Maine Mompreneurs – Part 1
Working moms face any number of challenges. But one they all share is trying to find the balance between kids and careers. For some women, the answer means stepping away from a traditional job and beginning their own business. They’re called mom-preneurs. For many moms, keeping their kids in the right-sized clothes is a constant process. That’s where Jennie Dunn and Kristin Preble come in. Preble says,”I’ve experienced consignments before and just thought we could really use it up here.”Three years ago, the two teamed up to create the Green Puddle Jumpers consignment sale in Bangor. Twice a year, they help local parents clean out their closets and stock up on new stuff. “Just to recycle,” says Dunn. “Recycle the kids clothing that they’re not using to the full capacity. And just going through our children’s stuff, and they’re nice clothes, and we can hand them off to somebody else who could use them.”By selling their own items, the venture is also a money-maker for the two and has turned into a part-time business that gives them the flexibility to raise their families.”I like watching other people’s kids grow,” says photographer Susie Marshall, “Capturing the memories because they grow so fast and being able to take that moment in time and being able to make that special for someone.”Marshall started her business, too, as a way to foster her love of photography and raise her four children.”I’m my own boss so I’m able to say yes, I can do this weekend, no I can’t do it, I have something else. I don’t have to tell them I have another photo shoot. I could have something that we’re doing as a family.”What these women do has even earned them a new label in society – mompreneuers – women who balance the role of mom and entrepreneur.But all of them say running their own business is really a team effort, with the help of other family members, especially their husbands.Marshal says “He helped me set up the website, he helps me on the computer the technical side of things. And he also – we try to work it out so he can watch the kids while I’m taking pictures, so they’re not here, there and everywhere.”Preble says “It’s a family event, definitely, we have her family at the register and my family with their truck, before we personally owned a truck.”Though neither of the businesses make up a huge portion of the household budget, they do give these families some financial flexibility.And provide the moms with something money can’t buy.Dunn says “Seeing your visions come to life – and it works! Your hopes and your dreams and what you wanted to accomplish out of something.”"The best part about it is that it gets me out in the community,” says Marshall. “It gets me out in the public and being able to do something I love and so when I come back to the kids, I’ve done something for myself.”In part 2 of Maine Mompreneurs, we’ll meet two moms whose business has grown so much, they even have their own storefront in downtown Bangor. And we’ll talk with an expert about the value of mom-made businesses, both for a woman’s career and the economy.