Many parents have trouble finding the time to shower, let alone start a business.  But somehow these entrepreneurs figured it out (maybe they don’t shower?).  For these mamas (and also a couple of kid-loving sitters) the kids in their lives were the inspiration for their local business that are a boon to other parents. Flip through and learn about these rock stars who turned their mini-mes into business muses.

Shop Merci Milo

At Shop Merci Miloin Highland Park, Caroline Rodrigues has set out to recreate the heirloom toy stores she discovered peppered along the streets of Paris, but couldn't find in the City of Angels once she had her own baby to show for. As a Jewelry Design Director, she spent several years traveling to the city of lights and soon fell in love with these charming toy shops. Growing up, her grandfather (who immigrated from South Korea) owned a tiny toy shop in South LA, and she fondly remembers him bringing her something small every day. Inspired by her now three-year-old daughter, Milo, Caroline adopted her grandfather's work ethic and set out to live her dream of becoming a brick and mortar retailer. She is a curator with an eye for art and design which is evident in every brand she carries. More than anything, her connection to and love of community enables artisans/toymakers (local and abroad) to sustain their businesses. Caroline's impeccable taste and commitment to quality shine through every item in the store, including; clothes, books, baby gear, and accessories.

What are some challenges of starting your own business with a young family?
I worked full time—and worked freelance jobs as well—as full time mother to a toddler, and I ran the shop! It has been a roller coaster ride for our family but we stay positive daily. It helps so much to have my partner and husband play a big role in running the shop.

What has been the biggest reward?
My biggest reward is seeing my idea go from online to becoming a brick and mortar store. We never thought we would ever be able to afford a space, we never knew that our online shop would grow to become what it is today. Doing what we love every day has to be the biggest reward.

131 S Avenue 60
Highland Park
213-605-5014
Online: shopmercimilo.com

photo: Eunice Villalobos

If your child were the inspiration for a new business, what would that business be?  We’d love to hear about what you think is missing from the LA parenting scene in the comments section!

—Janelle Connor