When we think of May, we think of Mother’s Day. And because one of our co-founders, Laura Harrison, is a mom AND an entrepreneur, we want to celebrate all the MomPreneurs out there who are working hard and changing the lives of their children and ours, every.single.day.
Which is why each Monday in the month of May, we will be featuring two - three MomPreneurs who share a story similar to Jonas Paul Eyewear, where they saw an opportunity to better the lives of their children and created a solution.
Be on the lookout each Monday in May (that’s FIVE Mondays!) to learn more about some of our favorite MomPreneurs AND each week you will have an opportunity to win products from these amazing companies!
Meet the MomPreneurs:
Kate Solomon :: Babo Botanicals
After serving in the U.S. Peace Corps in South America, accomplished L'Oreal and Avon product developer, Kate Solomon, launched Babo Botanicals. Being a mom, Kate had only one thing in mind for her new brand: she wanted to create safe, smart, all-natural hair, skin and sun solutions for the entire family. Kate is a leading voice in advocating mineral sunscreen protection. This year, Babo launched a New High Performance Non-Nano Zinc Sunscreen Collection including – Sheer 100% Zinc SPF 30 Spray, Super Shield SPF 50 Sport Stick and Nutri-Soothe Lip SPF 15 Treatment.
Annalisa Thomas :: Oilo
“What Am I doing? Oh yeah! Following my dreams. OK. Calm down.”
Oilo was founded six years ago after Annalisa had just given birth to her firstborn.
When thinking about the next steps in her career path, she knew she wanted a flexible schedule that would allow for her to spend most of the time with her children at home, but also would allow her to stretch her creativity.
With a background in design and an entrepreneurial spirit, Annalisa set out to create a product that focused on textile design specifically for babies and kids, which resulted in creating Oilo - a line of designer inspired nursery and home decor without the designer price tag.
Creating Oilo has given Annalisa and her husband a way to provide for their family as well as allow flexible schedules so they can focus on their children as they are still young and need a lot of attention. Annalisa currently has three children and is expecting their fourth child.
Laura Harrison :: Jonas Paul Eyewear
"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." - Helen Keller
After Laura had given birth to her firstborn, Jonas, the doctors told her shortly afterwards that her son may be blind. Since this moment, Jonas has undergone 21 surgeries before his 3rd birthday with hope that it would provide him the most potential for sight.
Though Laura had to release the dreams of what could have been and focus on what will be, she realized a reality that is actually more beautiful.
Knowing that Jonas would need a pair of glasses, Laura and her husband, Ben, set out to find the perfect pair, only quickly noticing the limited options available. Both parents were determined that if their son was going to wear glasses at a young age, they were going to be fashion statement and he was going to feel like a stud muffin wearing them, which is when Jonas Paul Eyewear was created.
Three years later, Jonas Paul Eyewear continues to grow and inspire young children who wear glasses to feel confident and beautiful each and everyday.
Lisa Greenwald :: Chewbeads
“Know what your core competency is and outsource the skill sets that help bring your ideas to life. It's not easy to take a product from idea to market, so you have to keep working on it everyday, even if it's just a few minutes. The time will add up and you will get there.”
Officially launched in 2010, Chewbeads was founded by Lisa and Eric Greenwald. Lisa, a fashion industry insider, and new mom was amazed at how her baby, and countless others tugged at her necklaces and other jewelry. She set out to create a chic line of jewelry that was safe for babies to tug, touch, and chew.
After researching what would be the best material to use, she settled on silicone, a reliable material that is free of unwanted chemicals like BPA, phthalates, cadmium, or lead. As a Vice President at J.Crew, she knew the line had to be fashionable so moms would want to wear them, as much as the babies would want to chew on them. Hence Chewbeads™, “mommy chic, baby safe.” The color combinations, bead selection and pattern are designed with fashionable moms in mind.
After a couple years of selling Chewbeads, moms across America proclaimed that the “big sisters” loved wearing their Chewbeads as much as they did. With no children’s jewelry on the market that was fashionable, fun, and free of unwanted chemicals, she decided to launch Juniorbeads™.
Being a mother of two, Chewbeads continues to flourish each day making baby safe products for all the moms out there.
Bobbie Rhoads :: FUNBITES
"I believe in “The Secret” – Focus and believe that anything is possible and all your dreams can come true."
FUNBITES, founded five years ago, is a super sturdy and durable blade cutter that cuts any kids’ food into bite-sized fun shapes. Bobbie Rhoads, founder of FUNBITES, was inspired to create this company after her youngest daughter, Dylan, was a picky eater. She liked eating the same food all time and never tried new things, unless it was junk food. At meals, they would spend so much time cutting Dylan’s food into small bites, when finally an idea popped into Bobbie and her husband’s mind, “Wouldn’t it be easier if there was something that we could just press down on their food and bippity boppity boo… food would be made into bite-sized pieces?”
Thoughts were swarming: Maybe our kids would try new foods. Maybe our kids would eat better and mealtime could be less stressful and more fun. Was this possible?
Enter, FUNBITES! They make food so much fun that even the pickiest eaters can’t resist! FUNBITES works on kid-friendly food from pancakes, sandwiches, fruit, veggies, brownies and more! Their oldest daughter, Jackie, loves FUNBITES because the food is cut neatly and evenly. Dylan suddenly eats her food, real food, not junk food.
Bobbie hopes FUNBITES makes your mealtime less stressful, gets your kids to try new things and eat healthier.
Sherri French :: spbang
“There's no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.”
Sherri French worked in the automotive industry for 17 years and had the opportunity to live between Asia and Europe several times. While living in China in 2013, she was packing lunches for her daughters daily. Tired of throwing out plastic bags nightly, she moved onto fabric reusable snack bags that had the cutest patterns but were a nightmare to clean. She knew she could make something better!
Using automotive processes and systems over an eight month period of trial and error and testing, together with a friend who was an automotive plastics expert, they were able to create a bag that worked! While production originally started in China, they have now moved production to a factory in Michigan for a Made In USA product!
The unique, durable and environmentally friendly snack bags are crafted with food safe material that contains no lead, no BPA and no phthalates. The best part is you can toss them on the bottom rack of your dishwasher daily and they come out sparkling clean. Whether they are in your kids' lunchboxes, storing crayons, on a plane or at the pool/beach, they are perfect for families on the go.
Sherri and her family of two children currently reside in White Lake, MI.
Leslie Mingo :: Dylbug
Leslie Mingo is the founder of Dylbug, a brand specializing in personalized mealtime products for little ones. Combining her love of cooking with her children and her graphic design talents, she has created “Little Me – Dress Up.” With this product, her goal is to make healthy food fun for kids to eat. “Little Me – Dress Up” is a personalized plate designed to look like your child. It comes ready to dress up with a clothing cutter, making their food fashionable.
The plates with a miniature child and matching clothing cutter have been a huge success in getting her little ones excited about eating healthy. Coming home from school for an afternoon snack, Leslie’s children cannot be grumpy when they are greeted by a strawberry tutu or carrot pants on a miniature version of themselves. Leslie loves to hear these words, “Mom, I need more raspberries for my shoes.” As a mother it has been very rewarding to create new food fashion for her little ones as she knows it makes them happy and healthy. "Little Me – Dress Up" is used and loved in her home and she has seen the joy it brings to other moms around the globe.
Angie Ting :: Apple Park
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined!" - Henry David Thoreau
Apple Park’s founder, Angie Ting, set out to create a line of organic and eco-friendly products with her two young children and eco-conscious moms in mind. The story began after the birth of her first daughter and the lack of organic baby toys. Angie was worried about the overall health of her children and the state of the environment. This inspired Angie to create toys that used only high quality organic fabrics and fillers. The idea for Apple Park was the merging of an organic toy with the detail and experience of a luxury brand.
In five short years, Apple Park has grown to include everyday items like backpacks and lunch packs, a new sister brand, Organic Farm Buddies, and a brand new layette collection that utilizes the highest quality luxury fabrics with modern prints and palettes. Every buying decision makes an impact, and she intends to keep making products that are safe for babies and better for the world.
Ashley Rhorer :: Bright Eyed Baby Shop
"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right."
After working in Television Production for over a decade, Ashley Rhorer, knew when she had her first child, it was time for a career change. She always loved to travel, and checking off states ever since she was a little girl. On her son’s first trip to New York, she realized how few items were in the travel themed, educational souvenir space, and at that moment she made it her mission to create this product. It’s been a labor of love for her and she has enjoyed the process and learned so (literally every step) much along the way.
Stacey Feeley :: Silikids
"As hard as it may get, and in the darkest of moments, remind yourself why you started in the first place."
Silikids started once Stacey Feeley started having children and was horrified to learn that the plastic baby bottles and utensils she was using had BPA in them that was seeping into her daughter’s food and liquids. (This was 10 years ago!) In 2012, the FDA finally decided to ban BPA in baby bottles and in children’s cups, but much to her dismay, it’s still in so many other kitchen plastics and canned foods used today.
So, with this looming over her head, she refused to use plastics, which meant mealtimes were going to be somewhat difficult and the thought of her toddler whirling a glass dish across the room like a frisbee, did not sit well. Enter Silikids! With her friend and Silikids co-founder, Giuliana Schwab, the duo decided to come up with a way to offer an alternative to plastics in the kitchen and at the time the focus was solely on kids feeding wares. Giuliana was a genius as she suggested they look at silicone as their key material. Silicone products were starting to take over the cooking industry, mainly because of Silicone's unique attributes.
In 2007, they launched Silikids and said “Bye, bye plastics!” The goal is to bring an alternative to plastics in the kitchen for everyone! With 3 daughters, an amazing husband Jim who puts up with her antics and still loves her - Stacey is making a difference everyday as a MomPreneur!
Jessica Lineberry :: NumNum
"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail."
Jessica was on the track to becoming an occupational therapist when the entrepreneurial bug bit her. She believes it was her upbringing that gave her the courage and tenacity to pursue the opportunity. Raised by a single mother for most of her childhood, Jessica watched her mom do whatever it took to provide for her and her two siblings, even when that meant working two jobs. Today, Jessica has two children, 5 year-old Conor and 3 month-old Everly. She wants them to see the same love and commitment that she saw in her mother and is working hard to make sure they do.
The idea for NumNum came when Jessica and her husband, Doug, were watching Shark Tank one night. They had the realization that they had a common parenting problem staring them in the face. The couples’ one-year-old son, Conor, had been struggling to learn the spoon for weeks. They wondered if, like all these other moms and dads featured on the show, they, too, could create a solution. After hours of conversation, the two were convinced that the problem was that Conor didn’t have the skills yet to balance the food on the spoon. So the solution would have to be a utensil without a bowl. They sketched a utensil that was totally flat and, as such, wouldn’t require scooping or balancing. After creating a prototype, they tested this new device by having Conor use it and they couldn’t believe the results. It worked! Conor was devouring his meal without the frustration of the food landing on his lap. The NumNum GOOtensil was born!
Angela Edgeworth :: pediped
“When in doubt, just take the next small step.”
pediped was started after Angela and her husband, Brian could not find shoes for their oldest daughter, Caroline. They wanted a soft-sole shoe but the only shoes available were hard-soled or socks. They developed a few prototypes and took them to their local children's store and started the journey of making shoes from there. Since the company's founding in 2004, pediped has become one of the largest and fastest growing children's footwear brands. Brian and Angela have two daughters, ages 12 and 11, who were their guinea pigs and fit testers for years! “Being a MomPreneur is not easy but it's definitely rewarding,” says Angela.
Caroline Freedman & Lauren de la Rose :: NurturMe
NurturMe is the first and only family of all-natural baby food and toddler snacks made exclusively from certified-organic, 100% pure quinoa and dried fruit and veggies. Created to nourish healthy growth in little ones, NurturMe makes it easy for busy, modern parents to ensure their children are getting the nutrition they need to live a yummy life.
And this company was founded by TWO MomPreneurs!
Caroline is the CEO of Freed Foods, LLC., a company that she founded after recognizing a need for a more versatile, nutrient-rich and eco-friendly alternative to the traditional baby foods on the market. While pregnant with her first child, Freedman started researching the how, what and when for feeding babies and realized that little innovation had taken place in the baby food industry since she was a little girl.
Lauren, COO and co-founder of NurturMe, joined the baby food revolution after being enlisted by her Caroline, to fill a gap in the baby food industry. A former culinary director for the Texas State School for the Deaf, Lauren agreed to bring her culinary background and expertise to join Caroline’s “mompreneurial journey,” and the rest is baby food history.
Caroline has three daughters and Lauren has one daughter with another on the way, very soon!