Monday, October 24, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Jennifer Kelman of Mrs. Pinkelmeyer, LLC

Last month I ran a Children's Book Review feature on my blog, where I featured over 50+ kids books from various children's authors.  While researching and seeking out some wonderful books, I stumbled across Jennifer Kelman, one of my Spotlight Moms this week.  She has created a character called Mrs. Pinkelmeyer, which she used to help calm her nephew who was missing his parents years ago.  Since then, she has taken Mrs. Pinkelmeyer and her dog Moopus into schools and the community to delight young children. In addition, she has created a line of popular products including dolls, music, temporary tattoos, and a children’s book series based on the lovable Mrs. Pinkelmeyer.  I will do a book review of one of her books this Friday in my Feature Friday section, so please head on back to learn more about Mrs. Pinkelmeyer and Jennifer's cute book she sent me review.

But, in the meantime, please enjoy my interview with Jennifer Kelman, creator of Mrs. Pinkelmeyer, LLC.  

Name:  Jennifer Kelman
Company Name/Product/Service:  Mrs. Pinkelmeyer, LLC
Company Location: Boca Raton, FL
Company Website:
Twitter Handle: @ MrsPinkelmeyer
Age of Company:  1 ½ years
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: I am not a live by other people’s quotes kind of person.  I live by my own….”Don’t count the no’s”
Favorite Book:  The Mrs. Pinkelmeyer Book series of course.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc
I am a Mom to 2 year old boy/girl twins.  They are sweet and funny and hilarious together. When not doing Pinkelmeyer work or being with my kids, I find my respite on the tennis court.  I have been playing since I was 6 and it is a great getaway for me.

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?

As soon as I became an aunt, I spent as much time as possible with my niece and nephews. That is how I discovered my storytelling muse—improvising characters, channeling silly voices, and doing impersonations. Taking care of my nephew when his parents were away, I was inspired to create Mrs. Pinkelmeyer, Silliest, Warmest Know-It-All. Now I has created a line of popular products including dolls, music, temporary tattoos, and a children’s book series based on the lovable Mrs. Pinkelmeyer.

Mrs. Pinkelmeyer was born out of necessity. One evening my nephew missed his parents so much that he was inconsolable. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get his mind off his vacationing parents. It was then that the lovely lady from England skipped out of my imagination. Mrs. Pinkelmeyer came to the rescue along with her wonderful dog, Moopus McGlinden, named after my own lovable canine companion, Moopy. Iimprovised Mrs. Pinkelmeyer, English accent and all, for the wonderful delight of my nephew, who soon stopped crying.

Today, I can be seen around my hometown of Boca Raton, FL, dressed as Mrs. Pinkelmeyer, spreading her love and warmth to children through musical performances, Pinkelmeyer parties and book signings and readings.

What is a typical work day like?  

My work day begins when the kids wake up.  Potty time, breakfast time, getting dressed for school and out the door.  Nothing else happens during that time of madness. When I get a few hours by myself most of the time in the last year has been spent on product development. It is time consuming to write two children’s books and bring that to market while also creating dolls and music.  Now that I have a full product my focus now shifts to sales and making the characters known. 

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?   

Starting anything new can always be a challenge.  My first struggle was within myself.  I had to wrestle with my fears of starting something from nothing.  I questioned whether anyone would like my creations and whether I had the fortitude to push though and make it happen.  What a great thing now to be on the other side of that after creating so much…two children’s characters, a music CD, two children’s books, dolls, bobble heads and more. The struggle now is getting the characters known and loved as much as I love them.  The response has been great and Mrs. Pinkelmeyer and Moopus McGlinden and the product line have been winning many awards. That feels great.

What did you do in your past work life? 

I am clinically trained in Social Work and have always been working with kids. My specialty was treating adolescents with eating disorders and I founded a Non-profit to prevent eating disorders.  I lectured around the country to students, parents and teachers.  It was great because I felt that I was really making an impact.

What have been some of your major successes?  

Creating so much in a short period of time and bringing those products to market.  When the sales come in, I am overwhelmed with pride and gratitude.  Mrs. Pinkelmeyer is a warm and loving character and when I see her touch others as intended I am grateful. Exhibiting at the Toy Fair in NYC was inspiring as I was alongside all of the “big-wigs.” Each time Mrs. Pinkelmeyer and Moopus win an award from the industry insiders I am thrilled.  Creative Child magazine has awarded it product of the year, Dr. Toy has given them her best picks award and PTPA Media has given them their highest award as well. 

What have been some of your major challenges? 

The major challenge is money and having enough to put into a young business.  It takes a lot and I have to weigh each opportunity that comes my way and see if it is in my budget. I am the chief cook and bottle washer so it can also be a struggle doing all of the things myself.  I would love to delegate and hope in time I will be able to.

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

That is such a great question because there are many days where I have felt like throwing the towel in or I lie awake at night feeling the insecurities. I then rely on my passion for all that I have created and know that I will trudge through no matter what.  Mrs. Pinkelmeyer wouldn’t have it any other way.  As I said above, my motto is to never count the “no’s” and there have been plenty.  Each no is an opportunity….it can either break you or make you stronger in your desire to succeed.  It does that for me, It makes me want to work harder.

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

I guess the secret is that some things fall by the wayside…such as a nice long shower and a blow dry.  Prior to having children I hardly ever wore my hair in a pony tail, and now I think it’s all I ever do.  When I am with my kids, I am with my kids and when it is time to work, it is time to work.  I learned that creativity cannot be forced and so much of what I do is all about creativity…and if it is not there on a particular day, I do not force it.  I take the kids to the park instead and play and when the moment arrives for creativity I am full steam ahead.

What is next for your business? 

Focus on sales and getting the word out about Mrs. Pinkelmeyer, Silliest, Warmest Know-It-All.

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

I have done a fair amount of appearances in the media and one question I get most of the time is..”How did you do it?” Many of the women I speak with tell me they have great ideas, but fear or something else just holds them back.  I encourage all of these Mom’s to live their passions and follow their dreams. Not everyone will love your idea, but so what…do it anyway.  
I have also used my training to open up my coaching business as I have found that many of the Mom’s may just need a little support and cheerleading to get their projects underway.  I coach these women to realize their dreams and find and follow their passions.  It is amazing what we can all achieve with a little support and that is what I provide. 

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