Chicago Event Overview

Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Event Host

Kelli Stapleton, Mother/Best-Selling Author/Producer/Radio Host of Birth Stories on Demand

Educational Sessions:

11:00am – 12:00pm:: “Creating Peace of Mind in your Nursery” sponsored by Angelcare® and facilitated by The Safety Squad

1:00pm – 2:00pm:: “Holistic Maternal Health and Nutrition” sponsored by Universal Health Institute and facilitated by Dr. Amelia Case

2:00pm – 3:00pm:: Chat with the Author Series featuring Hogan Hilling, author of several fatherhood books.  Upcoming book releases are Rattled: What He’s Thinking When You’re Pregnant and Pacifi(her): What She’s Thinking When She’s Pregnant, Turner Publishing. The release date of both books is August, 2011.

Entertainment for Mothers:

10:00am – 4pm:: , An Aveda Lifestyle SalonSpa sponsor of the Mom’s Lounge.  Please join us for pampering treatments!

12:00pm – 1:00pm:: Maternity Wear Fashion Styling with Libby Salerno, Personal Stylist for Weddings, Maternity, and Life Style; and Founder & Editor of DeFrump Your Bump, the ultimate maternity style blog.  Also, featuring Amy Michelle Totes diaper bags

10:30am – 12:00pm:: Book Signing with Sarah Blight author of “Going to the Motherland: things to know for your journey”and Founder of YourBabyBooty.com

Kids Zone:

10:30am – 3:00pm:: Storytelling with Nili Yelin, The Storybook Mom,   Face Painting with local artist, Trish Page , Creative activities with Nibbles Play Café and Visionmaker Graphics, plus Disney Giveaway Items

3:00pm – 5:00pm:: Bebe Boogie, A Dance Party for Toddlers, hosted by CBS DJ’s  Jobo  from the Eddie and Jobo morning show along with Gary Spears from the KHits Team

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Event Host

Kelli Stapleton, Mother/Best-Selling Author/Producer/Radio Host of Birth Stories on Demand

Educational Sessions:

11:30am – 12:30pm:: “Car Seat Safety Training” sponsored and facilitated by The Safety Squad

12:00pm – 1:00pm:: “Baby Food Making Basics” sponsored by Square One Organics

2:00pm – 3:00pm:: Chat with the Author Series featuring Hogan Hilling, author of several fatherhood books: The Modern Mom’s Guide to Dads, Turner Publishing, 2007 and The Man Who Would Be Dad, Capital Books, 2002. Upcoming book releases are Rattled: What He’s Thinking When You’re Pregnant and Pacifi(her): What She’s Thinking When She’s Pregnant, Turner Publishing. The release date of both books is August, 2011.

Entertainment for Mothers:

11am – 4pm:: ASHA, An Aveda Lifestyle SalonSpa sponsor of the Mom’s Lounge.  Please join us for pampering treatments!

12pm – 1pm:: Maternity Wear Fashion Styling with Libby Salerno, Personal Stylist for Weddings, Maternity, and Life Style; and Founder & Editor of DeFrump Your Bump, the ultimate maternity style blog.  Also, featuring Amy Michelle Totes diaper bags

2:00pm – 3:00pm:: Book Signing with Sarah Blight author of “Going to the Motherland” and Founder of YourBabyBooty.com

Kids Zone:

11:30am – 3:30pm:: Storytelling with Nili Yelin, The Storybook Mom, Creative activities with Nibbles Play Café and Visionmaker Graphics, plus Disney Giveaway Items

 

By Mindee Doney – Inventor of Boogie Wipes ®/Co-Founder of Little Busy Bodies,Inc.

I have consulted with hundreds of Mom inventors over the last few years.  I can honestly say I have NEVER heard a bad idea.  The question I always ask myself instead is “HOW BIG IS THIS IDEA?”  Should it be something special they just make for friends and family?  Will they be able to sell a few hundred units a year at trade shows and boutiques?  or Could it actually grace the shelves of Target someday? As you start to consider bringing your invention to life, focus on determining HOW BIG? not HOW GOOD? After all, if its Mom-Invented, its GOT to be good!

Here are a few things to think about as your business idea starts to grow:

1. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to research the idea then move on it!  Understand the industry and competition then get started.  Don’t wait and worry about the unknown.

2. Determine what makes your product different and better than what consumers are already using? Ask strangers (not family & friends) if they would purchase it and change their buying habits to take a risk on your product. Find the right price point and best place for them to interact and purchase.

3. Decide what business option is best for you; patent vs no patent, sell to larger business or build your own? Know the risks and rewards of each one. Decide upfront what your commitment level is personally and financially.

4. Get your paperwork in order.  Non-Disclosure agreements, trademarks and patent applications, business structure, legal agreements.  At the right time, they are critical to your growth and demonstrate your commitment to vendors/partners.

5. Secure a manufacturer with terms you can afford and a commitment to be a part of your vision. Discuss time lines, product quality and expectations up front. Show them your growth potential and visit the plant if you can.  Think long and short term for the partnership.  Don’t over commit and negotiate what you need.

6. Business Planning – simple or complex, constant planning is a must at every stage in your business. Use your goals to determine your cash, time and resource requirements to get there.

7. Maximize PR – find the story in your product, not the sales plug and tell it everywhere to everyone as often as you can. Be creative in your pitch, make the use of your product a part of a bigger message.

8. Be your own best salesman.  If you decide to try and sell to retailers, have your margins, delivery plan, inventory and servicing plan in order you meet with them. Prove to them you will manage your business and you are prepared to work hard to make THEM money.

9. Set up YOUR space and work schedule.  Find a place that has what you need to focus and be productive.  Determine when you will work and what you want to invest to get help with the kids to be able to give your business the attention it deserves to grow and prosper.

10. Know what you don’t know. Surround yourself with people strong in the areas you need the most help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and tell them up front what you can commit to when working with them. Align your expectations to avoid disappointment and breed SUCCESS!

by Holly Reisem Hanna

With the abundance of social networks geared towards mompreneurs, and with new communities popping up daily it is impossible to keep up with all of the new and popular networks out there. You could spend days, maybe even weeks or months just browsing all the different social networking sites dedicated to women entrepreneurs and work-at-home moms. To help narrow your search here are my top 15 social networking sites for mompreneurs that provide amazing resources, tips, strategies and education for mompreneurs and work-at-home moms.

A Mom Entrepreneur – Hosted by Tammy Jones. A Mom Entrepreneur is a wonderful place to promote your business. The members are friendly and Tammy is very active in the community. You can even be featured on the front page as a Featured Mompreneur. There are currently over 1,000+ members. For more information, please see: A Mom Entrepreneur.

Café Mom – An enormous social network of moms. With over 70,000 groups, Café Mom has everything – cool widgets, contests, giveaways, groups galore, articles. You could spend hours on this site and not even scratch the surface of what it has to offer. For more info see: Café Mom.

Diva Toolbox – Created by Janet Powers. Diva Toolbox focuses on women in business by allowing them to connect with new clients, promote themselves through media queries, and to partner with other business owners so that they may extend their reach. Over 7,500 members and going strong. Diva Toolbox has articles, videos, radio segments, major events and much more. For more info see Diva Toolbox.

Mom Invented Community – Hosted by bestselling author and mompreneur, Tamara Monosoff. A great community to get free education from a well-respected and successful mompreneur, Tamara offers videos, hosted events, forums and much more. Membership is free and takes just a few minutes to set up. Over 20,000+ members. For more information, please see: Mom Invented Community.

Mom TV – Co-Founded by Maria Bailey and Bob Sullivan, Mom TV is the first online video destination for moms. With over 100+ hosts and 1,000’s of video content hosts, Mom TV provides the most extensive library of mom produced video programming. Join the community where you can read blog posts, chat on the message boards, post photos, join groups and of course watch videos – Make sure to check out Business Buzz. For more info see Mom TV.

MOMeo Magazine – Founded by Carla Young. MOMeo Magazine is a community and resource for entrepreneurial moms, with articles, chats, videos, a forum, educational courses and much more.  For more information see MOMeo Magazine.


Mommy Millionaire
– Started by bestselling author and mompreneur extraordinaire, Kim Lavine. Mommy Millionaire is an online business coaching community of both male and female entrepreneurs. The greatest thing about this network is that Kim herself is very active in forum participation, blog posts and a radio show – which is all awesome education for you!  Over 1,400 + members. For more info see: Mommy Millionaire.

Mompreneurs Online – Ellen Parlapiano and Patricia Cobe, founders of the work-from-home community MompreneursOnline.com, coined and trademarked the catchy word “Mompreneurs” back in the 90s, when writing their first book, Mompreneurs®. This community offers a forum, articles, live chat, blog and marketplace. For more information please see: Mompreneurs Online.

My Work Butterfly – Is the social network for moms who want to spread their wings! Founded by Bradi Nathan and her partner Terry Starr, My Work Butterfly has a very unique feature in that it often features interviews from celebrity moms – not to mention that it is chalk full of information and resources. Over 5,900 members. For more info see: My Work Butterfly.

Savor the Success – Founded by Angela Jia Kim and Marc Stedman. Savor the Success is a PR Co-Op and a niche social media network for women entrepreneurs both online and offline. Offering affordable PR tools for premium members such as PR Opps, media lists, gift lists and PR writing services. For more info see: Savor the Success.

She’s Connected – Founded by Donna Marie Antoniadis. She’s Connected is a community for busy women! She’s Connected is the one place for women to manage both the personal and professional sides of their lives. Members can create a personal profile for family and friends or a professional profile for clients and colleagues. They can keep them separate or combine the two, but only if they want to. She’s Connected offers a unique and spirited community infused with compelling content from experts on careers, health, relationships, beauty, fitness, parenting, pregnancy, food and entertainment.  For more info see: She’s Connected.

Social Moms – Created by Megan Calhoun. Social Moms (used to be Twitter Moms) is a great place to get ideas. Boasting over 31,000 members, Social Moms has a daily frenzy of activity going on from blogging contests, Twitter parties, events, featured mom of the week and featured blogger of the week.  Check it out for some great ideas and inspiration – Social Moms.

The Mom Entrepreneur – Founded by Traci Bisson, The Mom Entrepreneur is a company that offers tips, advice and resources for balancing motherhood and running a company. With over 15,000 members you can meet new people, promote your business, join their bartering directory and much more. For more information, please see The Mom Entrepreneur.


Women Business Owners Café
– Run by Jan Hefferin. Women Business Owners Café (used to be Mompreneur Café) has 830+ members. The network has the typical Ning functions, but what I have found is that the women in this community are very receptive and friendly. For this reason I highly recommend joining. For more information, please see: Women Business Owners Cafe.

Work It Mom – Contains blogs, resources and a community for working moms. Co-founder Nataly, blogs daily about the issues affecting working moms. She also shares her own juggle between work and family. With over 12,000 members, Work It Moms allows you to contribute, share, shop and connect. For more info see: Work It Mom.

What’s your favorite social network?

Holly Reisem Hanna is the founder of The Work at Home Woman, an award winning blog dedicated to helping women and moms fulfill their dreams of working from home or becoming self-employed. Before becoming a WAHM, Holly worked full-time as an RN Clinical Research Coordinator. Holly resides in Austin, Texas with her husband Jeff, their daughter Hadley, and their feisty cat, Alex.

Heather DeGrandis has been selling Scentsy wickless candles since October 2010.

Scentsy offers safe alternatives to candles, home decor and much more. DeGrandis offers home parties, basket parties, online parties and fundraising.

“My four-year-old daughter is a big help to my business,” says DeGrandis. “She helps sort, label and deliver orders. She gets to be the first one to smell the new scents and tell me what she thinks of them.”

Her advice to other moms working home businesses is to let your children be involved. It makes them feel special and gives you extra helping hands. For those offering home parties, she suggests you check with your hostess about bringing your child to help with the party. Otherwise, find a babysitter.

On special for the month of July, the Cupcake Warmer and the scent, Happy Birthday are 10% off. http://vanilladreams.scentsy.us



by Kristin McGee

Being a mom is a full-time job and yoga is the perfect way to let go of stress. Something you can try anywhere are deep breathing techniques.  Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and relax your hands. I recommend basic “breath of fire” breathing, where you breathe rapidly through the nose with equal emphasis on your inhales and exhales.

Certain partner poses, such as boat pose, moms can do with their children depending on their size. My BendiGirl DVD is great for moms and kids to do together!

Yoga helps moms stay connected through the breathing, stretching and focus. It’s like an automatic reset button that forces you to slow down, and give back to yourself. Moms care for everyone else all day long, and it’s super important and beneficial to take time to practice self-care!

Yoga helps physically by decompressing tight, tense shoulders, backs and necks after a long day of doing “mom chores” or holding children. It’s an amazing thing to have as a retreat that allows women to just “be” for a moment in time.

As a beginner, you can practice at home with DVDs, if it’s hard for you to find time to make a class. Start with a basics DVD and master those poses before moving onto something more challenging. My own power yoga is broken down into segments so even if you only have 10 minutes, you can complete a portion!

If you’re a mom, take the time out to do yoga while the kids are asleep or at school. If you have the luxury to get to a studio or a gym where they offer basic or intro to yoga classes that is great too!

The inner and outer strength you build through yoga will help you become a powerful, peaceful mom!


 

by Diane Lang 

 
It’s a constant battle with the media and all the technology around us. There are a lot of great things about TV, video games and computers. There is an educational value on all three but what about the negatives. Below are some tips on helping your children make healthy choices with TV, video games and computer.
 
1. Research says young kids watch between 4-6 hours of TV ( this also includes video games and computers).This is way too much time. A healthy amount of time to be spent in front of TV and technology is 1-2 hours a day. This is also a realistic amount of time. Some research says less then an hour a day, but as a parent we know this might not be realistic. 1-2 hours  a day is more realistic.
 
2. Offer alternatives to TV and technology:
-Have your kids signed up for activities that involve either socialization and/or physical activity.
-Also, offer alternatives such as: board games, playing outside, arts and crafts, music/dance, play dates, etc. 
-Have a flashback moment: When I was a child how did I occupy my time. Think of all the fun things we did as a child before video games/computers. We played outside, hide and seek, tag, swings, collecting leaves and rocks outside. We had puzzles, deck of cards, board games, etc
 
3. When your child watches TV, try to be involved. Watch the program with your child. Discuss the program afterwards. Ask questions: what did they like about the show? what was their favorite character? Etc.
 
4. The parent is the best defense against the media and technology. You can limit the amount of time and what your child watches and plays. Make sure all TV shows, computer games and videos have an educational component.
Example: If your child watches Dora the Explorer- they will be entertained while learning Spanish. Children as young as three years old can start learning a new language.
 
5. Consequences of too much time in front of the TV, computer or playing video games:
-Lack of physical activity which can lead to obesity.
-Children can also have less fresh air due to the TV, computer and video games being inside games.
-Lack of socialization- they now say that teenagers are getting depressed due to social networking on their computers with such sites as Facebook and My Space. Fight this battle with younger kids. Set up play dates.
-TV shows include a lot of commercials – this puts you in a  tough situation because your kids will be constantly wanting/asking for new games, toys and sugary foods. Fight the battle by using DVD’s where there are no commercials.
-It also affects their attention span.
 
 
For more information on Diane Lang, please visit her website: www.dlcounseling.com or e-mail  Diane :

Buddy Blankies was created by Kathryn Peddle in April 2002.  She creates unique handmade baby blankets from soft cuddly satin and cozy flannel. Baby blankets or loveys are a wonderful part of any baby’s life, from birth to toddler.

Peddle finds it extremely challenging to balance family and business since she works full-time and has two children very active in sports. She spends time with them in the evenings and attends their weekend activities. Her husband helps with both the children and business.

“Have a clear goal before you start,” Peddle recommends. “Make sure you remember to make time for your family, they’re your inspiration. And patience, the road will be filled with many ups and downs.”

Every Buddy Blankies order receives a discount of up to 20% automatically.

To learn more about Buddy Blankies, you can go to the website or check them out on Facebook.



Who doesn’t like to save money? Who wouldn’t like to be able to reuse the many, many new items that have to be bought for baby? Groovy Gear for Baby has some great product offerings that are reusable! These items can grow right along with baby and prevent mom and dad from purchasing more and more stuff that is not as green.

Stainless Steel Bottles: These bottles are BPA, PVC and Phthalate free. They start out as baby bottles, then become sippy bottles and eventually turn into a water bottle.

P’kolino Furniture: The toddler bed from P’kolino comes with siderails, then the bed converts into a chair. Another fun item from P’kolino is the Ottoman Storage.  This item fits in any room, it can be used for storage, and seating and the lid can be flipped and converted into a table.   This ottoman can be used around the house as well in other rooms of the house.

Nurseryworks Cribs & Furniture: These cribs are convertible into toddler beds. The Studio Crib converts into a toddler bed and the changing table into a desk with a storage unit. The other Nurseryworks beds all have conversion packages.  The rocking chairs can be used in a nursery and then brought into any room in the house.

Tricycles: These tricycles from Smart Trike can be used at different stages from infant to toddler.    Parents can push the tricycle while the baby is still too young to pedal, then the toddler can pedal and parents can help push the tricycle and finally the child can use the tricycle up to 36 months and more.

Diaper Bags: Timi & Leslie, and a new line – Amy Michelle diaper bags, will be coming next month. These two lines are fashionable diaper bags can be reused as laptop bags for work or for travelling.

Groovy Gear for Baby is excited to be expanding their product line. They are adding shoes and clothing for both babies and toddlers. Keep an eye on their site as they continue to add the grooviest gear for the adorable baby in your life!

Don’t forget, you can still enter to win a Balboa Nursing Pillow here! They’ve extended their contest through the month!

*This is a sponsored post that was purchased as part of an advertising package by Groovy Gear for Baby.

 

by Shara Lawrence-Weiss

Ten tips for moms who run a business from home

1. Sell something you love and feel passionate about. Are you starting a business based on what your heart loves? I hope so! Passion and perseverance are two key ingredients for a successful at-home business. If you don’t love what you are selling or offering, you’ll quickly burn out.

2. Don’t let worry and jealousy consume you.
Do you worry that others will copy you? Take your ideas? Do you fret that others will see your unique concepts, be incapable of coming up with their own, and trail behind you hoping for dropped business crumbs? Don’t use up your energy on business jealousy! It’s not worth your time.
Link this tip here: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7862920/the_trouble_with_business_jealousy.html?cat=55

3. Don’t copy others.
By definition, if you are copying the ideas of others, you’re already behind in the game. Sit down and free-write ideas, images, words and thoughts. What did you come up with that can be used in your business model? What unique ideas do you have or clever tag lines to use? What nicknames do you recall from childhood that can be put to use now, to the benefit of your business name/model? Do you have cool photos that can go on your site or blog that offer a special perspective? Use every distinctive idea to your advantage and refrain from copying others.

4. Don’t be afraid of the SILLY.
Although you’ll often read serious business articles that offer helpful facts and figures, everyone needs to laugh. Laughter has been shown in research to reduce stress and open the mind to new ideas. Do you feel silly now and again? Use those moments to sit down and write! Don’t let that moment pass you by without taking full advantage of the SILLY. Write a funny list of “What if’s” or “The top ten _____” or “What I’d do differently.” People like to laugh and your article will likely get re-posted and re-tweeted.

5. Network without taking advantage.
There’s a difference between networking (helping each other) and taking advantage of others (“Hey – can you post about me again, please? Thanks!”). Be on the lookout for other moms you can help, assist, answer questions for and so on. Don’t go searching for what you can TAKE. First, be willing to GIVE. Those who give happily, in social media and Online, are far more likely to stay steady, long term. You’ll make friends who will gladly refer you to their own markets, if they know you’ll quickly do the same for them.

6. Don’t forget your hashtags!
So many people forget to use hashtags on twitter. Hashtags are a resource for you so use them wisely. Depending on your audience, you’ll want to use hashtags that fit what you offer/do/sell. I use hashtags like:
    •    #business
    •    #parenting
    •    #parents
    •    #ece
    •    #children
    •    #kids
    •    #songs
    •    #music
    •    #charity
    •    #giving
    •    #moms
    •    #dads
    •    #smallbiz
    •    #wahm
    •    #safety
    •    #crafts
    •    #kindness
    •    and more
Know your market and the hashtags that will most benefit you and your audience.
Find more twitter tips: http://www.mommyperks.com/vip/?p=12776

7. Embrace your schedule.
It’s not easy for any mom to work from home. When are your best working hours? Before the kids get up? While the kids are in school? While your kids are napping or have a play date? Know your schedule and embrace the moments that allow for the most “focus time.”

8. Child swap, anyone?
Do you find yourself desperate for alone time to work? You just want some peace and quiet to get things done, right? Consider a child swap, high school student or play date!
Link this tip here: http://www.mommyperks.com/vip/?p=12613

9. Get enough sleep.
I know it’s hard to say this for most moms. We never get enough sleep! Sleep, however, is a critical part of business ownership. Sleep deprivation has been shown to limit our thinking skills, ability to carry out projects, answer emails patiently, effectively maintain our anger and much more. Skipping sleep, to get work done, should never be your first choice. You’ll get more accomplished (accurately!) if you are functioning on a decent amount of sleep.

10. Involve your kids.
One of my greatest joys comes from watching my kids help. They can’t always do much but the little things they do bring them so much joy. “I helped mom today!” What small jobs can you delegate to your young kids? What larger jobs can you delegate to your tweens or teens? Older children can earn money helping you and in this situation – you both gain something. You’ll get some help (for an affordable rate) and your child will learn more about healthy work ethic and project completion (along with some spending money). It’s a win-win.

Read more business tips at www.MommyPerks.com


Melissa Cleaver and her husband started MCM Inventions, Inc. in 2009 when they came up with the idea for Toothpaste 2 Go and another invention they are currently trying to get patented. 

Toothpaste 2 Go is a revolutionary new toothpaste transfer system that eliminates the need for costly travel-sized tubes of toothpaste. It allows you to convert your full-sized tubes of toothpaste into as many travel-sized tubes as you need. This saves you time and money.

Toothpaste 2 Go is perfect for:

-Airline travel

-Storing in your office desk

-Children with braces who need to brush at school

-Taking on an overnight trip

-Small children who don’t need a full-sized tube of toothpaste.

Cleaver works to balance her family and business, by working once everyone has gone to bed. She gets less sleep, but is able to spend the maximum amount of time with her family.

“If you have an idea you think is great, then go for it!” advises Cleaver. “You will become invigorated by the possibility of your own blossoming business and will never have to wonder what could have been.”

Cleaver is generously offering 10% off your entire purchase with free shipping on any purchase over $15 by entering the code FRIENDS10.

Toothpaste 2Go is accessible by website, Facebook and Twitter!