Monday, October 31, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Andrea Van Ness of Thumbuddy To Love

This week's Spotlight on Mommy is Andrea Van Ness, owner of Thumbuddy to Love. Thumbuddy To Love is a positive teaching tool along with an illustrated story book, thumb puppet and success chart to help stop thumb sucking. The thumb puppet can be worn day or night and is a positive reminder of the importance to stop thumb or finger sucking. The book includes a calendar with stickers, so children get involved, marking off days they do not suck their thumb/fingers.  Just look at the cute characters she created to help your little one give up the thumsucking habit.  

In addition to the these two characters, Andrea also created the Binky Fairy to help those children who are still using their pacifier or binky, give up the habit.

Andrea sent me the Binky Fairy, and I will be sharing my review of this product with you on Friday, so head back then to learn more.

But, in the meantime, please enjoy my interview with Andrea.

Name:  Andrea Van Ness
Company Name/Product/Service: Thumbuddy To Love
Company Location: Boulder, Colorado
Company Website:
Twitter Handle: @ ThumbuddyToLove
Age of Company:  3 years
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: Live today as if it were your last. Enjoy the little things!
Favorite Book: Too many to list!! But I just read Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Ghouinard 

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

I  am the creator of Thumbuddy To Love… products to help stop thumb sucking and pacifier sucking. I live with my 9 year old son. We love to ski, hike and enjoy travel.

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about? 

It all started 3 years ago as a response to thumb suckers that needed help breaking the thumb sucking habit because everything out there was shameful and negative for little thumb suckers. I was a thumb sucker and my grandmother made me a thumb puppet and I took it everywhere…even to school. I stopped in a week. As I was researching products out there, I noticed a great need for something positive for kids that they could feel good about to help them stop thumb sucking and finger sucking so that is how Thumbuddy To Love came to be and I wrote the books and created Thumbuddy To Love™. Then, after the first products were launched, I realized pacifier suckers needed help too so I developed The Binky Fairy to help children wean from their pacifier with ease.

What is a typical work day like? 

Busy with orders, marketing, meetings and being a mom after school lets out.

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?   

Just getting the products to all come together. There was a lot of trial and error but finally found a great manufacturer and it all fell into place.

What did you do in your past work life? 

I was a realtor.

What have been some of your major successes? 

Yes, Thumbuddy To Love won a Moms Choice Award and has been featured on lots of news media including the Wall Street Journal.

What have been some of your major challenges? 

Really nothing major….just getting the word out to Moms who need help with their little thumb suckers and paci suckers. We do a lot of blogging and then the word spreads.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going? 

The fact that there is a better way to quit thumb sucking because a lot of people rely on thumb polishes that taste bitter to break the habit and those have a lot of chemicals in them so rather than introduce that to a child, Thumbuddy is a much better solution. Also, our new product, The Binky Fairy is the only book out there that comes with their very own Binky Fairy. It is now available on Amazon.

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family? 

Do what you love and spend quality time with your family

What is next for your business

We now use Kangen Water® in our office and have become distributors of that as well. It is the best healing water and alkaline water on the market. People stop by just to drink it!

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?  

Ask a lot of questions and if it feels right, do it!

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