Ruth Handler and The Mompreneur Movement
Motherhood and work have never been a happy combination in the past. This is best illustrated in the social scientist-named “motherhood penalty,” or the pay gap between child-free and working mothers. Many mothers feel less committed to their jobs after having children. What can a mother do to make her children happy?
The mompreneur movement has changed everything. Mompreneurs who are successful have accepted their motherhood and taken advantage of their unique perspectives to be successful. This is more evident than in the case of Ruth Handler, America’s first mompreneur and inventor, Barbie.
Ruth Handler: The Original Motherpreneur
Handler started the company in 1945 from a garage. He and co-founders Harold Matson, Elliot Handler, and Elliot Handler created “Mattel” and coined it by combining letters from their last and first names.
Handler’s greatest claim to fame was, however, the iconic Barbie doll. Barbie, which was introduced in 1959, has been a symbol of American culture and a constant outlet for girls’ dreams.
Ruth Handler’s unique perspective as a mother is perhaps the most important lesson mompreneurs can learn. Barbie was the brainchild of an intelligent mother of a preteen.
Handler was inspired to create an adult-like doll by her observations of her daughter’s play. Handler said that it was important for girls to think about what their futures might look like.
Handler explained that the dolls were used by them to protect their futures as adult women. They envisioned their adult lives through their play. The dolls were used by them to express the adult world. They would talk to the dolls, making them real people.
Mompreneurs and “Mom Perspectives”
As Handler did before them, the most successful mompreneurs today see their mom’s perspective as a strength that they can use to create successful businesses.
Julie Aigner Clark was frustrated that she couldn’t find suitable videos for her baby. Baby Einstein was born out of her frustration.
Cinnamon Bowser, who was on maternity leave and lamenting not being able to get to the nail salon when saw a need to create a mobile nail salon that provides professional services directly to clients. Nail Taxi is now a nationwide business.
Betty Haddock wanted Maggie to learn about friendship. They came up with the idea of friendship Bracelets. These bracelets feature friendship advice and unzip, allowing for friends to swap halves.
MaryEllen Tribby, also known as “The Money Honey” in the Publishing World, is well-known. She is the founder and CEO of WorkingMomsOnly.com. This website provides tools that allow working moms to live healthy, rich, and balanced life.
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