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We are so fortunate to have received these applications from truly amazing local mompreneurs!! Please review the following and choose your favorite from among the top 8 by the end of Saturday, March 24th. The submissions are in alphabetical order. The poll is at the bottom of this page. Please let us know if you have any issues with the voting –

For more info on our amazing prize package, go to:

ALOMO – Jessi Empestan
FB: Jessi Gottlieb Empestan
IG: @Reclaimingmytimenow

In business for a few months – preparing to launch this spring

Every child deserves to find themselves in a book. For African American and other Black children, it’s not always so easy. ALOMO (which stands for A Library of My Own), helps solve this by curating delightful picture books featuring Black children as protagonists, with a spotlight on works by Black storytellers and illustrators. We sell laugh-out-loud silly or sleepy-sweet stories via a subscription box, in which books come to life with related toys and activities. We also make available for purchase certain “bundles” for baby gifts and starter libraries.

I’m a lifelong reader and I have a passion for books. As a white woman raising two children of color, I recognized that it took a lot more time, effort, and research to find books with characters that resemble them and still engendered a love of reading. I’ve dedicated hundreds of hours to learning the American book market, researching products and pricing and supply chain, and I’ve learned that one reason these books are so hard to find is because Black storytellers have not traditionally had access to the market (less than 4% of all roles in the publishing industry are held by Black professionals). I am committed to using ALOMO to provide that access, so that children who look like my son can develop a lifelong love of reading. I share this passion with my business partner, Kwaku Essel (I am the majority owner), and together we are prepared to make ALOMO a rousing success.

Bone Pool Radio – Michelle Lomuscio
FB: Bone Pool Radio – Maplewood, NJ (@BonePoolRadio)
IG: @bonepoolradio

In business since June, 2018

Bone pool radio is a free, independent Internet radio station that highlights and plays Maplewood, South Orange and Northern New Jersey bands alongside indie and alternative rock music spanning four decades. We are on air twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and include original programming that is conceived, curated and produced by our incredibly talented BPR team of SOMA residents.

At Bone Pool Radio, we are dedicated to the ethics and ethos of our generation and are committed to promoting and playing local, unsigned bands who are part of the burgeoning music scene here in New Jersey. It is the goal of Bone Pool Radio to showcase and champion local musicians, charities and small businesses through on-air promotions, website features and event sponsorship.

Visit our website at or download our free mobile app (iPhone or Android) and check out our calendar for upcoming local shows and news about our favorite SOMA bands!

You’re always cool in the pool…

Fidozoom – Cynthia Saxl
FB: Fidozoom
IG: @fidozoom

About to launch in mid April! First PO of 1200 dog toys to arrive soon

One rainy Saturday, the idea for FidoZoom dog toy was born when our puppy Olive needed to play! We grabbed an old exercise band, attached three tennis balls, and suddenly our pup was happily engaged, zooming around, trying to capture her wiggly new toy. She and her puppy play-dates loved it so much, we decided to become inventors and make it ourselves!

Through trial and error, we got FidoZoom just right – it’s THROWABLE, DURABLE, VISIBLE, FLOATABLE, and BOUNCEABLE for many happy days of FETCH, TUG, TOSS, and CHASE with you and their dog friends! It’s easy to clean, and intended for your supervised, interactive play (not for use as a chew toy).

FidoZoom is made from NON-toxic TPR, certified tested to levels safe for children’s toys. Because we know you love your fur-babies.

We are a family of dog lovers, just like you. Our mission is for fidozoom dogs to be happily engaged, in many ways: zooming around, enjoying fetch, tug, and chase games interactively with their humans AND their other dog pals! And to do all this with a toy that is safe for everyone in the family. A happy, active dog is a healthy dog!

Fire in the Belly Artmaking – Barbara Bickart
FB: Barbara M. Bickart
IG: @barbarabickart

6 months, working independent of any institutional affiliation

My work takes the form of video installation, video performance installation, experimental documentary and mixed media on paper. The classes I teach cross disciplinary lines, prioritizing organic process and individual exploration and expression. As an interdisciplinary visual artist, my work is informed by media studies, performance, documentary practice, and painting.

For Individuals (of all ages) interested in learning or deepening an artistic practice, I give both short and long-term process-based artmaking workshops and classes in mixed media visual art, and video/filmmaking. The focus always engages participants to make the work they dare to imagine.

For Communities, I provide a socially-engaged process in which I facilitate art-making in order to collectively explore issues of social justice, where the goal is to make and share collaboratively-generated art.

For Collectors, I sell my video art pieces and multi-media works on paper. My work will be exhibited at Valley Arts Community Gallery in September 2019.

Personal Statement/Mission Statement:

When we create art in community with each other, we share ourselves and bear witness to one another’s expression: we resonate, we stretch, we change. I make art to open up conversations. I teach art to help others initiate their own conversations, in the hopes that together we will shape a more just and inclusive world. My process of making and teaching art is designed to help us sink deeper into our own humanity, encouraging each other to engage in self-expression, reach into personal histories, listen to creative impulses, and find our own voices.

Lotus Laundry LLC – Nakeicha Adams-Wilson
FB: lotuslaundrynewark
IG: @lotuslaundrynwk

In business for 7 months

With parents generally working more and having more obligations, finding time for the family has become more challenging than ever. Modern families are looking for simpler ways to manage daily tasks like doing the laundry.

At Lotus Laundry we want to help hard working professionals and families save time washing and folding their laundry. So they can spend their precious time on the things that really matters — growing their business or being with their loved ones.

Therefore we implemented our Wash and Fold Subscription Service that allows you to pay a set monthly rate based on the number of bags you need laundered monthly. And here’s how it works:

1. We will come to you and pick up your laundry directly every week — or bi-weekly depending on your needs.

2. Within 24-48 hours we will bring back your laundry professionally washed and neatly folded, so your staff or family will be ready for a new week. — We even offer same day service if that’s what you need.

The laundromat is named Lotus from the beautiful flower that grows out of mud. We understand that something as simple as a smile, a book or clean clothes can make a huge difference.

Since founded Lotus Laundry in August 2018, it has been important for us to give back to the community of Newark. We, for example, strive to provide safe spaces for young children to explore. So our laundromat offers a literacy room where children can read and play educational games while their parents do their laundry. We have also washed clothes for homeless people and vulnerable families throughout the Newark area.

Kiddie Kaboose (working title) – Rebecca Lock
IG: @rebecca.lock.9461

In business for 8 weeks

Our “Driving Nannies” provide safe, reliable children’s transportation and interim care services to help parents keep up with their children’s changing and busy schedules.

As a Maplewood mom of two, I recognize the incredible parental burden of keeping up with children’s changing and busy schedules, while also maintaining a career, family, household and personal life. I am also aware of the frustration many parents feel about not being able to get a child home from school, having to get two children to different places at the same time, or not being able to send a child to a weekday, after-school activity because of a lack of transportation and assistance. Hiring a full-time nanny is not sensible for many families. I’m hoping that this company will provide families with the flexibility and benefit of having a safe, reliable source of transportation and childcare as needed, so that neither a child’s schedule, nor a parents job or personal life needs to be compromised. This service aims to give parents time, a peace of mind and sense of security, while giving children a secure, comfortable and engaging mode through which to also live their lives. 

Because I understand how essential it is to entrust children to only the most competent and trustworthy caregivers, our Driving Nannies will be personally interviewed, reviewed, undergo a background and reference check, and will meet with and be approved by an individual family before caring for any child. I plan to stay in close contact with families about their changing schedules and needs and to provide incredible care as and when needed. 

I look forward to working with and getting to know local families through this service, and helping to meet an incredible need that exists in this area. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Poppikit – Anna Helm Baxter
FB: anna helm-baxter
IG: @annahelmbaxter

Haven’t officially launched but got LLC in October 2018

We believe the cake is the most important thing at the party. Kids remember their cakes for decades (hey, do you remember some of your favorite birthday cakes?). Your kids don’t remember all the times you drove them to soccer practice, but a thoughtful, personalized cake is a loving memory they will cherish.

But it’s so hard… settling for a shop-bought cake leaves many moms feeling guilty, yet parents have so little time, you need lots of specialist equipment and making a cake can be stressful!

We’ve created a cake kit that makes it easy. You can customize it online, so it’s really your design. The kits come with cake mix, frosting mix, sprinkles, food coloring, cake boards and all the tools you need. We walk you step-by-step through simple techniques that are as easy as rolling play-doh, but reliably make a cake that looks and tastes great!

Over time, we will offer add-on’s like candles, stationery, party crafts and paper goods that pair with your cake design.

We started out with an online product, but had a chance to pitch King’s recently. They were so excited, they’ve asked us to develop a version for retail stores and have requested 500 kits for 30 stores! We’re due to be featured in their Meet Your Maker event in May.

We’ve put a lot of thought into both the simplicity of the process so that everyone feels good about the experience and the ingredients in our kits (our cake mix is 100% whole grain and the food colors in the dyes and sprinkles are all natural). Moreover, we hope to make our packaging as eco-friendly as possible as we care about the future our kids will have as much as we care about the ingredients going into their bodies.

I’m Anna, resident of Maplewood for 2.5 years w. 3 kids Charlie (7), Poppy (4) and Archie (1). My co-founder Jade lives in Brooklyn with her daughter Peri (5). The business is named after our daughters because we’re determined to give them a positive example what moms can achieve (and we think ‘Poppikit’ sounds awesome!).

Our business is geared towards helping the busy moms find the reason to make their kids cake or for kids who are excited to learn how to decorate. We are the helping hand to make sure everything goes smoothly.

We bring a lot of food and marketing experience to our start-up. We’re both trained chefs with a combined 20 years experience in food media, including some of the top names such as Good Housekeeping, the New York Times and Jamie Oliver. Jade has a background in online marketing. Anna is an ex-magazine editor, has presented segments on the Today show and written six cook books.

This is our first business. We are in the thick of working out website design, product sourcing, packaging, logistics, accounting, tax… We would hugely benefit from the resources that the Mompreneur competition offers, and are very excited about the opportunity of working to become the WONDER 1.

We’re still in product beta testing, so don’t yet have our website launched, but please check out my instagram feed (@annahelmbaxter) to see the cakes and meet the kids.

The Wizard School – Caitlyn Pezza
FB: Caitlyn Pezza
IG: @Caitepez

In business for 8 months

Currently, the Wizard School offers creative writing workshops, individual writing tutoring and college essay support to students in second grade and up. The goal is to guide students in connecting with themselves, their imagination and thoughts, so they can gain confidence and achieve uninhibited expression (and of course have fun with writing!). In at least two years time, my goal is to take The Wizard School to its next phase – a full-time after-school/extracurricular program for elementary and middle school students with mentorship/internship positions available for high schoolers.

The Wizard School will bring together our community’s artists, professionals, educators, dreamers, those passionate about changing the world, and revolutionizing education to create a truly magical program and environment that leads the way in social-emotional and hands-on learning. I envision the school in a funky victorian house decorated with warmth and the expression of our students and teachers. My hope is that it will provide a convenient service to parents that addresses their children’s needs, helping them to grow, discover new passions, purpose and meaning, create positive change, and reach their best self in school, at home, and beyond.

At The Wizard School, our mission is to create magic by inspiring individuals to find and practice their gifts.


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