Getting To Know Mamapreneurs

North State Parent’s second annual Getting To Know Mamapreneurs feature is meant to enlighten you about some terrifically impressive mamas in the Upper California region, by sharing a little about why they do what they do.

“Networking and multitasking are not new to mothers, as they are often the ones who jump into high gear to get things done,” says North State Parent magazine publisher Pamela Newman. “I can’t tell you how many times I was stirring a pot of soup and holding one of my babies while selling eggs to a neighbor, or made business calls at soccer tournaments,” she adds.

Meet 10 local women who offer you their personal inspiration about business, family and networking to make it all happen.

What is a “mamapreneur”? You won’t find it in the dictionary just yet, but it is the latest buzzword that you can’t escape. A “mamapreneur” can be defined as: An entrepreneur who also happens to be a mother or a mother who happens to be an entrepreneur.

Mamapreneurs can be entrepreneurs running large successful companies across town, or they can be operating businesses at home on a dining room table. It doesn’t matter where they conduct business; they are moms and they are entrepreneurs – it’s as simple as that.

I am thrilled to see that there are finally some barriers being broken down. For years there has been some sort of stigma attached to the “working mom” or “the stay-at-home mom,” and I’ve been on both sides of the fence, never feeling comfortable being classified as simply one or the other. I was a mom and I enjoyed running my own business. I didn’t want anyone to make me think less of myself for wanting both.

Being a mom is one of the hardest “jobs” there is, and so is being a small business owner. No matter what you do, there are still only 24 hours in a day, and every day is a complete balancing act juggling work priorities, making meals, going to soccer practice and helping with homework.

According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, there are over 10 million women-owned businesses in the United States. A 2010 Wall Street Journal article states, “The phenomenal growth of women-owned businesses has made headlines for three decades  – women consistently have been launching new enterprises at twice the rate of men, and their growth rates of employment and revenue have outpaced the economy.”

Are you surprised? I’m not. Just think about it. Most moms are superwomen. I haven’t met one mom that isn’t a multitasking machine. I mean, we know where most everything in the house is, what size clothes everyone wears, and when birthdays are, can talk on the phone, start cooking dinner, sweep the floor, feed the fish, throw in a load of laundry, and even pick up a piece of paper between our toes while standing without losing our balance – all in the same half-hour!

Many huge businesses today were started by mamapreneurs: Mary Kay, Thirty-one, Baby Einstein, Stroller Strides, Boppy Pillow… the list goes on. All of these businesses, like the local businesses featured here, were started by a mom who began with a simple idea.

Sarah Blakley – Hype Dance Studio

“My biggest inspiration to start HYPE Dance Studio was my mom, Diane Schneeweis. I always admired how she helped me connect the lessons in dance with life. Although she’s not here anymore, every day I can look at her picture on my desk and know exactly what my purpose is.”

“I’m a mom to three amazing boys and life is busy! But I’m really blessed that my hours are flexible and I have the most supportive husband in the world, who also helps me run the business.”

“We’re excited for the future of the studio, with more classes, shows and opportunities for kids. I stay positive, keep a good balance between work and family, and try to enjoy this opportunity God has given me. It’s pretty amazing.”

1033 Mangrove Ave., Chico
Call (530)  898-8789
In Business Since: 2003

Jennifer, Joe & Jack Myhrvold – Red Fox Boutique and Gifts

“Don’t be shocked if you come into the boutique and catch me and my son in a game of tag or an ear-numbing rendition of the ABCs. ìIt will be sure to make you smile.”

“That’s the best advice I’ve ever received – smile.”

“I’m a pretty practical person, and as boring as it may sound, the decision to open our boutique was based on a list of needs – my son being at the top of that list. I’ve had an incredible opportunity to be with him the past two years and didn’t want to give that up. At the same time, I missed working and interacting with our great community.”

2649 Park Marina Dr., Redding
Call (530) 241-2184
In Business Since: 2011

Karrie Ann Snure – Living Shasta Photography

“I enjoy and love being a mom and a photographer! They both ebb and flow together beautifully. And my husband is an amazing man. He supports our family and my business with his time, skill and love. My family is always helping me scout out new photographic locations. We love to explore and hike together, and they are great models for testing light and ideas in preparation for clients. My daughter has become quite the assistant and my husband is the savvy ‘tech’ guy behind the scenes.”

“The best advice I can give is this: Everything you need and want is already available and waiting. Start with your desire, feed it with intention, and bring it home with faith and acceptance – on any level, personal or professional.”

5506 Truck Village Dr., Mt. Shasta
Call (530) 859-2292
In Business Since: 2005

Tammy Hiller – Party Town

“I was inspired to open Party Town when my son’s birthday was three weeks away and I couldn’t find his party’s theme in Chico. Not wanting to spend overnight shipping costs, I came to the conclusion Chico needed a full-supply party store with tons of themes to choose from.”

“My advice to someone who has a business idea with a need is: Take the leap! Otherwise you’ll always wonder ‘what if.’ If the idea fails, at least you know you tried.”

“Being a business owner and mother of three isn’t the easiest, but it’s manageable. I have great support from my husband and an awesome staff to handle the store’s needs when I am not there. I would say communication is the biggest key!”

1937 E. 20th St., B6, Chico
Call (530) 345-TOWN (8696)
In Business Since: 2008

Stephanie Miller – Galaxy Gymnastics Academy

“My desire to help kids get fit and have fun at the same time inspired me to start my business. I’ve always loved gymnastics, so I decided to use it to achieve my dream.”

“I started as my daughter’s coach. When she got older, she became one of my best coaches. The business has brought us closer together. We’ve been side by side for over 10 years. It’s been fantastic!”

“When I see the excitement and joy in a child’s face after they complete a skill, any discouragement I may be feeling melts away. It makes me forget about whatever might have been bothering me that day.”

910 Wall St., Redding
Call (530) 222-4496
In Business Since: 2000

Patricia Clarke – Geraldine Enterprises

“Being a grandparent is a big part of my life, and I take time to be with my grandson Ryan. His energy, his humor and watching him develop is a blessing.”

“Being a bookkeeper deals with other peoples’ finances and private lives. Being trusted with such personal information requires honesty and integrity.”

“Everyone has days that they wish would soon be over. I try to take a walk or a relaxing bath and then go back to the problem…quite often it seems a lot less troublesome.”

2601 N. Old Stage Rd., # 61
Call (530) 926-4133
In Business Since: 2001

Kimberly Lange, D.D.S. – Youthful Smiles

“The best advice I can give someone is to start each day with a plan.  With my busy schedule I have found it simplifies things to have each day planned out in advance.  I wake up every morning knowing what needs to be accomplished that day. It’s hard to juggle running a business and being a parent.  My husband’s parents have helped make this manageable.  By utilizing extended family and a planned day, things run relatively smooth.”

“What gets me through times of discouragement?  Especially in this day and age when we are surrounded by negativity with the bad economy, etc.,  I find that having a positive outlook helps. It is always good to maintain an optimistic outlook for the future.”

650 Rio Lindo Ave., Ste. 4, Chico
Call (530) 343-3137
In Business Since: 2000

Aly Evirs – Boheme Salon & Spa

“I opened Boheme for two very important reasons: my desire to leave a corporate position to be home more with my growing family, and to share my love and passion for the beauty industry and community.”

“It’s my dream to continue to introduce to people how important it is to take care of themselves inside and out. Beauty is not just surface deep – beauty radiates from within and needs to be nurtured regularly.”

“As a busy mother, I feel it is important to share this philosophy with other busy mothers. We donate to local charities, especially charities related to women’s issues, such as breast cancer awareness and domestic violence prevention. Being an Aveda Salon, supporting global environmental issues is also a major focus for us.”

961 Dana Dr., Ste. 130, Redding
Call (530) 223-1300
In Business Since: 2009

Lisa Tosi – Lisa Tosi Photography

“Dream big! Imagine yourself succeeding and embrace every possibility.”

“I love what I do! To be able to capture a time, a story, or moment in a subject’s life and have it stand still, is inspiring to me. To know that even years after the image was created, it has the ability to take the subject back to that very moment or time in their life, allowing them to re-visit that moment again and again – I love that!”

“Thank you to my family for hanging in there with the late-night editing sessions and to my growing client base for your business. I couldn’t continue to be a Mamapreneur without you.”

426 Broadway Ste. 205, Chico
Call (530) 895-9806
In Business Since: 1998

Hayley Horn – Kinetics Academy of Dance

“Do what you love and are passionate about, and success will follow”

“I’ve always loved teaching dance. As soon as I started ballet lessons at age 6, I began teaching the neighborhood kids in my garage! After 16 years teaching for others, I decided to teach for myself. Teaching enabled me to be a “stay at home” mom as I worked my schedule around my children. As Kinetics grew I was able to provide the same opportunity for other moms who joined the staff. We all know family comes first. Supporting my staff’s devotion to their home life frees them up to give their creative best to the studio.”

“Dance is the vehicle to share and teach so much more than dance technique – it fosters confidence, love, encouragement, self-respect and joy.”

627 Broadway St., Ste. 100, Chico
Call (530) 345-2505
In Business Since: 2001

Kara Ferraro
About Kara Ferraro

Kara Ferraro is a publisher, freelance writer and longtime Mamapreneur with two elementary aged children. She is constantly trying to come up with clever ways to juggle her business while not sacrificing time with her family.

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