It's a whole new world out there in baby land.

I wandered into a friend's nursery the other day expecting a basic crib and some cute stuffed toys. Forget about it. The room was filled with sleek new contraptions, inspired designs and all kinds of clever things to distract, comfort and soothe her little one.

My friend showed me how the Diaper Genie creates a sealed chain of used nappies. There was a rocker with programmable nature noises, a sleek spinning mobile, state-of-the-art furnishings and a range of eco-friendly materials. Parked in the garage were the strollers—not one, but three different baby vehicles, including one for off-road trips.

It was amazing to see the problem solving, innovation and Zen-like simplicity of these products. What's most exciting is that many of the toys and tools for this new generation were designed by an emerging group of business mavens—mompreneurs.

What does mompreneurialism look like? Here's just one great example from a raft of inspiring stories.

In 1994, Sandra Wilson lost her airline job due to industry downsizing. With more time on her hands, she created a pair of bright, soft-soled leather shoes for her 18-month-old son, Robert. The shoes helped him to "feel" the floor, while simultaneously protecting his feet and boosting his emerging sense of balance. She named the shoes "Robeez" ( and took 20 pairs to the Vancouver Gift Show trade exhibition. The response was overwhelming. Sandra signed up 15 retailers to sell her products, transformed her basement into corporate headquarters and never looked back.

Today, sales consistently top $15 million Canadian, and Sandra's company has nearly 400 employees. Her colorful, comfy leather shoes sell in over 4,500 stores across North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Sandra has also established the Robeez Heart & Sole program, which donates children's footwear to nonprofit societies and charities worldwide.

Mompreneurs are more than just a great tale of free enterprise. They're a market phenomenon that has emerged for several key reasons:

We're all thinking like marketers

The days have passed when we'd identify a gap in the market, a perfect product idea or a service upgrade and wait for the experts to take action. Now, more often than not, we see the opportunity and dive in headfirst.

According to authors Patricia Cobe and Ellen Parlapiano, who trademarked the term "mompreneurs" and were recently featured in Time magazine, their mompreneurs online web site ( draws seven million visitors each month. Starting businesses and embarking on new careers has become a national adventure.

The virtual world has knocked down barriers

Technology has all but obliterated the need for traditional hours—or a conventional workplace. No one bats an eye if you're catching up on email after a midnight feeding or scheduling client calls while the toddler is napping. It's not just OK; it's inspiring.

Moms are sharp, savvy and connected

Many of the new mompreneurs come from high-level corporate backgrounds and nurture their professional networks even after they leave the office. When it's time to secure funding for a home-based venture or a career shift, they already have a valuable pool of connections and potential investors.

Moms who have never worked outside the home are often equally well-connected. They've been busy running complex fundraisers, organizing educational playgroups and honing the skills that make them ideal entrepreneurs and business owners.

Moms notice what's missing

From ugly diaper bags to rickety high chairs, moms are spotting the problems and moving in to fix them. Where there's a hole in the market, there's lucrative opportunity.

Here's how to be more compelling and relevant in reaching mompreneurs:

  1. SUPPORT: Create ways to support this emerging entrepreneurial group. Provide convenient next steps and remove the barriers to entry. From financial to insurance to Web services, almost every industry can tap into the mompreneur market by making their lives—and their businesses—run more smoothly.

  2. STORYLINES: Mompreneurs provide a great storyline to reflect in your advertising and brand messaging. Millions of people dream of starting a business or turning their hobbies into cash. By showing successful entrepreneurs who are thriving both at home and in business, you can tap into a powerful desire.

  3. CONNECT: Find ways to connect like-minded women. Being a mompreneur can be isolating, so business owners are eager for information, resources and connections, such as banks that provide both small-business mentoring and peer matchmaking.

  4. FLEX: Understand that mompreneurs have demanding schedules and deliver your products and services with greater flexibility. You might develop e-courses that come with live phone coaching, for example, which is more convenient than scheduling babysitting to attend a traditional seminar.

  5. FORWARD: Viral marketing is huge among mompreneurs. Easy-to-forward articles and html emails are a given. But low-tech solutions can be equally effective. Clorox's new mops include several postcard-style coupons that let happy customers share the handy product with their friends.

A final word: Don't underestimate the title of "mom." The 2-D images of June Cleaver, Desperate Housewives or the stereotypical soccer mom just don't cut it anymore. A mother could be a woman in a second marriage with adult stepchildren, a young urban professional who's juggling business and babies, or a mid-30s woman who's staying at home to raise her adopted family.

Regardless of appearances, moms are both a consumer and a business force to be respected and understood.

Subscribe's free!

MarketingProfs provides thousands of marketing resources, entirely free!

Simply subscribe to our newsletter and get instant access to how-to articles, guides, webinars and more for nada, nothing, zip, zilch, on the house...delivered right to your inbox! MarketingProfs is the largest marketing community in the world, and we are here to help you be a better marketer.

Already a member? Sign in now.

Sign in with your preferred account, below.

Did you like this article?
Know someone who would enjoy it too? Share with your friends, free of charge, no sign up required! Simply share this link, and they will get instant access…
  • Copy Link

  • Email

  • Twitter

  • Facebook

  • Pinterest

  • Linkedin


image of Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson ( is the CEO of ReachWomen ( She is also a coauthor of Don't Think Pink: What Really Makes Women Buy—And How to Increase Your Share of this Crucial Market (AMACOM, 2004).