Maple Ridge mom Elaine Tan Comeau is now the top mom in Canada, after receiving the 2014 Canadian Mompreneur of the Year award.
She received the award March 22 in Toronto after her home-based business came out on the top of the list of almost 100 nominees and more than 75,000 votes.
And she’s still using her kitchen table to process orders of her Easy Daysies, magnetic instruction boards and cards that organize the day for toddlers and simplify a high-stress world.
The concept was to use cute pictures and simple instructions (brush teeth, make bed) for young minds to grasp – to make it easier for everyone to get through the day.
She doesn’t mind that she’s still producing some of the product out her cramped quarters at home.
“That’s OK. That allows me to be with the kids and that’s my first priority.”
Comeau began making Easy Daysies while teaching school in 2011 because she just wanted to make it easier for her students to stay on track and keep on schedule.
Now, after earning several product and parenting awards, Easy Daysies are in more than 1,300 stores across North America and are recommended by child psychologists and occupational therapists.
While she still assembles product for some markets, she’s made a licencing agreement to get her product into the U.S. market and recently signed a deal to get her products into Barnes and Noble.
After the project was shown on the Dragon’s Den in 2011, sales took off, while two of the Dragons, Kevin O’Leary and Jim Treliving, put in $70,000 of their own money to launch the company.
Comeau was the only Mompreneur contestant from B.C. and was judged against 11 competitors from across Canada.
The Mompreneur award is intended to recognize women who’ve succeeded in business and run both their families and businesses with equal amounts of dedication.
Comeau, a mother of three, accepted the award with husband Ron beside her.
“This award is for every Mompreneur because I know how hard they each work, putting their children and family first while trying to make their company successful on the sidelines into the wee hours of the night off their kitchen table. It is truly an honour to be recognized to be one of these amazing women,” she said in a release.
Comeau has two pieces of advice for people thinking of starting out on their own.
First, if you have a business idea, do your homework and to see if your product or idea has already been done. If it’s already out there, see if there’s a way of making it better.
And more importantly, “Ask yourself if your product or service ideas fulfill a need or solve a problem. If you can answer ‘yes’ to this question, you most likely have a great and marketable idea.”