Tamara Monosoff started her first two businesses when she was just 9 years old. "My first was selling chocolate brownies and lemonade on the street corner of a highly trafficked street where people walked from a day at the beach hot and thirsty," she remembers. "I made so much money in that one day in business that when a policeman stopped and said, 'Hi, Sweetie, How much money have you made today?' I shouted joyfully, '$300 in three hours!' and he said, 'OMG you can’t sell anymore! You need a license to do this.' My first brush with the law and the rules of business."
The second taught her a lesson she never forgot. "I started a dog washing business next. My plan was that I could do this in the bathtub for the neighborhood dogs and could average eight dogs a weekend -- four a day. After purchasing all that I would need, doggie biscuits, shampoo, and brush -- it only took trying to keep one dog from biting me by feeding him the entire box of biscuits to realize that this clearly wasn’t the business for me."
Now the CEO and founder of Mom Invented
, Monosoff lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and their 8- and 6-year-old daughters. She took some time recently to share her wisdom with Work It, Mom!
You're the CEO and Founder of Mom Invented. Please tell us a bit about your company.
My company has a two-part mission: to “Inspire, Inform & Boldly Promote Courageous Women in Business” and to “Celebrate the Creativity of Moms by Launching Innovative Mom Invented® Products around the World.”
How did you get to where you are now?
For a time I thought I wanted to be a psychologist so I was on a Ed.D. track in psychology. I got involved in Bill Clinton's 1996 election campaign and ultimately was appointed to a number of positions in the White House and then as Chief of Staff in the Department of Adult Education in the US Department of Education. During the process I became fascinated by the women in leadership. I had met and ended up finishing my doctorate in International Multi-Cultural Education with an emphasis on Women in Leadership.
In 2000, my husband, who was also serving in the White House, was offered a dot com position in Hong Kong. I opened a consultancy in Hong Kong helping American businesses expand into Asian markets. In 2001, as the dot.com world changed, we moved home and I had my first daughter, Sophia.
It was becoming a mother that inspired me to invent a product called the TP Saver (toilet paper saver) after she began clogging the toilet. From there, many mothers reached out to me asking for help. They, too, had ideas that wanted to bring to fruition. Because there were so many and I wanted to support them all, I created the www.mominvented.com website and wrote The Mom Inventors Handbook to share everything I knew from going through the process of bringing a product to market myself. In 2007 McGraw-Hill published my second book, Secrets of Millionaire Moms. This book was about general business but I also wanted to provide experiences, insights and inspiration from some of the most successful Mom Entrepreneurs in America.