Monday, November 7, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Elaine (Tan) Comeau, creator of Easy Daysies - The Magnetic Daily Schedules for Kids

Our second Spotlight Mom this week is Elaine Tan Comeau, creator of Easy Daysies, the magnetic daily schedules for kids.  Winner of various parenting awards, Elaine has been busy since her product launched three years ago.  Her Easy Daysies magnetic schedules would make wonderful holiday gifts for kids, as well as act a great learning tool to help keep both your child and yourself organized and on the same page, day in and day out.  To learn more about this unique and fun product, click here to visit Elaine's website.

In the meantime, please enjoy my Spotlight on Mommy interview with Elaine.

Name: Elaine (Tan) Comeau
Company Name/Product/Service: Easy Daysies - The Magnetic Daily Schedules for Kids
Company Website:
Facebook URL: 
Twitter Handle: 
Age of Company: 3 years old (launched my first product 2 days after our third child was born!) 
Favorite Inspirational Quotes:   "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer."- Romans 12:12 
Favorite Book:  "I Love Your Stinky Face" By Lisa McCourt

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.
I am married to the kindest, most patient, and smartest man I know.  WE have three adorable kids: Abigail is 8, Justin is 4 1/2 and Naomi just turned 3.  I am an elementary school teacher and the creator of Easy Daysies.  I love to cook and bake (mostly because I  love to eat!), I love being there for my children's activities (acro, piano, softball, soccer, ballet) and try to help out in their classrooms when I can.  I love to scrapbook when I can... but that is rare and far between.  We love movie nights and game nights too!  We also love hosting international students in our home too.  

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?
For the first eight years of my teaching career, I had parents constantly ask me to create a visual routine for them at home similar to the one I had made for the front of my classroom to help their kids at home. I did research and discovered that there was no product like it out there and decided that I would make a product to help kids have easier days, and that is how it got it's name, Easy Daysies®. I package product and orders off our kitchen table often until after 3AM and make business calls at 6AM to the East Coast before the children wake up.

What is a typical work day like? 
Let's go with a school day... I would have been packaging product and orders until about 3AM, then off to bed.  I am up for 6AM for a phone meeting with the eastern provinces because they are three hours ahead of our time zone.  Kids are up at about 7AM.  We look at our easy Daysies and get our teeth brushed after breakfast and are dressed and out the door for carpooling. I will pick up our friends' little boy, drop off my daughter,and her friend to their classroom door (they are in Gr.3) and then walk my son to his kindergarten class with my 3 year old.  She has preschool two mornings a week.I will race home to catch more phone meetings, field online orders and quick urgent e-mail correspondence, make phone calls since I am also the receivables/shipper/ manufacturer, sales rep, creative director, and CEO off our kitchen table.  I package orders and make sure they are ready for UPS or Purolator pickup, package orders ready to go to Canada Post before picking up the kids from school.  Then after picking up and dropping off for carpooling, it is off to dance class, piano or sports.  On a good day, I will have dinner cooking in a slow cooker or assembled and ready to go when we get back.  Then homework, bath and bed time.  Then my husband and I get to do work on the computer or I am packaging product and orders again.  I procrastinate through the night by making tomorrow's lunches for the kids, doing the dishes, etc. and then back to Easy Daysies.  Then off to bed again sometime between 2-4AM.  

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?
It has been a huge learning curve, being primarily a mommy and a school teacher and now a manufacturer, accountant, sale rep, receivables, shipper, creative director, marketing director, and CEO (all at our kitchen table). Orders are coming in faster than my kitchen table can keep up with.

What did you do in your past work life?
I am an elementary school teacher and have chosen to take a leave of absence this school year. 

What have been some of your major successes?
The goal of Easy Daysies is to help kids have easier days. What keeps me going is the many e-mails I receive from parents and health-care providers sharing stories of how Easy Daysies has helped made daily struggles become smooth sailing moments. Also, every purchase of Easy Daysies helps children around the world be freed from devastating bondage like slavery and child sex-trade. 5% of the profits go to International Justice Mission. Easy Daysies is the proud winner of the 2010 PTPA Award (Parent Tested Parent Approved Award) and 2010 TOP CHOICE OF THE YEAR AWARD-Creative Child Magazine (Parenting Aids-Teaching Responsibility & Educational Products- Preschool category). I am also so very honored that Easy Daysies has been featured in: Parents Canada Magazine (as the #1 Back to School Must Have),, Mompreneur Magazine, Old School House Magazine, New York Morning News, CHCH Morning Show, & GLOBAL Noon Hour News, Breakfast Television, and chosen to pitch on CBC's #1 TV show Dragon's Den (Season VI, 2011-2012) ! 

What have been some of your major challenges?
It has been a huge learning curve, being primarily a mommy and a school teacher and now a manufacturer, accountant, sale rep, receivables, shipper, creative director, marketing director, and CEO (all at our kitchen table). Orders are coming in faster than my kitchen table can keep up with. 

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
My favorite verse/quote above, plus the emails I receive from families, parents of children with special needs, foster parents, and child psychologists, thanking me for creating a much needed and affordable product to help their kids get organized and be less anxious.  

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

I have a wonderful family, my kids are great.  My husband is the best partner I could ever ask for ...  I have a very supportive network of grandparents who are ever so helpful!  I feel so blessed! 

What is next for your business?
I am at a point where my kitchen table cannot keep up with my orders.  Ever since I launched my first product I have had many people tell me that I should go on Dragons' Den (Shark Tank is the US version of the show). I beyond thrilled that my family and I will be airing on Dragons' Den on September 28th at 8PM!So, we shall see if I get the help I need to take my business and product to the next level! 

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business? 
Make sure that you there is a market for your product.  You need to ask yourself if your product or service is actually going to provide a solution to an existing problem that perhaps no one else has found a solution to yet and then research to see who your competitors will be.  If you do all that then you will be sure that you are not going to waste a lot of time, money and sleep over something that is not needed.

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