parents to use at feeding, playtime or bath-time to protect your clothing.
Designed to "Save time, save money, save clothes!" this 2011 Family Choice and PTPA ("Parent Tested, Parent Approved") award-winning product is lightweight, breathable, water and stain resistant, flame retardant and machine washable.
"The koobli eliminates a major source of stress for parents and allows them to focus on what matters most -- the simple and incomparable delight of being with your children," says Belzberg."
Kelly Meyer Douglas is a Napervile, Ill. mother who loves style and children, but could not find baby gear she wanted to buy. She teamed up with her husband, bought a baby product store named "Cuter Than a Duck's Butt," then re-branded, re-packaged, and sold new products. Itzy Ritzy was born.
Kelly says Itzy Ritzy is "exceptional and hip baby, toddler and adult products, designed with beauty, style, sophistication, function and fun in mind."
Karla Trotman, a mother of two, invented products that provide comfort for pre- and post-natal women. She started Belly Button Boutique after enduring pain from her first pregnancy. After giving birth to her first child, Trotman invested in ways to ease through pregnancy through expert advice, products and services.
Belly Button Boutique offers products such as pregnancy pillows, stretch mark cream, nursing pads, and C-section panties. The Shower Hug, an abdominal wrap that guards against milk leakage and protects sore nipples in the shower, is one of Trotman's top-sellers.
With these products, "Moms no longer have to suffer," says Trotman.
Nina Rappaport Rowan, a California-based mother, created plush dolls after hearing about the Columbine High School tragedy, to help children communicate their feelings at an early age. She named these helpful dolls "Kimochis," which Rowan hopes will serve as an aid for adults to connect with their kids and be more open emotionally. Rowan partnered with a friend and made 100 Kimochis for an exhibit at a toy fair. They were a huge hit, and gained the attention of several retailers.
By the next year, she had dolls in production and launched a company called Plushy Feely Corp. to promote Kimochis.
Former graphic designer, Lenie Ramos created Little Twig, a saf and all-natural baby bath care line in 2005. This El Segundo, Calif. mother was inspired to make safe and natural products when, she says, she realized many baby products in the market were harmful to babies.
Little Twig claims to provide families with a safe and natural bath time alternative, and uses organic and botanical ingredients for pure and gentle personal care.
Sara Sutton Fell created FlexJobs.com in 2007 after she became pregnant with her first son. Fell realized that, as a mother, she wanted more flexible hours in order to spend more time with her son. She began to search for a job, but was unable to find anything that was legitimate and offered flexibility. With her 10-year experience in the Internet field, she created FlexJobs as a solution for both herself and other work-from-home parents.
Latham Thomas founded Tender Shoots Wellness in 2006. She is the mother of a 6-year-old and embraces nature and promotes sustainability and green living. Tender Shoots is described as "a boutique holistic wellness practice geared to enrich the lives of women during their childbearing years by empowering them through nutrition."
Tender Shoots Wellness offers many services for women before, during and after pregnancy.
Candace Alper, a Canadian mother, created Name Your Tune -- customizable sing-along kids albums containing your child's name -- in August 2003. Alper was inspired by her daughter's face. When Alper sang to her -- using personalized lyrics -- her daughter looked delighted. Alper collaborated with a few musician friends and recorded 10 children's songs to sell at holiday fairs.
Since the launching of the customizable children's albums, Name Your Tune has sold more than 50,000 albums and boasts a wide roster of celebrity clients, including Patrick Dempsey, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, Soledad O'Brien, Adam Sandler, Debra Messing, Denise Richards and Tori Spelling.
Seattle mother Kari Erickson-Valenzuela was inspired to create Mama K's Aromatic Play Clay when she started making toy clay for her first child in 2007. She added essential oils to make the play dough smell better. Erickson-Valenzuela started off with a shop on Etsy.com but, as of 2010, her clay is now distributed in the U.S., United Kingdom and Japan.
Jessica Jacobs, a Canadian mother, established Little Soles Inc., an eco-friendly shoe company, in 2005.
The company says it makes five toxin-free footwear collections made of the highest quality materials and recommended by pediatricians and pediatric orthopedists. The New ECO Collection is made entirely from recycled materials.
Stacey Kannenberg, a mother from Wisconsin, started Cedar Valley Publishing, a publishing house that produces books to help kids get ready for kindergarten and first grade. Her neighbor started mentioning "high-frequency words" children were required to know for kindergarten and then suggested Kannenberg write a book to help kids get ready for school and submit it to Oprah's Big Dream Contest (she already wanted to enter).
Her first book, entitled "Let's Get Ready for Kindergarten," was released in 2004. Cedar Valley's list of books now includes "Let's Get Ready for First Grade," and the Spanish/English version of "Let's Get Ready for Kindergarten." The books are currently available in 400 school districts nationwide.
Kannenberg also has her own upcoming mompreneur website called HerInsight.
Lynette Mattke, a mother from Maryland, created PicPocket Books. The company produces picture book applications for the iPhone, iTouch, and iPad. Although Mattke knew nothing about creating an iPod app or selling children's books, she was well aware that there were no kid-friendly apps with pictures.
Mattke's husband and another programmer built PicPocket's platform, while Mattke went to publishers suggesting the idea to convert their stories into the form of apps for a cut of the profits. Currently, PicPocket has 45 iPhone and 20 iPad titles, with monthly revenues in the $2,000 to $6,000 range.
Rosie Herman, a Texas-based mother, founded the company One Minute Manicure in 1998. It began with a homemade concoction she created named "Mommy's Magic," a solution to get rid of excessive dry skin she gained while performing motherly duties. The former manicurist/salon owner created a formula. It was a huge hit.
What started as selling products to make a little extra money soon became an international business.
Within the first year of launching One Minute Manicure, the company made nearly $10 million.
Cinnamon Bowser, a Washington, D.C. mother, started a mobile nail salon boutique called Nail Taxi. In 2003, Bowser and one of her friends who was nine months pregnant, wanted to get their nails done, but none of them was able to go to a salon. At that time, there were no at-home salon services being offered. The only solution was to make her own mobile salon service.
After two years of research, taking a 12-week night class to learn the basics of management and entrepreneurship and working full-time, this busy mother eventually opened Nail Taxi in 2005. Today, Nail Taxi has expanded to six cities and provides services for New York Fashion Week.