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Categorized | Shoestring Startup

Nervous Aunt Takes a Moment in Time and Becomes a Successful Entrepreneur

Nervous Aunt Takes a Moment in Time and Becomes a Successful EntrepreneurLife-changing experiences happen around us on a daily basis. Even small moments in time that seem insignificant can turn out to be pivotal moments that bring tremendous joy and success. This is the case with me, Jennifer Kelman, creator of the children’s characters Mrs. Pinkelmeyer and her lovable dog, Moopus McGlinden. Together they inspire self-esteem in children through their love, warmth and silliness. Originally, this was not a business idea of mine, but rather a brief moment in time while spending time with my nephew.

Fifteen years ago, my Sister and Brother-in-Law went away on vacation and I was helping to take care of their only child at the time, Henry. We spent time going to gym class, playing, and walking in Central Park. Each night I would help give him dinner, bathe him and put him to bed with a story. During dinner time each night, my Sister and Brother in Law would call home to check in and see how Henry was doing. Henry would hear their voice on the phone and begin to cry. It was heartbreaking to all. At least they could hang up and hopefully enjoy a nice dinner on the beach, while I sat in their kitchen on a cold winter’s night with their inconsolable child.

What’s an Aunt to do? Improvise, I thought…I danced around the kitchen singing and acting as silly as possible…only for him to wail louder. Sweaty and nervous at that point, I thought I had no chance of ever stopping the persistently louder screams for his Mommy and Daddy. It was at that moment when MRS. PINKELMEYER was born. I picked up the telephone and pretended to call a lady that I named Mrs. Pinkelmeyer…the funnier the name sounded the more chance I thought I had that Henry would also think it was funny. I not only pretended to call her, but I had to be her as well, and of course she had a British accent. When ‘her phone rang,’ she answered it by saying… “My name is Mrs. Pinkelmeyer, and you have called me while I am making a delicious Rrrrump Rrrroast (said with a rolling tongue) for dinner.” The most amazing thing happened….tears and screams subsided and they were replaced with laughter….it worked, it worked, I thought…keep talking to Mrs. Pinkelmeyer until Henry forgets how much he misses his parents.

Nervous Aunt Takes a Moment in Time and Becomes a Successful EntrepreneurEach night when my Sister and Brother in Law called to check in, Henry would look to me to call and play Mrs. Pinkelmeyer. We did this every night until they returned from a lovely and restful vacation. Henry is a young man in his teens now, but still remembers the joy of Mrs. Pinkelmeyer and it is a sweet memory that we will always share together.

Henry recalls, “Although it was long ago, I remember Mrs. Pinkelmeyer positively distracted me when I was feeling down. It all began one night when I missed my parents. Her image has never changed since. Her appearance, accent, goofy sayings, clumsy, yet funny actions, and positive attitude make her unique and different from others. An outlet, positive inspiration, and form of entertainment, Mrs. Pinkelmeyer often turned my hysterical crying into hysterical laughing and always left me feeling happy. First hand, I’ve seen that she continues to have that positive impact on kids today.”

That memorable experience with Henry has inspired me to bring the character of Mrs. Pinkelmeyer to life. I have created a complete product line around Mrs. Pinkelmeyer and Moopus McGlinden for kids featuring the Mrs. Pinkelmeyer doll along with her lovable dog, Moopus McGlinden™, the Pinkelmeyer book series, Mrs. Pinkelmeyer and Moopus McGlinden Burn the Rrrrump Rrrroast, and Mrs. Pinkelmeyer and Moopus McGlinden Prance into New York City. The third book in the series isn’t far behind. Books are also being released in Spanish soon. We also have a wonderful children’s music CD, a Moopus McGlinden stuffed animal, and a Mrs. Pinkelmeyer and Moopus McGlinden bobble-head.

Mrs. Pinkelmeyer was born out of true necessity that cold winter night many years ago and has been warming the hearts of families since that wonderful evening.

As stressful as that moment in time was with Henry as he wrestled with separation anxiety from his parents, and I wrestled with how to comfort him, that moment in time now feels like it was the easy part. Mrs. Pinkelmeyer lay dormant in my head for many years until one sleepless night as I just found out twins were on the way, Mrs. Pinkelmeyer came to rescue me once again. Any parent expecting children wonders at some point about the expense of raising children especially twins. It was yet another nervous moment for me, similar to the one long ago with Henr,y that Mrs. Pinkelmeyer offered a hand. As the Silliest, Warmest, Know-It-All, I let all of her persona wash over me. It was at that moment at 3am that I decided to bring Mrs. Pinkelmeyer out of my imagination and onto paper as the first step. I didn’t have much time before the twins were born, so I began to work at a furious pace thinking, creating and working with a sketch artist to bring her out of my head.

Another difficult part has been the financing of it all. I knew it was going to be self-funded, at least initially, because I didn’t think I could sell and “idea” to someone. During the next several months I began working with a plush toy company to create her prototype, which I believe has come out to capture her in full. She looks silly, just as she was that night long ago. She is warm and loving and has Moopus under arm as they are never far apart. I enlisted a family member who has the musical genius to create the music to go along with the characters. I began writing the first book in the series and created it in a way that re-told the story of the “mistaken” phone call that Mrs. Pinkelmeyer received so long ago. I create each book to have a subtle moral to it. Mrs. P places her famous Rrrrump Rrrroast in the oven as her phone rings, but spends so much time with Henry that she forgets about it and burns it. She is not ruffled a bit as she knows that helping Henry was more important.

Nervous Aunt Takes a Moment in Time and Becomes a Successful Entrepreneur

Jennifer Kelman and Kids

I launched the business in June of 2009 several weeks after the birth of my beautiful twins who are now 2 ½. The self-financing continues at this point on a very shoestring budget. My budget is split between raising my children and funding the business. Now that I have a complete product line around these touching characters I envision several things for the brand. Mrs. P and Moopus are licensable and can really represent most companies to sell other products. The antics between Mrs. Pinkelmeyer and Moopus and the life lessons would do quite well in an animated cartoon. I am open to all possibilities and always listen to what is presented.

As with any new business there are lessons along the way. I have encountered several people who have not behaved in the most honest way, and all of those experiences make me stronger and more resolved to blast Mrs. Pinkelmeyer into the stratosphere. Social media has been a great way to spread “Pinkelmeyer Fever” as I like to call it. We exhibit at Toy Fair each year in NYC in February so more and more people are beginning to catch it.

Another interesting avenue that opened up during this time has been one of coaching other individuals to find their passions and fulfill their dream of starting a business. As a clinically trained social worker and Certified Professional Coach, I love working with those individuals to break down the obstacles and live out their dreams. I am often asked how I did it…how I started a business from just that silly moment in time, and I say, I had help, and her name is Mrs. Pinkelmeyer. My recommendation to all is to go find your Mrs. Pinkelmeyer and with a lot of grit and determination you can create anything you want.

www.MrsPinkelmeyer.com

www.Facebook.com/MrsPinkelmeyer

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