Moms are a fierce bunch. And nothing stands in the way of a mom with great idea. For the Smart Issue, we tracked down a couple of local moms-turned-entrepreneurs who talked about their inspirations and emerging products. It’s moms helping moms and encouraging independence in kids—and there is nothing smarter than that.
Mom: Emily Stinchcomb
Concept // PeeKoo
Emily Stinchcomb was jet-lagged during a European vacation and sleeping was on her mind. Her thoughts turned to the bedding she found in her comfy French hotel room, which included simply a bottom sheet and a comforter.
“How could you feel like you are sleeping without a top sheet but you still get the protection of having a top sheet?” she thought. That’s when she came up with the idea for PeeKoo, a kids bedding “system” that’s a duvet cover with a detachable top sheet. Stinchcomb, mother of two and former marketing specialist for Colorado ski resorts, has manufactured 200 PeeKoos, patent pending, with different designs and colors. It’s been a challenge to explain the concept to people “but once someone gets their hands on one, they just get it,” she says. Envision a comforter with a top sheet attached by a solid plastic zipper; unzip it and the top sheet comes right off, allowing you to easily throw it in the washing machine. “It’s about making kids comfortable and making life for moms a little easier,” she said. “I love it becaue it looks neat, the kid makes the bed themselves, and it’s easy to wash.”
Her intentions have not been totally unselfish. It’s exactly what she needed. “I really wanted to invent something, to do something different,” she said. “Taking care of the kids, you get really used to doing the same things. I wanted to be at home with the kids and still be able to get back into business.” peekoobedding.com
Mom: Karen Laszlo
Concept // ZisBoomBah.com
“What’s happening is not working,” Karen Laszlo passionately pontificates, sitting in her sunny Boulder office. “With the soaring obesity rates, you can see that kids have an unhealthy relationship with food.” That’s where Laszlo’s ZisBoomBah comes in: teaching kids to have a healthy relationship with food and putting them in charge of what they eat. The website, zisboombah.com, allows kiddos to create a meal, rates what they pick and lets them know the fat, carbs, sugar and protein of what’s on their plate.
Then the meal is emailed to their parents, and yes, parents are expected to print out the meal and use it as a guide for grocery shopping. “Kids get this right away. They love it. For parents, they are so used to being in charge. It really requires them to let go of that,” Laszlo said. “What we often do is not give a child the power to make decisions about food. It’s a dilemma.” So, with ZisBoomBah, the kids make the choices, they aren’t criminalized for picking a cookie, and they are encouraged to have a balanced meal. “There is so much misinformation and misconceptions about food,” Laszlo said. “Americans are just so stressed about food.” Armed with a fleet of nutritionists and health experts, Laszlo’s ZisBoomBah continues to add bells and whistles to make the site more fun for kids and more helpful for parents, including an avatar feature.
Other local products started
Smart Dreamzzz, a Steamboat company, produces CDs to help kids fall asleep easily and sleep through the night.
Urban Baby Gourmet, developed by three moms in Northwest Denver, is a locally-harvested organic, homemade baby food company that makes a variety of baby-tested veggies, fruits, proteins and grains for babies and toddlers.
Clouds & Stars, which creates baby- and kid-friendly bedding sheets that let parents zip off the base for easy changing, is a fast-growing company started by two first-time Denver moms.