As we begin to find our footing as moms, we develop some unexpected skills. Maybe we bake the most delicious brownies, throw incredibly elaborate birthday parties or sew beautiful dresses. But how do we make a "venture" out of our new creative talents?
Kim Genzburg of New Canaan became inspired by her sports-loving kids who left a barrage of equipment and cleats in their wake.
"Stuff is everywhere," she says, laughing, explaining the "ah-hah" moment when she designed a unique rack to contain balls, bats and racquets. But she wasn't sure how to proceed. She turned to Venture Mom, a new platform for women in transition, which aims to offer direction, inspiration and resources.
"My mission is supporting other moms in finding their passion, finding their fulfillment," says founder Holly Hurd of Darien, an entrepreneurial spirit and mother of three who decided to write a motivational book about five years ago. "I looked around and the women who were fulfilled were women who were starting their own businesses. So I started interviewing them."
She began compiling fascinating profiles around the time that blogging started to take off.
"I said, 'Why am I going to wait to publish a book? Let's start sharing these stories of these fabulous moms'." Thus, VentureMom.com was born and now also features links, networking possibilities and an Etsy-like shop where moms sell their one-of-a-kind designs, such as necklaces and ginger snaps, from their own virtual storefront.
"It started just locally but now I have moms all over the country and Canada, too," says Hurd.
This former trader gave up her nanny and her rigorous work schedule when she realized she was missing her children's day-to-day routine: "I wanted to be able to pick up my kids. I wanted to be able to see them in the school play."
Now Hurd helps other moms, who left their careers and want to reinvent themselves. "The moms who I talk to want flexibility. So, they want to work on the thing that brings them fulfillment from 9 to 3 when the kids are at school." If you need a commercial kitchen or a web designer to bring an idea to life, Hurd says Venture Mom can help make connections: "It really makes me feel good. I feel like this is a universal need with moms."
Genzburg took the plunge, found a manufacturer and started producing Stick Storage, a slim, lightweight organizer made in bright colors that can coordinate with uniforms or decor.
"It can fit behind a door. It is just four pieces that snap together," she says. "No mom has time to run down to the basement to find a screw driver." It's not profitable quite yet, she says, but she is headed in the right direction and has new thoughts for companion pieces.
Genzburg has some advice for overwhelmed would-be inventors: seek camaraderie and be tough. "Nobody knows everything from the beginning, so you just have to persevere. You just have to keep trying."