Entrepreneurs are a special breed who are not only able to clearly envision an outcome, they actively do the daily work necessary to achieve that vision. Mothers are people who instinctively rise and do the necessary work of parenting every day, while wielding a special brand of power that only someone who grew up with a mom will appreciate. Then there’s the rare group of particularly gifted women—who are both mom and entrepreneur. The mompreneurs. Maybe you’re one of them? Here are some of our favourites.
Hillary Peterson, founder of True Botanicals and mother of 3
- What she did: In 2014, she founded a line of clean, Made Safe® certified organic skincare products based in California; received a minority stake by Unilever in 2017; and, scored actor Olivia Wilde as celebrity product ambassador.
- What makes her unique: After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 33, she took a closer look at the endocrine disrupting chemicals in her skincare products and thought: “Okay. Opportunity for innovation.”
- Her inspiration: “We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us,” Joseph Campbell.
- How to balance: Peterson told The Hive, “I look at my responsibilities at home and figure out what I can outsource. I learned that from my mom—to this day, I hear her asking me “’what will make this easier on you?’”
Janet Bannister, founder of Kijiji.ca, partner at Real Ventures and mother of 1
- What she did: After an early career in Silicon Valley, she returned to Canada to work for eBay, where she pioneered online classifieds and founded Kijiji.ca.
- What makes her unique: At 15, she started her first business – selling muffins to stores— as a way to save for university. To get into the tech industry, she relentlessly cold-called and emailed prospects until finally landing a meeting with the CEO of eBay – and subsequently, a job.
- Her inspiration: In an interview with StartUp Toronto, she talked about the importance of learning from failures, quoting Thomas Edison: “I have not failed 10,000 times; I have successfully found 10,000 ways that it will not work.”
- How to balance: At the 2018 Ivey Leaders’ Forum, Bannister revealed that soon after her successful launch of Kijiji, she left eBay to spend time with her family. She advised that the biggest decisions are made with one’s heart, not one’s head.
Susan Niczowski, founder of Summer Fresh Salads and mother of 1
- What she did: While working as a microbiologist at a food manufacturing plant in the early 1990s, Niczowski recognized a growing demand for healthy, fresh and ready-to-serve foods. She launched the “Summer Fresh” brand of salads, dips and prepared foods, now found at groceries and delis across North America.
- What makes her unique: Niczowski started her business with 20 recipes created in her parents’ kitchen and a $100,000 bank loan that was co-signed by her mother after her father turned her down.
- Her inspiration: Niczowski told Best Health Mag, “My dad sat me down when I started and told me ‘Remember, you’re only as good as the people you’re surrounded by.’ That has definitely stuck with me. You need talent on your team because you can’t be everything to everybody.”
- How to balance: “I have a great support team and am not afraid to ask for help when I need it…a happy mom has a happy family, and a happy business leader has a happy organization!”