[quote style=”boxed”]Revamp. I revamp everything. I allow the idea to have its own life. There is a beauty in the evolution of the idea. It can teach you so much that you did not already know. As it evolves it often requires tweaks and small changes that allow it to develop more broadly.[/quote]
Melissa Pia Bossola Beese is a Mompreneur. Early in her career, Melissa worked as a traditional and internet marketing manager for publications including Daily Variety, VLife, Shape, Fit Pregnancy, Muscle and Fitness, Flex Star and Country Living. In 2006 she became the senior advertising executive overseeing national print campaigns for companies such as DIRECTV and 1-800-Contact. In late 2007 Melissa was forced to leave her career behind with the birth of her first child Boo. With Melissa’s son born prematurely at 24 weeks and weighing only 24 ounces, and also being told that he would never be the same as any “normal” child would, Melissa realized a real need for high quality, all natural, non-battery operated toys.
With much research, Melissa found that the everyday American toy market could not provide her with what she was looking for: attractive toys that would enhance every sensorial perspective, toys that would provide challenges, and toys that would engage while providing a sense of accomplishment. These toys did not have the bells, the lights, the music and the “do-it-for-you” buttons. These toys were made of natural materials that were sustainably made with “do-it-yourself” features. And finally, toys that would enhance gross and fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and help develop focus and concentration.
Melissa turned to the European market and after much research, found exactly what she was looking for: toys that were organic, ecologically friendly, made of natural materials and sustainably made. Unfortunately, these toys were not easily accessible in the US. However, she was fortunate to have family in Europe who were more than happy to send these toys to her.
Today, with much thanks to those beautiful, natural and eco-friendly toys, Boo is a thriving, happy, normal little boy who, at times, is ahead of the curve!
In early 2012 Melissa decided it was time to combine her former skills and her newfound admiration for high quality educational toys to develop a company that would bring these amazing toys to families here in the US—and thus Little Pnuts was born.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently finalizing our toy selections for our December Special Delivery shipment. This is by far one of my favorite things about my job. I’m not only choosing the toys, but also testing them while playing with them alongside my Little Pnuts, Boo and Finn.
Where did the idea for Little Pnuts come from?
I loved the idea of a subscription company. I had been a subscriber to one in particular, and as a new mom I felt it was lacking the one thing I felt to be the most important in my Little Pnuts’ development, toys. I had worked in the past as marketing manager in subscriptions for several magazines and realized I had the skill sets to make it happen.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up every morning to two Little Pnuts and a husband who are all demanding of my time. But they are the joy in my life, so getting them ready for their day is a priority. After the hubby and eldest Pnut are out the door, I spend the morning with the Littlest Pnut. I work on Twitter, setting up the theme for my day and scheduling my relevant tweets. I check email and tie up any loose ends that are immediately resolvable. From there I set up meetings for myself for all the priorities on my to-do list. This helps me stick to a schedule and accomplish more. Being a “stay-at-home-mom” and a business owner, you need to plan accordingly in order to be successful at both responsibilities.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I mull them over constantly. I’m not a big sleeper, so the brunt of my development happens while lying in bed at night. When I sleep, it seems that I further develop whatever it was that I was hashing out, and when I wake up in the morning, I can literally layout the idea and continue to develop it.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Mompreneurship. I don’t think that you can really call it a trend, as I believe it is going to be here for a while. Moms are amazing multi-taskers with the ability to juggle many things, successfully, at one time. Being that we are able to divide our brains into compartments at any given moment, we can really see a variety of solutions to a challenge.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I was between jobs freelancing for a large entertainment daily for someone whom I looked towards as a mentor. I came to realize she was an extremely unkind person and ended up leaving 1.5 months into the job. To this day I’m very careful about the people I look up to. I make sure that they are not only successful in business, but in the relationships they cultivate to help keep them successful. Success is not yours alone, but belongs to those who help you on the path there and who share that success with you.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I am so thrilled at how this has started, blossomed and what it has become. It has been a journey that I am so happy to be a part of.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Revamp. I revamp everything. I allow the idea to have its own life. There is a beauty in the evolution of the idea. It can teach you so much that you did not already know. As it evolves it often requires tweaks and small changes that allow it to develop more broadly.
What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
How to stay confident about an idea and trust in it. As an entrepreneur, doubt can often times settle in and wreak havoc on your mind. I often have to learn to shut the door to doubt and learn that it is the devil’s advocate helping me look at something from a different perspective.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
It’s not really an idea but rather a fact. If you have an idea that you are passionate about and inspired by, go for it! Fear is what holds us back; passion drives you forth and allows the fear to stay behind.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
Illiteracy in the USA. I really think there needs to be an overhaul of the education system in our own backyard. It baffles me that young people are graduating from high school without the ability to read. I’d love to sit down and strategize with those who are in control of the education system and create better efficiencies, ways of testing to prevent this epidemic from getting worse. Reading is so important in life and provides confidence in career and success.
Tell us a secret.
I’m a closet introvert and can be extremely shy.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
Google: The answer to everything lies within.
Facebook: I have been able to stay in touch with the people I love whom I don’t have the opportunity to see every day. I have also been able to re-connect with people I care about and love to connect with.
Twitter: Having the ability to communicate a concise thought in so few characters can be challenging, but it helps formulate a thought far more clearly.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
10,000 Things to Be Happy About. I read it in my teens but continue to open it quite often. When times are tough it helps you to see that it’s the little things in life that bring you joy and often helps clear the funk.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
The Bloggess: Her daily humor makes my day brighter.
Shelly Kramer: She is the most amazing entrepreneur, motivator and mentor to all.
Danielle Elliott Smith: She is a woman driven by passion and has succeeded at being an amazing and successful Mompreneur.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
This morning. My youngest son is quite a spunky little character; he has me laughing almost every moment I am with him.
Who is your hero?
I have several heroes, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, but most prominently my father, who taught me that life is what you make it. You must work hard to achieve the things you dream about and never stop reaching for the unattainable.
How do you maintain focus throughout your day?
Scheduling, prioritizing and locking myself away from the world. For me, music takes me to my happy place; it helps me focus on the task at hand. Being a Photography and Graphic Design major, we were often times in open warehouses working along with music blaring. It inspires creativity and for me helps drive my motivation.
When you are challenged in your day, how do you go about overcoming it?
I often internalize. I used to jump and react to something if it presented itself as a challenge. Over time and through experience I’ve learned that you must take a look at the challenge, see its purpose, regard it as a learning point and then address it with focus and enlightenment. It helps you to come from a better place, a positive place, and often times, provides learning that allows you to aspire in the future.
Little Pnuts’ Website: www.LittlePnuts.com
Little Pnuts on Twitter: @LittlePnuts
Little Pnuts on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/LittlePnuts
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.