Monday, August 19, 2013

Spotlight on Mom -- Elizabeth Cross of The Fiammetta Toy Company / Stork Babies

I love stumbling upon up and coming companies, especially when they are created and run by moms. :-)  This is the case with this week's Spotlight Mom, Elizabeth Cross of the Fiammetta Toy Company, and creator of Stork Babies.  With the holidays fast approaching, I have started my holiday shopping and looking for things I think the girls would love.  Right now, my daughter Savannah and 8 yr. old niece are into miniature dolls.  While visiting a few weeks back, my mother surprised me by bringing down an old shoe box full of miniature dolls I was given by my great aunt when I was child.  As I rummaged through the box, memories of my childhood and playing with these dolls came rushing.  I looked at the beautiful dolls in the shoe box and then over to my daughters' dolls, and wondered if they still made dolls like the ones I used to play with.  Dolls today seem to have a lot of little plastic pieces or outfits that don't even fit the dolls.  The miniature dolls I grew up playing with, had finely stitched outfits, and resembled girls of different cultures, right down to the shoes.  So, I took to the Internet looking for miniature dolls.  Most searches kept bringing me to Ebay, where the vintage dolls were poorly kept, and not something I would want my daughters to play with, due to loose parts.  Then, I stumbled across Stork Babies, and fell in love.  These looked just like the dolls I used to play, but so much cuter.  I especially loved their clothing and accessories, and the background on each doll.  I love when dolls have a story to them, as it gives them a more personal feel, and makes playtime more fun.  I showed Savannah the dolls to see what her reaction was, and she couldn't stop pointing to the dolls she liked, and saying how pretty they were.  I told her maybe if she behaved, she would get a surprise.  And, that she did, as I contacted Elizabeth to see if she wanted to be a Spotlight Mom.  She agreed and sent along a sampling of her cute Stork Babies for review.  You should have seen my daughters and niece's faces light up when I showed them the different dolls, shared their unique names, sayings and fun facts about each, the girls got so giddy.  They couldn't wait to hold these miniature dolls in their hands and play with them.  And, once they did, they didn't want to put them down.  Savannah carried around her favorite Stork Babies in a purse, and even brought her favorite, Flordelise to bed.
#6 - Flordelise
I will be sharing a more in-depth review about Stork Babies on Friday, as part of my Feature Friday section.  In addition to my review, I will also be sharing a 10% off coupon code and running a giveaway, where one lucky reader will the complete collection of Italian Stork Babies.  
So, make sure you mark your calendars or set up a reminder to head back here on Friday with my review and giveaway of Stork Babies.  But, in the meantime, please enjoy my Spotlight on Mom interview with Elizabeth Cross of The Fiammetta Toy Company/Stork Babies.

Name: Elizabeth Cross
Company Name/Product/Service:  The Fiammetta Toy Company / Stork Babies
Company Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Company Website:
Twitter Handle: @StorkBabies   or
Age of Company: 1 year old
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: The best way to predict the future is to create it.
Favorite Book: Wilbur Smith: Birds of Prey

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.

I have a Masters in Bio-Resource Engineering (Environmental) and have spent the last 20 years in that field. However I decided I needed a big change about one and a half years ago..... So I started a toy company! 
I have 3 children, ages 6,10 and 11 (Elysium, Starla and River). They all are my VPs of Design for the company and steer me in the right direction all the time. I include them in all the decisions on colors, packaging and all aspects of design.

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?

When I was a child I played with a similar doll in Greece and a few years looked for something like it on-line, however I couldn't find anything. I loved them so much, I decided to make my own.  We now create 1-2 collections of dolls/ year and they are called Stork Babies. Tiny dolls, big fun. Now we are working on creating mini-accessories for the Stork Babies, like high chairs, cribs and strollers.
What is a typical work day like? 
I wake up, have my coffee, make pancakes for my kids, head to my wee little office and start work.  At around 11am (now that it is summer) and my kids go to the beach or mail packages out, play in the garden or go get slurpies at 7-11 or Macs. Tonight we are going to a movie in the park. My daughter (the 11 year old) is making tuna casserole for dinner downstairs.....I imagine it the kitchen will be turned up side down when I go downstairs....But she loves cooking.... I work a lot in the morning and a lot in the evenings when my kids are sleeping. 

What has been a struggle while starting up your company? 
The biggest struggle has been money. It always takes more money than you think. But, it has been a blast so far. Doesn't feel like work at all. 

What did you do in your past work life? 
I worked for the local airport and telephone/cable company doing Environmental work and managing their corporate Environmental and Recycling Programs.

What have been some of your major successes?
Our company just one the BEST TOY Award for 2013 for Miniature Collectibles by Creative Child Magazine. 
What have been some of your major challenges?
I was a surrogate for friends of ours. That was a challenge to get through another pregnancy. :)
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
My husband is my best motivation. He is so optimistic all the time.  
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?

Family always comes first...and work HARD!! Believe in it and people will too. 
What is next for your business?

We are creating our next collection, the Spanish Collection and accessories to go with them. So so cute!!

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business? 
Just do it! You will only regret not trying. 

1 comment :

  1. These are really cute dolls and I like her advice to mom entrepreneurs.