Nancy Traversy in Inc. Magazine for Mother's Day!
Please have a look at this wonderful mention of Nancy and Barefoot Books posted on Sunday!
5 Moms Who Built Great Companies
“I had my first child in 1992 and decided I no longer wanted to work for other people,” Nancy Traversy, a mother of four, told Inc. in 2006. A year later, she co-founded Barefoot Books, a children's book imprint based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The business now has more than $5 million in annual sales. “My kids grew up with Barefoot. They've always read manuscripts and looked at samples from different illustrators. They help out with data entry, stuffing catalogs, work in the store. They came up with the idea for Animal Boogie, which is our best-selling book. I know it's hard when mummy has her own business. But now they feel anchored by it. They understand hard work.”
As a teenager, Donna Grucci Butler spent summers helping her mother in the family fireworks plant in Brookhaven, New York. Today, she serves as president of Fireworks by Grucci, a pair of fifth-generation companies (one manufactures the fireworks, the other sets them off) with a combined $10 million a year in revenue; she runs the business along with her brother and her nephew. Her two children, both in their 30s, work part time for her during peak busy season in the summer. “My younger daughter is an attorney and I like where she and my son are,” says Grucci Butler. “They have had the chance and the opportunity to work outside of the business, which can be rewarding because they can learn new skills, but they also always have the business to come back into.”
A mother of five children—including a teenage son with autism—Stella Ogiale founded Chesterfield Health Services in 1996 to provide care to people with mental or physical disabilities so that they may stay in their homes. From the start, the Seattle-area business was bootstrapped: Ogiale even worked a night shift at the package carrier UPS in order to make ends meet. The company eventually reached $10 million a year in revenue; margins have remained tight, but Ogiale likes it that way. She never wants her staff to feel as though the patients are paying a hefty mark-up on these vital health services. "We can be humane and still make money," Ogiale told Inc. in 2004.
Bernadette Castro grew up in her family’s New York City sofa-bed business, appearing in advertising for the company when she was a young girl. She took over from her father and managed the business to new levels of prosperity. In 1993, when the family sold the company, its sales exceeded $100 million. As a mother of four, however, Castro admitted to Inc. in 2000 that she could be overbearing—pushing a son to enroll in law school even though he wanted to be a filmmaker. But Castro learned her lesson. “My biggest mistake was that I tried to take the same management style and skills that worked in my executive life and bring them into my home, in parenting my four children,” she told the magazine. “I don't give my kids advice anymore unless they ask for it. It's critical to discourage entrepreneurs from the feeling that we can tailor our children's lives.”
When her husband Neal tied in 1970, Gert Boyle took over his company, Columbia Sportswear. Thanks in part to a famous “tough mother” advertising campaign featuring Boyle herself, the Portland, Oregon, company has grown rapidly, posting $1.3 billion in sales in 2008. Though her son Tim now serves as CEO, Boyle remains involved in the business. “I get up in the morning and go to water aerobics, then I come to work, then go around and verbally abuse as many people as I can,” she told Inc. in 2006. “You know what I'd have to do otherwise? Stay home and do housework. That's not my bag.”
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Congratulations Nancy Traversy!