Mompreneurs were unheard of just 8 years ago when Tamara Monosoff came up with an invention that she was sure mothers like herself would appreciate.

She created a device that prevents children from unspooling toilet paper from the roll. But she had no idea how to transform the concept into a marketable product.


Jim Wilson/The New York Times: Tamara Monosoff is founder of Mom Invented, which sells products online and gives advice to mothers who are inventors.

When she turned to the Internet, “There was nothing — no road maps, no anything,” recalls Ms. Monosoff, who lives near San Francisco and was education director for the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships for President Bill Clinton.

Fast-forward to today, and the term “mom inventors” or “mompreneurs” yield about 290,000 results on Google.

There is Ms. Monosoff’s own Web site, Mom Invented, which supports aspiring “mompreneurs” and licenses and sells products under the Mom Invented brand, a Good Housekeeping-like seal of approval.

Other sites include the Mogul Mom, where mothers can satisfy their inner Edison by reading posts like “How Do I Get My Product in Stores?” and “Don’t Get Burned By Your Light Bulb Moment.”

Not to mention the dozens and dozens of mompreneurs online stores, like the Busy Mom Boutique, that sell mom-made products.

What’s behind the growth in mompreneurs creations? One factor is the rise of the Internet and social media, which allow child-raising women to exchange ideas without having to leave the house.

Ms. Monosoff has nearly 6,000 followers on Twitter, and her Web site has a community of about 20,000 mothers and mompreneurs, who exchange tips and offer support.

“Someone will say they’re having a problem and they can’t find a seamstress, and someone else will say, ‘I have someone who helped me,’ ” she says. “It’s instantaneous, whereas for me, I was looking in the Yellow Pages.”

mompreneursInventing for mompreneurs is also a means of channeling energy for ambitious career women who suddenly find themselves changing diapers and searching for lost sippy cups.

“They’re engaged, they’re smart, smart women,” says Ms. Monosoff, who has two daughters, ages 8 and 10. “Whether they have a business background or not, they have their whole life experience to bring to the table.

That’s what I love. They’re not constrained by business jargon or business concepts. They’re like, ‘I’m making this thing; how do I sell it?’ ”

Running Mom Invented, and writing books on inventing, is a full-time job that Ms. Monosoff fits in while her girls are at school and in bed.

Her husband, Brad Kofoed, has been a supportive player in her business endeavors, she said, giving up his job as a software executive to help build the company. 

Linsay Chavez of Tucson, Ariz., quit her job as a marketing coordinator for a manufacturing company and joined the forces of mompreneurs by starting the Busy Mom Boutique this year.

“A lot of moms need to support their families,” she says, “and while maybe they don’t have it in them to go get a full-time job, seeing as they have their kids at home, they actually get the momentum to turn ideas into reality.”

She adds: “In many households, moms are the chief buyers. And in the new millennium, if they can’t find what they need, they just invent it themselves.”

CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE from the NY Times by By NICOLE LAPORTE for more information on mompreneurs.