Magazine article Working Mother

Sweet Dreams

Magazine article Working Mother

Sweet Dreams

Article excerpt

Erin Black, founder of Lyla Tov Monsters, Queens, NY. Initial investment: $20,000. Mom of Lyla, 8, Quinn, 6, Tessa, 3, and Emmett, 1.

It was actually my daughter Lyla's idea. Five years ago, when she was about 3½, I asked her what she wanted to give her father for a holiday gift. "A monster!" she said without missing a beat. She proceeded to draw a picture and added, "Now you have to help me make it real." My work at the time was as costume designer for TV shows like Sesame Street, so we had a garage full of fabric scraps, fleece and foam. Lyla picked the fabric, and we cut it out, made the monster and gave it to my husband. "It's so cute," he said. "We should make and sell these." But I was skeptical, thinking no one else would really want a monster made by a 3-year-old.

In 2012, I was selling some other things I made at a craftfair and told Lyla we could make some more monsters together and set up a little table to sell them. It was more about teaching her about money than anything else-I'd show her that half would go into the big savings account, some would go into her piggy bank and the rest would go to a charity so she could give back to the community. When they flew offthe table, I thought maybe my husband was right.

We put up an Etsy site at first. But a friend who was learning Web design needed some sites to put into her portfolio, so we created lylatov.com. Then more people found us. We had decided to call the monsters Lyla Tov, because my daughter's name is Lyla and "Lyla Tov" in Hebrew means "good night." These are good monsters-if you sleep with one, it keeps you safe. The Jewish Museum in New York City saw the Hebrew name and said they were always looking for children's items for their giftshop. They placed bigger orders with us, and by the end of 2012, we decided, okay, let's really do this.

With some crowdfunding on Kickstarter, we raised the initial investment to get limited editions of our first two monsters made-just over $20,000. …

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