My sister and I rode our bikes non-stop. From the time we sped away in pink, plastic tricycles to bikes with flowered baskets to teal Huffy mountain bikes, we created years worth of childhood memories. One thing we did not love about our bikes was when the safety-craze of helmet wearing hit. I hated that giant foam contraption. Perhaps if a sweet looking skate helmet had made its way onto my head I wouldn't have protested as much... but alas a bright fuschia helmet was the vein of my very existence whenever I put my bike wheels to the black asphalt of our 42nd street circle.
Karyn Climans, mom of two teenage boys and owner/creator of Tail Wags Helmet Covers, hopes to change the way kids feel about helmets by making it fun for kids and adults to wear them. With styles ranging from lycra mouses to a fleece skull and bones design, there is a style for all personality types--she even has bridal pieces! Prices range from $30 to $60.
Advice that Karyn gives to other mompreneurs, "find yourself a supportive group of other women entrepreneurs and share your contacts, resources, advice etc. I recently wrote [a] blog article called Together We Are Stronger and this is my mantra!"
In her own words, Karyn shares more about her life and company, in an article she wrote, Life Throws You Curevballs:
Twenty five years ago, fresh out of university with an Economics and Teaching Degree, I envisioned a future for myself that might involve creative challenge, success, personal satisfaction and ultimate happiness. And then life set in…
Now, at the age of 50, I find that I have achieved all of those goals but in a far different way than I had originally pictured. Surviving a family tragedy shortly before my wedding was the first of many curves I faced along the road to becoming an entrepreneur. The most serious challenge took the form of becoming a stay-at-home mom, raising two beautiful sons with special needs. Exhaustion, frustration, and constant worry became my daily companions.
Several years ago, while skiing with my sons, I was involved in a serious accident. Fortunately, I was wearing my ski helmet and it saved my life. The passion to promote safety awareness became the impetus behind starting my own company but I also needed to create a job that allowed me the flexibility to continue looking after my children. Over the years I had acquired a background in teaching, children’s programming and costume design and I took all of that knowledge and created Tail Wags Helmet Covers, a company making fun, whimsical helmet covers for every type of safety helmet. I make it fun for kids and adults alike to wear their helmets for every sport they enjoy and by doing so I have found a way to help prevent unnecessary head injuries.
The learning curve has been huge! Every day I face new challenges related to the marketing, sales and administration of my growing business. In fact, as a mom entrepreneur, I’m working more hours than ever before but the satisfaction of owning my own business is extremely rewarding. The key to enjoying what I do is maintaining a sense of humour. The marketplace and trade show days are extremely long. In order to survive, I encourage the customers walking by my booth to play dress-up in my booth … it’s the looks that I get from the grown men that are the most priceless but you’d be surprised how many of them take me up on my offer!
I willingly gave up my good housekeeping award several years ago when I realized that it’s impossible for me to keep a spotless house while running my home-based business. I’ve simply learned to live with the chaos because there’s no point in driving myself crazy over the bits of thread all over the house. My teenage boys are less forgiving. They’re pretty annoyed by the bins of stock in my basement that often block the TV screen. And my husband has threatened to stack the extra boxes on my side of the bed if I don’t move the product out of our living room/dining room!
I derive tremendous enjoyment from designing the 35 or so different styles of helmet covers. Another of the most satisfying aspects of my work is the customer photos and testimonials that I receive on a regular basis. Four years after starting up my business, I am proud to say that Tail Wags are now sold throughout North America as well as overseas. I maintain a blog, a Facebook page, and a wonderful web site, and I am in constant touch with my customers all over the world. I am looking forward to continuing to grow the company and expand it into new areas of design and untouched markets. I have become a successful business woman in the second half of my life and I love it!
Author: Karyn Climans, Creator/Owner of Tail Wags Helmet Covers Inc.
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